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At length it was announced that peace was signed with France at Utrecht, and it was laid before the Council (March 31, 1713). Bolingbroke had made another journey to the Continent to hasten the event, but it did not receive the adhesion of the Emperor at last. Holland, Prussia, Portugal, and Savoy had signed, but the Emperor, both as king of Austria and head of the Empire, stood out, and he was to be allowed till the 1st of June to accept or finally reject participation in it. This conclusion had not been come to except after two years' negotiation, and the most obstinate resistance on the part of all the others except England. Even in the English Cabinet it did not receive its ratification without some dissent. The Lord Cholmondeley refused to sign it, and was dismissed from his office of Treasurer of the Household. On the 9th of April the queen opened Parliament, though she was obliged to be carried thither and back in a chair in consequence of her corpulence and gout. She congratulated the country on this great treaty, declared her firm adherence to the Protestant succession, advised them to take measures to reduce the scandalous licentiousness of the Press, and to prevent duelling, in allusion to the tragic issue of that between Hamilton and Mohun. She finally exhorted them to cultivate peace amongst themselves, to endeavour to allay party rage; and as to what forces should be necessary by land and the sea, she added, "Make yourselves safe; I shall be satisfied. Next to the protection of Divine Providence, I depend on the loyalty and affection of my people; I want no other guarantee." On the 4th of May the proclamation of peace took place. It was exactly eleven years since the commencement of the war. The conditions finally arrived at were those that have been stated, except that it was concluded to confer Sicily on the Duke of Savoy for his services in the war; on the Elector of Bavaria, as some equivalent for the loss of Bavaria itself, Sardinia, with the title of king; and that, should Philip of Spain leave no issue, the Crown of Spain should also pass to him.

During this protracted agony of suspense and alarm business was almost at a standstill. Nobody seemed to think or talk of anything but the rebellionthe chances of success and the possibility of having to submit to a republic. There could not be a more striking proof of the inability of Lord Clarendon to cope with this emergency than his dealings with the proprietors of the World, a journal with a weekly circulation of only 500 or 600 copies, which subsisted by levying blackmail for suppressing attacks on private character. It was regarded as a common nuisance, and yet the Lord-Lieutenant took the editor into his confidence, held private conferences with him on the state of the country, and gave him large sums for writing articles in defence of law and order. These sums amounted to 1,700, and he afterwards gave him 2,000 to stop an action in the Court of Queen's Bench. Mr. Birch, the gentleman in question, was not satisfied with this liberal remuneration for his services; the mine was too rich not to be worked out, and he afterwards brought an action against Sir William Somerville, then Chief Secretary, for some thousands more, when Lord Clarendon himself was produced as a witness, and admitted the foregoing facts. The decision of the court was against Birch; but when, in February, 1852, the subject was brought before the House of Commons by Lord Naas, the Clarendon and Birch transactions were sanctioned by a majority of 92.

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The Court and the nobles were greatly alarmed, and secretly preparing for war. The nobles had joined the Assembly with the utmost repugnance, and many only on the assurance that the union would not continue. The members of that Order continued to protest against the proceedings of the Assembly, rather than join in its deliberations. The king himself had consented to the union, in the hope that the nobles would be able to put a check on the Tiers tat. King and nobles saw now that all such hopes were vain. And whilst Necker was retained to satisfy the people for the present, and whilst Mounier, Lally Tollendal, and Clermont Tonnerre were consulting with him on establishing a Constitution resembling that of Britain, the Court was preparing to put down the insurrection and the Assembly by force. Marshal Broglie was placed at the head of the troops which surrounded both Paris and Versailles. He judged of both soldiers and citizens by the recollections of the Seven Years' War, and assured the king that a little grape-shot would soon disperse the rioters. Fifteen regiments, chiefly foreign, had been gradually drawn round the capital. The headquarters of Broglie were at Versailles, where he had a brilliant staff and a formidable train of artillery, some of which commanded the very hall in which the Assembly sat. There was a battery at the bridge of Svres, commanding the road to Paris, and in Paris itself there were strong batteries on Montmartre, which overlooked the city, and which, moreover, were carefully entrenched. Besides these preparations, there were French regiments quartered at St. Germain, Charenton, St. Cloud, and other places. Altogether, fifty thousand troops were calculated to be collected. The old noblesse were impatient for the king to give the order to disperse the people both in Paris and Versailles; to surround the Assembly, seize the chief members, put them in prison, and send the rest adrift; to treat the ringleaders of the electors in the same manner; to dissolve formally the States General, and restore the old order of things. Had the reins of government been in the hands of a Bonaparte, the whole plan would have been executed, and would for the time, without doubt, have succeeded. But Louis XVI. was not the man for a coup-d'tat of that rigorous nature. He shuddered at the idea of shedding his subjects' blood; and instead of doing that for which the troops had been assembled, he now listened to Necker, who reminded him that when the people were put down or shot down, and the States General dispersed, the old debts and difficulties would remain, and without States General or Parliament there would be no authority to impose or collect taxes. To Necker's arguments, the more timid and liberal nobles added that the excitement would soon wear itself out; that nothing serious could be done in the presence of such forces, and that the Constitution, once completed, all would right itself, and that he would have to congratulate himself on his bloodless patience in a new and happier reign. This was humane but fatal advice in the circumstances. The soldiers, allowed to remain inactive in the very midst of the hotbed of sedition, were sure to become infected with the spirit of revolution. The debates in the National Assembly were actively distributed in print, and the soldiers read them eagerly.

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Henry Purcell (b. 1658; d. 1695) produced the bulk of his works in William's reign. He composed the music to "The Tempest," "Dioclesian," "King Arthur," "Don Quixote," "Bonduca," and "Orpheus Britannicus." Many parts of these, and his sonatas, anthems, catches, rounds, glees, etc., are as much enjoyed now as in his own day. The music to Davenant's "Circe," by Banister, of Shadwell's "Psyche," by Lock, and of Dryden's "Albion and Albanius," by Grabut, had increased in England the liking for the lyrical drama; but Purcell's compositions wonderfully strengthened it, and from "King Arthur" may properly be dated the introduction of the English opera. Gay's "Beggar's Opera," six-and-thirty years after, however, was the first complete and avowed opera, and this did not establish that kind of entertainment in England. The wonderful success of this production, which was performed for sixty-two nights (not consecutive), was chiefly derived from the wit and satire of the composition itself, the abundance of popular airs introduced, and the party feeling which it gratified. The airs were selected and adapted by Dr. Pepusch, a German, who settled in London, and became celebrated there. He also furnished the overture, and wrote accompaniments to the airs. Eleven years after, Milton's "Comus" was adapted to the stage by the Rev. Dr. Dalton, with music by Dr. Arne, who afterwards composed the music for "Artaxerxes," and thence derived a high reputation.

On the 6th of November the second reading of the Bill was carried by a majority of twenty-eight, the numbers being one hundred and twenty-three to ninety-five, which the Government considered equivalent to a finding of guilty. It appears from these numbers that a large proportion of their lordships abstained from voting. The Bishops had an insuperable objection to the divorce clause; but in committee it was sustained by a majority of one hundred and twenty-nine to sixty-two, the Opposition having nearly all voted for the clause, with a view of defeating the Bill in its last stage. Consequently, for the third reading, on the 10th of November, the majority was only nine, the numbers being one hundred and eight to ninety-nine. Upon this announcement Lord Liverpool rose and said, that upon so slender a majority he could not think of pressing the measure further, and so he begged leave to withdraw the Bill. The truth is, he had no option. It had not the slightest chance of passing through the Lower House, where ignominious defeat awaited the Government.

The ships being got afloat again, on the 12th of April Parker sailed away with the main body of the fleet, leaving the St. George (with Nelson) and a few other ships to repair their damages. Sir Hyde Parker went in quest of the Swedish fleet, which consisted only of six ships, and which had taken refuge behind the forts of Karlskrona. Parker sent in a flag of truce, informing them of the armistice with Denmark, and demanding an answer as to the intentions of Sweden. Gustavus, the King of Sweden, hastened to Karlskrona, and on the 22nd informed the English admiral that he was ready to treat with an envoy accredited to the Northern Powers. Admiral Parker then proceeded towards the Gulf of Finland to attack the Russian fleet, but was soon overtaken by a dispatch boat from the Russian ambassador at Copenhagen, announcing that the Emperor Paul had been murdered by his courtiers, and that his son, Alexander, had accepted the proposals of Britain to treat. Parker considered the news of Paul's death as tantamount to the conclusion of peace, and proposed sailing down the Baltic again; but Nelson, who had joined him at Karlskrona, thought very differently. He had blamed Parker's slowness and easiness all through the affair of Copenhagen, and he now wanted to push on to Revel, and destroy the Russian fleet before the ice allowed it to retire into Cronstadt. Sir Hyde Parker refused; and the fleet was on its way down the Baltic when an order came recalling Parker and giving the command to Nelson. He immediately put about and proceeded to Revel, but the thaw had allowed the Russian fleet to get into Cronstadt. Nelson, however, opened communications with the Emperor Alexander, and proposed to land and terminate a convention with him at once. Alexander, not liking to have Nelson's fleet too near, declined the proposal in terms of courtesy, and Nelson took his leave in no complimentary mood. The emperor thought it best to send after him Admiral Tchitchagoff, to assure him that Alexander regretted that any misunderstanding had ever taken place between Russia and Britain; that all the British subjects seized by Paul should be immediately liberated, all their property restored, and that the Czar would be glad to see Nelson at St. Petersburg in any style which he liked to assume. But Nelson had now resolved to return at once to Britain, his shattered health ill bearing the severity of the northern climate; nor was his presence necessary, for on the 17th of June, two days before Nelson went on board the brig which took him to Britain, Lord St. Helens, who had proceeded to St. Petersburg as ambassador, had signed a convention, by which all subjects of dispute between the two countries were ended. Denmark and Sweden came into the convention as a matter of course.