Contemporary with Cowper was Mrs. Tighe, the author of "Psyche," an allegorical poem, in which the beauty of the sentiment made acceptable that almost exploded form of composition. But there was at this period a number of writers who had much more false than true sentiment. The euphuism of the reign of Queen Elizabeth broke forth in another fashion. A kind of poetical club was formed at Batheaston, the residence of Lady Miller, near Bath. She and her guests, amongst whom was Miss Seward, wrote verses, which they published under the title of "Poetical Amusements." A still more flaunting school set themselves up amongst the English at Florence, one of whom, a Mr. Robert Merry, dubbed himself "Della Crusca," whence the clique became known as the "Della Cruscan School." Amongst the members of it figured Mrs. Piozzi, the widow of Thrale the brewer, Boswell, Johnson's biographer, Mary Robinson, the younger Colman, and Holcroft, the dramatist, with others of less name. They addressed verses to each other in the most florid and extravagant style under the names of "Rosa Matilda," "Laura Maria," "Orlando," and the like. The fashion was infectious; and not only were the periodicals flooded by such silly mutual flatteries, but volumes were published full of them. Gifford, the editor of the Quarterly Review, and translator of Juvenal, attacked this frenzy in a satire called the "Baviad," and continued the attack in the "M?viad," which, however, was more particularly a censure on the degraded condition of the drama. This put an end to the nuisance, and Gifford won great fame by it; though, on referring to his two celebrated satires, we are surprised at their dulness, and are led to imagine that it was their heaviness which crushed these moths of literature. Gifford had himself a great fame in his day, which was chiefly based on his formidable position as editor of the Quarterly Review.

The Ministry had, as a matter of course, been much weakened by the retirement of Lord Grey; but, having got through the Session, it might have survived to the next meeting of Parliament but for the death of Earl Spencer, which occurred on the 10th of Novemberan event which removed Lord Althorp to the House of Peers. It was supposed that this would lead only to a fresh modification of the Cabinet, by a redistribution of places. For example, Lord John Russell was to succeed Lord Althorp as the leader of the House of Commons. Lord Melbourne's Administration seemed to be quietly acquiesced in, as sufficient for a time; the nation evidently assuming that, in any case, a Liberal Government was the necessary consequence of a reformed Parliament. The public were therefore startled when it was announced on the 15th that the king had dismissed his Ministers. It appeared that Lord Melbourne had waited upon his Majesty at Brighton, on the 14th, to take his commands as to the new arrangements he was about to make. But the king said he considered that Government dissolved by the removal of Lord Althorp; that he did not approve of the intended construction of the Cabinet; that Lord John Russell would make "a wretched figure" as leader of the House, and that Abercromby and Spring-Rice were worse than Russell; that he[378] did not approve of their intended measure with regard to the Irish Church; and concluded by informing Lord Melbourne that he would not impose upon him the task of completing the Ministerial arrangements, but would send for the Duke of Wellington.

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If there wanted anything to prove the truth of Lord Wellington's warnings to the Spanish authorities of the undisciplined condition of their armies, and the incompetency of their generals, it came quickly. Whilst they continued to treat him more like an enemy than a friend, and had issued orders throughout the province where he lay, forbidding the sale of provisions and forage for his army, their own armies were again annihilated. The army of Venegas, which had retreated, on the advance of Sebastiani towards Madrid, into the Sierra Morena, had been taken from him, and given to a young, inexperienced man, General Areizaga. Cuesta, also, had been set aside for one still more incapable, a General Eguia, of whom Lord Wellington had already pronounced that he was a fool. Areizaga, instead of maintaining his strong post in the hills, being joined by the greater part of the army of Estremadura, now commanded by Eguia, imagined that he could beat the united forces of Mortier and Sebastiani, and drive them out of Madrid. With fifty thousand men and sixty pieces of artillery he descended from his hills into the open plains of Oca?a, where he was beaten on the 20th of November, with the loss of all his artillery but five guns, his baggage, military chest, provisions, and everything. There was immense slaughter of his soldiers, and the rest fled into the mountains. The Duke del Parque, who was placed for the protection of the line of the Tagus with another large army, was marching to support this intended conquest of Madrid, when, in the month of October, being strongly posted on the heights of Tamames, he encountered General Marchand, and defeated him. Elated by this success, he no longer trusted to hills and strong positions, but, like Areizaga, advanced boldly into the plains, and on the 28th of November he encountered Kellermann at Alba de Tormes, and received a most thorough defeat. His men, both cavalry and infantry, scarcely stayed to cross swords or bayonets with the French, but, flinging down their arms, and leaving all their baggage and artillery behind them, they fled in every direction. Kellerman pursued and cut them down without mercyaccording to his own account, killing three thousand men and making three hundred prisoners. O'CONNELL RETURNING HOME FROM PRISON. (See p. 532.)

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Byng went in pursuit of the Spanish fleet, which was assisting in the conquest of Sicily, and came in sight of twenty-seven sail of the line,[41] with fire-ships, ketches, bombs, and seven galleys, drawn up in line of battle between him and Cape Passaro. So soon as they were clear of the straits, a council was held to determine whether they should fight or retreat. They came to no resolution, but continued to linger about in indecision till Byng was down upon them. Whereupon he utterly destroyed them (August 11, 1718).

On this day all Paris was astir. The drums were beating in all quarters; the National Guard were assembling at their different posts; the Insurrectional Committee had divided itself into three sections. One took its station in the Faubourg St. Marceau, with Fournier at its head; another in the Faubourg St. Antoine, headed by Westermann and Santerre; whilst Danton, Camille Desmoulins, and Carra, were at the Cordeliers. About twelve o'clock the tocsin began to ring out from the H?tel de Ville, and was quickly followed by the bells in every church tower in Paris. By one o'clock the palace was surrounded by vast throngs of armed people. They could be seen by the inmates of the palace through the old doors of the courts, and from the windows. Their artillery was visibly pointed at the palace, and the noise of their shouting, beating of drums, and singing of insurrectionary songs, was awful. The king had issued an order that the Swiss and Guards should not commence the attack, but should repel force by force. It was now recommended that the king also should go down, and by showing himself, and addressing a few words to them, should animate them in their duty. The queen, her eyes inflamed with weeping, and with an air of dignity, which was never forgotten by those who saw her, said also, "Sire, it is time to show yourself." She is said to have snatched a pistol from the belt of old General d'Affry, and to have presented it in an excitement that scarcely allowed her to remain behind. Could she have changed places, had she been queen in her own right, there would soon have been a change of scene. As for Louis, with that passive courage which he always possessed, and so uselessly, he went forward and presented himself to view upon the balcony. At the sight of him, the Grenadiers raised their caps on the points of their swords and bayonets, and there were cries of "Vive le Roi!" the last that saluted him in his hereditary palace. Even at this cry, numbers of the National Guard took alarm, imagining that they were to be surrendered to the knights of the dagger, and that they had been betrayed. The gunners, joining in the panic, turned their guns towards the palace, but the more faithful Guard drove them from the guns, disarmed them, and put them under watch.

The Nabob of Oude zealously embraced the cause of Meer Cossim. He possessed not only great resources in his own province, but he possessed additional authority with the natives from having received also at his court the titular emperor of Delhi, Shah Allum, who, though driven from his throne and territory by the Mahrattas, was still in the eyes of the people the Great Mogul. With the Great Mogul in his camp, and appointed vizier by him, Sujah Dowlah advanced at the head of fifty thousand men against Major Adams and his little army, now numbering about one thousand two hundred Europeans and eight thousand Sepoys. Before the two armies came in sight of each other Adams died, and the command was assumed by Major, afterwards Sir Hector Munro. Munro led his army to Buxar, more than a hundred miles higher up the Ganges. There, in the month of October, 1764, he came into conflict with the army of Oude, and put it thoroughly to the rout, killing four thousand men and taking one hundred and thirty pieces of cannon and much spoil.

We have already noted the excitement in Scotland at the Act which was passed in 1778 for the repeal of some of the severest disabilities of the Catholics; and this had been greatly increased by the proposal to extend its operation by a second Act to Scotland. The fanatics of Scotland were promptly on the alert, and there were dangerous riots in Edinburgh and Glasgow. But the same unchristian spirit had now spread to England, and Protestant Associations, as they were called, linked together by corresponding committees, were established in various towns, and had elected as their president and Parliamentary head Lord George Gordon, a brother of the Duke of Gordon. During the spring of 1780 he presented several petitions from the people of Kent, and he then conceived his grand idea of a petition long enough to reach from the Speaker's chair to the centre window at Whitehall, out of which Charles walked to the scaffold. At a meeting of the Protestant Association, held towards the end of May in Coachmakers' Hall, in London, he announced that he would present this petition on the 2nd of June. Resolutions were passed that the Association and all their friends must go in procession on that day to present the petition. They were to assemble in St. George's Fields; every one must have a blue cockade in his hat, to distinguish him from the enemies of the cause; and Lord George, to stimulate them, told them that unless the gathering amounted to twenty thousand he would not present the petition. On the 26th of May he stated in the House of Commons that he should appear there with the petition at the head of all those who had signed it. Accordingly, on 2nd of June vast crowds assembled on the appointed spot, amounting to sixty thousand, or, as many asserted, one hundred thousand men. This formidable throng was arranged in four battalions, one consisting entirely of Scotsmen, who received Lord George with enthusiastic acclamations, and, after a vapouring speech from him, marched by different ways to Westminster.

But his great measure, at this period, was the blow aimed at the commerce of Britain, and comprised in his celebrated Berlin Decrees, promulgated on the 21st of November. He had subjugated nearly the whole of the European Continent. Spain, Portugal, Italy to the south of France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Prussia to the north, with nearly the whole seaboard of Europe, were under his hand and his armies. He had found that he could not invade England; her fleet had risen triumphant, his own fleet had disappeared like a vapour at Trafalgar. As, therefore, he could not reach her soil, he determined to destroy her by destroying her commerce, on which he imagined not merely her prosperity but her very existence depended. As he was master of nearly all Continental Europe, he supposed it as easy for him to exclude by his fiat the merchandise of Britain, as to put down old dynasties and set up new ones. He had yet to[528] learn that commerce has a conquering power greater than that either of martial genius or of arms.