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Two courses were now open to the Duke of Wellington and to Peelto resign, in order that Emancipation might be carried by the statesmen who had always been its advocates, and who might therefore carry it without any violation of consistency or of their own political principles. It was for not adopting this course that they were exposed to all the odium which they so long endured. But the question was, whether Lord Grey or Lord Lansdowne could have carried Catholic Emancipation even with the aid of the Duke of Wellington and Mr. Peel in oppositioncould have overcome the repugnance of the Sovereign and the resistance of the House of Lords. It was their decided conviction that they could not, especially with due regard to the safety of the Established Church. But being convinced that the time had come when the question ought to be settled, the Duke examined the second course that was open to him, and embraced it. It was this: that postponing all other considerations to what he believed to be a great public duty, he should himself, as Prime Minister, endeavour to settle the question.

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Not one of these monarchs, whose subjects had shed their blood and laid down their lives by hundreds of thousands to replace them in their power, had in return given these subjects a recompense by the institution of a more liberal form of government. The German kings and princes had openly promised such constitutions to induce them to expel Buonaparte; and, this accomplished, they shamefully broke their word. As Lord Byron well observed, we had put down one tyrant only to establish ten. In Spain, where we had made such stupendous exertions to restore Ferdinand, that monarch entered about the end of March; and his arrival was a signal for all the old royalists and priests to gather round him, and to insist on the annihilation of the Constitution made by the Cortes. He went to Gerona, where he was joined by General Elio and forty thousand men. Thence he marched to Saragossa and Valencia. At that city Te Deum was sung for his restoration, and, surrounded by soldiers and priests, he declared that the Cortes had never been legally convoked; that they had deprived him of the sovereignty, and the nobles and clergy of their status; and that he would not swear to the Constitution which they had prepared. On the 12th of May he entered his capital, amid the most frantic joy of the ignorant populace, and proceeded at once to seize all Liberal members of the Cortes, and throw them into prison. Wellington hastened to Madrid, and with his brother, Sir Henry Wellesley, the British Ambassador, and General Whittingham, in vain urged on Ferdinand to establish a liberal constitution, and govern on liberal principles. It was clear there was a time of terrible and bloody strife before Spain between the old tyrannies and superstitions and the new ideas. Buonaparte very speedily matured his plans for the seizure of Spain, and he began to put them into execution. From Italy, where he was violating the territories of the Pope, and compelling the reluctant Queen of Etruria to give up her kingdom, he wrote to the King of Spain, her father, that he consented to a marriage between the Prince of Asturias and a lady of his family. Whilst he thus gave assurance of his friendship, he ordered his army, lying at Bayonne, to enter Spain at different points, and possess themselves of the strong positions along its frontier. By this means the French were received as friends by the people, and neither the king nor Godoy complained of this gross breach of the Treaty of Fontainebleau. The impudent tricks by which the great fortresses were secured, each of which might have detained an army for years, have scarcely any parallel in history. At Pamplona, on the 9th of February, 1808, the French troops commenced a game of snowballing each other on the esplanade of the citadel, when suddenly they occupied the drawbridge, entered the fortress gate, and admitted a body of their countrymen, who had been placed in readiness, and the fortress was secured. At Barcelona the French gave out that they were about to march. Duchesne, the General, drew up his men before the citadel, on pretence of speaking with the French guard, near the citadel gate, passed suddenly in, followed by an Italian regiment, and the place was their own. St. Sebastian was captured by a number of French being admitted into the hospital, who let in their fellows, and Mountjoy was taken by a like ruse.

The next day the debate was resumed. It appeared that the Prince had been hooted at, and a stone, or other missile, flung through the window of the carriage. The Ministerial party endeavoured to raise the occurrence into an attempt on the Prince's life; the Opposition hinted at the expression of public disgust with the tone which Government was assuming towards the distresses of the people, called zealously for stringent reductions of expense, and moved an amendment to that very effect. But the Government had yet much to learn on this head; and Lord Sidmouth announced that the Prince Regent in three days would send down a message on the disaffection of the people. It would have been wise to have added to this measure a recommendation of serious inquiry into the causes of this disaffection, for disaffection towards a Government never exists without a cause; but the Government had carried on matters so easily whilst they had nothing to do but to vote large sums of money for foreign war that they had grown callous, and had been so much in co-operation with arbitrary monarchs that they had acquired too much of the same spirit; and they now set about to put down the people of England as they, by means of the people of England, had put down Buonaparte. It was their plan to create alarm, and under the influence of that alarm to pass severe measures for the crippling of the Constitution and the suppression of all complaints of political evil.

In five days he had snatched the most damaging victories. The Archduke Charles retreated in haste towards Bohemia, to secure himself in the defiles of its mountains; and Buonaparte employed the 23rd and 24th of April in reviewing his troops and distributing rewards. General Hiller, who, with the Archduke Louis, had been defeated at Landshut, had united himself to a considerable body of reserve, and placed himself on the way, as determined to defend the capital. He retreated upon Ebersberg, where the sole bridge over the Traun gave access to the place, the banks of the river being steep and rocky. He had thirty thousand men to defend this bridge, and trusted to detain the French there till the Archduke Charles should come up again with reinforcements, when they might jointly engage them. But Massena made a desperate onset on the bridge, and, after a very bloody encounter, carried it. Hiller then retreated to the Danube, which he crossed by the bridge of Mautern, and, destroying it after him, continued his march to join the Archduke Charles. This left the road open to Vienna, and Buonaparte steadily advanced upon it. The Archduke Charles, becoming aware of this circumstance, returned upon his track, hoping to reach Vienna before him, in which case he might have made a long defence. But Buonaparte was too nimble for him: he appeared before the walls of the city, and summoned it to surrender. The Archduke Maximilian kept the place with a garrison of fifteen thousand men, and he held out for three or four days. Buonaparte then commenced flinging bombs into the most thickly populated parts of the city, and warned the inhabitants of the horrors they must suffer from a siege. All the royal family had gone except Maximilian and the young archduchess, Maria Louisa, who was ill. This was notified to Buonaparte, and he ordered the palace to be exempted from the attack. This was the young lady destined very soon to supersede the Empress Josephine in the imperial honours of France. The city capitulated on the 12th of May, the French took possession of it, and Napoleon resumed his residence at the palace of Sch?nbrunn, on the outskirts.

During this period Richard Bentley, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and archdeacon of Ely, figures prominently as one of the most profound classical scholars that Great Britain has produced, and, at the same time, as one of the most quarrelsome, arrogant, and grasping of men. The circumstance which made the most noise in his career was his controversy with the Hon. Charles Boyle regarding the authenticity of the Epistles of Phalaris and the Fables of ?sop. In this dispute he had to contend with Drs. Atterbury, French, King, and Smallridge, who made the reply to him in their "Examination of Bentley's Dissertation on the Epistles," in the name of Boyle. Swift also attacked him in "The Battle of the Books." The controversy made an immense noise at the time, and Bentley completely proved his assertion, that both the Epistles of Phalaris and the Fables of ?sop, in their present form, are spurious. The services of Bentley in publishing corrected editions of various classical works are of no ordinary kind. Amongst the authors who have received the benefit of his critical touches are Aristophanes, Cicero, Menander, Philemon, Horace, Nicander, Ph?drus, and Homer. In his editions of Horace and Homer, however, he laid himself open to severe criticism by his rash and arbitrary emendations of the text, and still more so by his edition of Milton's "Paradise Lost," from the same cause. In this case he showed that he was as deficient in the Italian and romantic learning, which Milton had made himself master of, as he was great in his own classical field. Bentley displayed himself as a theologian of great distinction by his refutation of Collins's "Discourse of Freethinking," and his lectures at Oxford in defence of the Christian religion.

Leave was given to bring in the Bill by a majority of 188; the numbers being 348 for the motion, and 160 against it. This astounding result was the signal for pouring into the House a flood of Protestant petitions, which, in the interval between the first and second reading, amounted to nearly 1,000; but an organisation like the Brunswick Clubs could easily get up any number of petitions. Considering the number of parishes in England, it is surprising, not that the number was so great, but that it was not greater. On the 18th the second reading was carried by a majority of 353 to 180; and on the 30th the third reading by a majority of 320 to 142, giving a majority of 178.

Lord Wellington came up with him on the 9th of April, in the meantime having had to get across the rapid Garonne, with all his artillery and stores, in the face of the French batteries. The next morning, the 10th, being Easter Sunday,[76] Wellington attacked Soult in all his positions. These were remarkably strong, most of his troops being posted on well-fortified heights, bristling with cannon, various strongly-built houses being crammed with riflemen; while a network of vineyards and orchards, surrounded by stone walls, and intersected by streams, protected his men, and rendered the coming at them most difficult. The forces on both sides were nearly equal. Soult had about forty-two thousand men, and Wellington, besides his army composed of British, Germans, and Portuguese, had a division of fifteen thousand Spaniards. The difficulties of the situation far out-balanced the excess of about three thousand men on the British side; but every quarter was gallantly attacked and, after a severe conflict, carried. Soult retired into Toulouse, and during the ensuing night he evacuated it, and retreated to Carcassonne. The loss of the Allies in killed was six hundred, and about four thousand wounded. Soult confessed to three thousand two hundred killed and wounded, but we may calculate his total loss at little less than that of the Allies, although his troops had been protected by their stone walls and houses.

Happily, the prevalence as well as the acerbity of party spirit was restrained by the prosperous state of the country in the winter of 1835-36. There were, indeed, unusual indications of general contentment among the people. Allowing for partial depression in agriculture, all the great branches of national industry were flourishing. The great clothing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, both woollen and cotton, were all in a thriving condition. Even in the silk trade of Macclesfield, Coventry, and Spitalfields, there were no complaints, nor yet in the hosiery and lace trades of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, while the potteries of Staffordshire, and the iron trade in all its branches, were unusually flourishing. Of course, the shipping interest profited by the internal activity of the various manufactures and trades. Money was cheap, and speculation was rife. The farmers, it is true, complained, but their agricultural distress to a certain extent was felt to be chronic. Farming was considered a poor trade, its profits, on the average, ranging below those of commerce. Most of the farmers being tenants at will, and their rents being liable to increase with their profits, they were not encouraged to invest much in permanent improvements.