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Before Buonaparte quitted Erfurt he learned that his late allies, the Bavarians, with a body of Austrians under General Wrede, were marching to cut off his line of retreat to the Rhine, and that another body of Austrians and Prussians were marching from near Weimar, on the same point, with the same object. He left Erfurt on the 25th of October, amid the most tempestuous weather, and his rear incessantly harassed by the Cossacks. He met Wrede posted at Hanau, but with only forty-five thousand men, so that he was able to force his way, but with a loss of six thousand, inflicting a still greater loss on the Austro-Bavarians, of nearly ten thousand. On the 30th of October Napoleon reached Frankfort, and was at Mainz the next day, where he saw his army cross, and on the 7th of November he left for Paris, where he arrived on the 9th. His reception there was by no means encouraging. In addition to the enormous destruction of life in the Russian campaign, the French public nowinstead of the reality of those victories which his lying bulletins had announcedsaw him once more arrive alone.

Pitt's expeditions were not particularly well arranged. Instead of sending an army of thirty or forty thousand to the Baltic, and calling on Russia to do the same, which she could have done, notwithstanding the army under the Emperor Alexander, he sent only about six thousand, and sent another eight thousand from Malta, to co-operate with twelve thousand Russians in a descent on the kingdom of Naples. This expedition might have been left till the success in the North was secured; in truth, it had better have been left altogether. When General Don and Lord Cathcart landed in Swedish Pomerania, and were joined by the king's German legion and some other German hired troops, our army amounted only to sixteen thousand men, the Swedes to twelve thousand, and the Russians to ten thousandaltogether, not forty thousand men. But what was worse than the paucity of numbers was the disunion amongst the commanders. Lord Harrowby was sent to Berlin, to endeavour to induce Prussia to join this coalition, but Prussia was well aware of the want of unity in the Allied Army, and, weighing probabilities, she could not be moved. The King of Sweden was so incensed at the cold, shuffling conduct of the King of Prussia, that he wrote him some very indignant and undiplomatic letters, which only furnished him with a further excuse for holding aloof. Gustavus, seeing no good likely to be done, resigned his command of the Allied Army, where, indeed, he had enjoyed no real command at all, and retired with his forces to Stralsund. This was a fatal exposition of want of unity, and it was not till three weeks were gone that the breach was healed. By this time it was the middle of November. Ulm had surrendered, Napoleon was master of Vienna, and Prussia was still watching what would be the fate of the coming battle between Napoleon and the Emperors of Austria and Russia. The union of the Allies came too late; the force was altogether too small to turn the scale of the campaign. Had Gustavus marched into Hanover a month earlier, with sixty thousand men, he might have rendered Austerlitz a nonentity; as it was, he had only time to invest Hameln, where Bernadotte had left a strong garrison, when the news of Austerlitz arrived, and caused the Allies to break up the campaign, and each to hurry off to his own country.

The purport of these Cabinet Councils was generally understood by the country; but as yet only the most sanguine anticipated the proposal of Sir Robert Peel, when the Times newspaper on the 4th of December announced, apparently from secret information, that it was the intention of the Government to repeal the Corn Laws, and to call Parliament together in January for that purpose. The assertion was received with incredulity, not only by the Opposition, but by the Ministerial journals. One organ of the Tory party placarded its office with a bill, headed "Atrocious fabrication of the Times!" But the latter journal, on the following day, declared that it "adhered to its original announcement." Day by day the controversy raged in the newspapers; but the news was too probable not to gain credence. The result was a conviction throughout the country that the Times had really obtained information of the Government's intentions; but as a matter of fact its information was incorrect, as the Cabinet, far from intending to repeal the Corn Laws, had made up its mind to retire.

In much the same way the silk industry had been protected by prohibitory legislation, of which the only effect was to convert smuggling into an important trade. Again, the manufacturers petitioned for the removal of the duties upon spun silk, but were eager to exclude foreign manufactured silks. On the other hand, the silk spinners were opposed to the introduction of spun silk, but desired the removal of duties upon raw silk, while the journeymen believed that ruin stared them in the face if foreign manufactured silks were introduced. Robinson, with Huskisson's assistance, decided to admit foreign silk on an ad valorem duty of 30 per cent. At the same time he largely reduced the duties on the raw material. The duty on Indian silk was reduced from 4s. to 3d., that on Chinese and Italian silks from 5s. 6d. to 6d., that on organzine from 14s. 10d. to 7s. 6d. a pound. The manufacturers vowed and protested that they were ruined; in ten years' time they were exporting to France, their former rival, 60,000 worth of manufactured silk.

Whilst Prince Eugene had been labouring in vain to recall the English Government from its fatal determination to make a disgraceful peace, the Dutch envoy Van Buys had been equally active, and with as little success. The Ministers incited the House of Commons to pass some severe censures on the Dutch. They alleged that the States General had not furnished their stipulated number of troops both for the campaigns in the Netherlands and in Spain; that the queen had paid above three millions of crowns more than her contingent. They attacked the Barrier Treaty, concluded by Lord Townshend with them in 1709, and declared that it contained several Articles destructive to the trade and interests of Great Britain; that Lord Townshend was not authorised to make that treaty; and that both he and all those who advised it were enemies to the queen and kingdom. They addressed a memorial to the queen, averring that England, during the war, had been overcharged nineteen millions sterlingwhich was an awful charge of mismanagement or fraud on the part of the Whig Ministers. They further asserted that the Dutch had made great acquisitions; had extended their trade as well as their dominion, whilst England had only suffered loss. Anne gave her sanction to this address by telling the House that she regarded their address as an additional proof of their affection for her person and their attention to the interests of the nation; and she ordered her ambassador at the Hague, the new Earl of Strafford, to inform the States of these complaints of her Parliament, and to assure them that they must increase their forces in Flanders, or she must decrease hers.

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Buonaparte now prepared for his coronation. Whilst at Mayence, on the Rhinewhere the German princes flocked to pay abject homage to him as their protector, no nations, except Great Britain, Russia, and Sweden, keeping aloofhe despatched one of his aides-de-camp, General Caffarelli, an Italian, to invite the Pope to go to Paris to crown the new emperor and empress. Pius VII. had already been compelled to submit to the terms of the Concordat, which had made such inroads into the ancient power of the Church; and he knew very well that to refuse this request would bring down upon him fresh humiliations. Buonaparte, who affected to imitate Charlemagne as the founder of the French nation, passing over all the kings of France as unworthy of notice, determined to inaugurate the Second Empire by a still bolder stretch of authority than Charlemagne himself. That monarch had condescended to make the journey to Italy to receive the privilege of coronation from Pope Leo; but Buonaparte resolved that poor old Pope Pius VII. should come to him in France. His desire was carried out to the letter, and Pius arrived at Fontainebleau on the 25th of November. The 2nd of December having been fixed for the coronation, the Cathedral of Notre Dame was gorgeously decorated for the occasion, and the ceremony was performed amidst the utmost pomp and magnificence, Napoleon himself putting the crown on his head and then placing the Empress's diadem on the head of the kneeling Josephine. During the whole proceedings the Pope was made to play a secondary part. He simply "assisted" at the function. The ceremony was followed by a profuse creation of marshals and nobles.

In the report drawn up by Mr. Wyse, the chairman of the select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into the Foundation Schools in Ireland, in 1837, an interesting history is given of the origin, progress, and working of those obnoxious schools, and of other educational societies which followed. The Incorporated Society for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland was established by Royal Charter in 1733, the avowed object being the education of the poor in the principles of the Established Church. It is sufficient to remark that the annual grants which were made to the schools in connection with it (well known as the Charter Schools) were, in consequence of the report of the Commissioners of 1824, gradually reduced, and finally withdrawn. In 1824 there were of those schools 32; the number of children in them amounted to 2,255. The grant for 1825 was 21,615. The grant was gradually reduced to 5,750 in 1832, when it was finally withdrawn. During nineteen years this system cost the country 1,612,138, of which 1,027,715 consisted of Parliamentary grants. The total number of children apprenticed from the beginning till the end of 1824 was only 12,745; and of these but a small number received the portion of 5 each, allotted to those who served out their apprenticeship, and married Protestants. The Association for Discountenancing Vice was incorporated in 1800. It required that the masters and mistresses in its schools should be of the Established Church; that the Scriptures should[358] be read by all who had attained sufficient proficiency; and that no catechism be taught except that of the Established Church. The schools of the Association amounted in 1824 to 226, and the number of children to 12,769; of whom it was stated that 7,803 were Protestants, and 4,804 were Roman Catholics; but the Rev. William Lee, who had inspected 104 of these schools in 1819 and 1820, stated before the Commissioners of 1824 that he had found the catechism of the Church of Rome in many of them. The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor was founded on the 2nd of December, 1811, and was managed by a committee of various religious persuasions. The principles which they had prescribed to themselves for their conduct were, to promote the establishment and assist in the support of schools in which the appointment of governors and teachers, and the admission of scholars, should be uninfluenced by religious distinctions, and in which the Bible or Testament, without note or comment, should be read by all the scholars who had attained a suitable proficiency in reading, excluding catechisms and books of religious controversy; at the same time it was to be distinctly understood that the Bible or Testament should not be used as a school book from which children should be taught to spell or read. A grant was accordingly made to the society of 6,980, Irish currency, in the Session of 1814-15. The system of this society was manifestly the same as that which was formerly called the Lancastrian system in England, and which, although adopted by the great body of the Protestant Dissenters there, was so much opposed by the bishops and clergy of the Established Church in general, that they completely prevented its application to schools for children of their communion. The Roman Catholic prelates and clergy set themselves with equal resolution against it in Ireland and with equal success. It was accordingly found in 1824, that of 400,348 children whose parents paid for their education in the general schools of the country, and whose religion was ascertained, there were 81,060 Protestants, and 319,288 Roman Catholics; while of 56,201 children educated under the Kildare Place Societyalthough theirs were schools for the poor, and the Roman Catholics bear a much greater proportion to Protestants in the poorer classes than in the higherthere were 26,237 Protestants, and only 29,964 Roman Catholics.

The British Government had done all in its power, except annuling the Orders in Council, to produce a better tone of feeling in America. It put up with many insults and violations of neutrality. It sent Mr. Foster as envoy to the United States to endeavour to adjust all differences; but in vain. This continued so till 1812, when, on the 20th of May, Mr. Russell, the American charg-d'affaires, presented Lord Castlereagh with a copy of an instrument by which France had, on the 28th of April, abrogated its Berlin and Milan Decrees so far as they related to American vessels. To show an equal liberality, Great Britain, on the 23rd of June, revoked its Orders in Council so far as concerned America, on condition that the United States also revoked its non-Intercourse Act. But this had no effect on the Government of America, which had already concluded a secret treaty with France, and was making every preparation for the invasion of our Canadian colonies. The Americans had the most profound idea of the stability of Buonaparte, and could not conceive that the expedition that he was now preparing against Russia would prove his overthrow. But they expected that Buonaparte would crush Russia altogether, and would rule unopposed over Europe; that the Government of Great Britain was bankrupt, and that they might assail her with impunity. Accordingly, all activity was used in getting ready all kinds of ships to send out as privateers, calculating on a plentiful spoil of British traders in the waters along the American coast and amongst the West Indian Isles, before they could be put upon their guard. At the same time, on the 14th of April they laid an embargo on all American vessels, so as to keep them at home; and on the 18th of June the President announced to Congress that the United States and Great Britain were in an actual state of war. There was a studied ambiguity in this declaration; it did not candidly take the initiative, and assert that the United States declared war against Great Britain, but said that the two countries were, somehow or other, already in a state of war.

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