Encouraged by their success against the commercial treaty, the Whigs demanded that the Pretender, according to the Treaty of Peace, should be requested to quit France. It had been proposed by the French Court, and privately acceded to by Anne, that he should take up his residence at Bar-le-duc or Lorraine. The Duke of Lorraine had taken care to inquire whether this would be agreeable to the queen, and was assured by her Minister that it would be quite so. As his territorythough really a portion of Francewas nominally an independent territory, it seemed to comply with the terms of the Treaty; but the Whigs knew that this was a weak point, and on the 29th of June Lord Wharton, without any previous notice, moved in the Peers that the Pretender should remove from the Duke of Lorraine's dominions. The Court party was completely taken by surprise, and there was an awkward pause. At length Lord North ventured to suggest that such a request would show distrust of her Majesty; and he asked where was the Pretender to retire to, seeing that most, if not all, the Powers of Europe were on as friendly terms with the king as the Duke of Lorraine. Lord Peterborough sarcastically remarked that as the Pretender had begun his studies at Paris, he might very fitly go and finish them at Rome. No one, however, dared to oppose the motion, which was accordingly carried unanimously. On the 1st of July, only two days afterwards, General Stanhope made a similar motion in the House of Commons, which was equally afraid to oppose it, seeing that the House was still under the Triennial Act, and this was its last session. The slightest expression in favour of the Pretender would have to be answered on the hustings, and there was a long silence. Sir William Whitelock, however, was bold enough to throw out a significant remark, that he remembered the like address being formerly made to the Protector to have King Charles Stuart removed out of France, "leaving to every member's mind to suggest how soon after he returned to the throne of England notwithstanding." The addresses carried up from both Houses were received by the queen with an air of acquiescence, and with promises to do her best to have the Pretender removed. Prior, in Paris, was directed to make the wishes of the public known to the French Government. But this was merely pro forma; it was understood that there was no real earnestness on the part of the English queen or ministry. Prior, writing to Bolingbroke, said that De Torcy asked him questions, which for the best reason in the world he did not answer; as, for instance, "How can we oblige a man to go from one place when we forbid all others to receive him?" In fact, the Abb Gualtier, in his private correspondence, assures us that Bolingbroke himself suggested to the Duke of Lorraine the pretexts for eluding the very commands that he publicly sent him.

Chatham had begun to ponder the proceedings of Ministers towards America and towards Wilkes, or rather his constituents, as soon as the returning activity of his mind permitted him. The conduct of the Duke of Grafton, who had taken the lead during his retirement, did not escape his censure. He had too easily fallen into the demand of the Cabinet for severe measures in both those cases. No sooner, therefore, did Chatham appear than he launched the whole thunder of his indignation, and such was still his power that he shattered the Cabinet to atoms. No sooner was the Address to the king moved and seconded, than he rose and passed, with some expressions of contempt, from the mention of the horned cattle to the more important topics. He drew a dismal picture both[198] of the domestic condition and the foreign relations of the country. He glanced at the manner in which the Treaty of Paris had been made, the abandonment of the King of Prussia, and the consequent isolated condition of the kingdom, without a friend or an ally. But bad as the external affairs of the nation were, he described the internal as far worse. There everything was at discount. The people were partly starving and wholly murmuring; the constituencies were alarmed at the invasion of their rights in the case of John Wilkes; and the colonies were on the very edge of rebellion. Such was the condition to which the Government in a short time had reduced the commonweal. More than all did he condemn the policy pursued towards America. He protested against the term "unwarrantable," as applied to the conduct of the colonists; proposed to substitute the word "dangerous." He owned that he was partial towards the Americans, and strongly advocated a system of mildness and indulgence in their case.

Congress, alarmed at the progress of the English in South Carolina, had made extraordinary efforts to reinforce the Republican party in North Carolina. On the fall of Charleston, General Gates, who had acquired a high but spurious reputation upon the surrender of Burgoyne, was sent to take the chief command. In marching towards South Carolina, the American army suffered severely from the tropical heat of the climate and the scarcity of food. Gates led them through a country of alternating swamps and sandy deserts, called by the Americans pine-barrens. The troops lived chiefly on the lean cattle which they found scattered through the woods, on green Indian corn, and peaches, which were plentiful, being indigenous to the State of Louisiana. Lord Rawdon, who was lying at Camden, where he had halted his men to protect them from the heat, was joined there by Lord Cornwallis early in August. The entire force when united did not, however, exceed two thousand men, whilst the troops of Gates amounted to six thousand. The British general, notwithstanding, advanced briskly to meet the Americans, and on the evening of the 16th of August the two armies met rather unexpectedly, and some skirmishing took place, after which they halted in position till near daybreak.

Palliser, incensed at these marked censures on himself, vacated his seat in Parliament, and resigned his Governorship of Scarborough Castle, his seat at the Board of Admiralty, his colonelcy of marines, retaining only his post of Vice-Admiral, and demanding a court-martial. This was held on board the Sandwich, in Portsmouth harbour, and lasted twenty-one days, resulting finally in a verdict of acquittal, though with some censure for his not having acquainted his Commander-in-Chief instantly that the disabled state of his ship had prevented him from obeying the signal to join for the renewal of the fight. This sentence pleased neither party. Keppel thought Palliser too easily let offPalliser that he was sacrificed to party feeling against Government.

But the Nabob of Oude held out new temptations of gain to Hastings. The Rohillas, a tribe of Afghans, had, earlier in the century, descended from their mountains and conquered the territory lying between the Ganges and the mountains to the west of Oude. They had given it the name of Rohilcund. These brave warriors would gladly have been allies of the British, and applied to Sujah Dowlah to bring about such an alliance. Dowlah made fair promises, but he had other views. He hoped, by the assistance of the British, to conquer Rohilcund and add it to Oude. He had no hope that his rabble of the plains could stand against this brave mountain race, and he now artfully stated to Hastings that the Mahrattas were at war with the Rohillas. If they conquered them, they would next attack Oude, and, succeeding there, would descend the Ganges and spread over all Bahar and Bengal. He therefore proposed that the British should assist him to conquer Rohilcund for himself, and add it to Oude. For this service he would pay all the expenses of the campaign, the British army would obtain a rich booty, and at the end he would pay the British Government besides the sum of forty lacs of rupees. Hastings had no cause of quarrel with the Rohillas, but for the proffered reward he at once acceded to the proposal. In April, 1774, an English brigade, under Colonel Champion, invaded Rohilcund, and in a hard-fought field defeated the Rohillas. In the whole of this campaign nothing could be more disgraceful in every way than the conduct of the troops of Oude. They took care to keep behind during the fighting, but to rush forward to the plunder. The Nabob and his troops committed such horrors in plundering and massacreing not only the Rohillas, but the native and peaceful Hindoos, that the British officers and soldiers denounced the proceedings with horror. It was now, however, in vain that Hastings called on the Nabob to restrain his soldiers, for, if he did not plunder, how was he to pay the stipulated forty lacs of rupees? and if he ruined and burnt out the natives, how were they, Hastings asked, to pay any taxes to him as his new subjects? All this was disgraceful enough, but this was not all. Shah Allum now appeared upon the scene, and produced a contract between[326] himself and the Nabob, which had been made unknown to Hastings, by which the Nabob of Oude stipulated that, on condition of the Mogul advancing against the Rohillas from the south of Delhi, he should receive a large share of the conquered territory and the plunder. The Nabob now refused to fulfil the agreement, on the plea that the Mogul ought to have come and fought, and Hastings sanctioned that view of the case, and returned to Calcutta with his ill-gotten booty.

These occurrences in Ireland led to hostile demonstrations against the Government in Parliament. On the 7th of March Mr. Shaw, the Recorder of Dublin, as the representative of the Irish Protestants, commenced the campaign by moving for returns of the number of committals, convictions, inquests, rewards, and advertisements for the discovery of offenders in Ireland from 1835 to 1839, in order to enable the House to form a judgment with regard to the actual amount and increase of crime in that country. The debate was adjourned till the following Monday, when it was resumed by Mr. Lefroy, after which the House was counted out, and the question dropped; but it was taken up in the Lords on the 21st of March, when Lord Roden moved for a select Committee of inquiry on the state of Ireland since 1835, with respect to the commission of crime. His speech was a repetition of the usual charges, and the debate is chiefly worthy of notice on account of the elaborate defence by Lord Normanby of his Irish administration. "I am fully aware," said the noble marquis, "of the awful responsibility that would lie upon my head if these charges rested upon evidence at all commensurate with the vehemence of language and earnestness of manner with which they have been brought forward; but they rest upon no such foundation. I am ready, with natural indignation, to prove now, on the floor of this House, that I have grappled with crime wherever I have found it, firmly and unremittingly, and have yielded to none of my predecessors in the successful vindication of the laws." Among the mass of proofs adduced by Lord Normanby, he quoted a vast number of judges' charges, delivered from time to time between 1816 and 1835, which presented only one continuously gloomy picture of the prevailing practice of violence and atrocious outrage. Passing from this melancholy record, he proceeded to refer to numerous addresses of judges delivered on similar occasions since 1835. All of these contained one common topic of congratulationthe comparative lightness of the calendara circumstance, the noble marquis argued, which went far to establish his position, however it might fail to prove the extinction of exceptional cases of heinous crime. With regard to the wholesale liberation of prisoners, Lord Normanby distinctly denied that he had set free any persons detained for serious offences without due inquiry; or that any persons were liberated, merely because he happened to pass through the town, who would not have met with the same indulgence upon facts stated in memorials. "No; this measure," he insisted, "had been adopted upon the conviction that, in the peculiar case of Ireland, after severity had been so often tried, mercy was well worth the experiment. It was one which was not lightly to be repeated; but while he had received satisfactory evidence of the success of the measure, it was in his power to produce the testimony of judges with whom he had no political relations, to the pains taken in the examination of each case, and the deference shown to their reports."


It was not to be expected that the difficulties of Ireland would have passed away with the paroxysm of the crisis through which that nation had been working into a better state of existence. The social evils of that country were too deep-rooted and too extensive to be got rid of suddenly. The political disturbances above recorded, coming immediately after the famine, tended to retard the process of recovery. Another failure of the potato crop caused severe distress in some parts of the country, while in the poorer districts the pressure upon the rates had a crushing effect upon the owners of land, which was, perhaps, in the majority of cases, heavily encumbered. This led to the passing of a measure for the establishment of a "rate in aid," in the Session of 1849, by which the burden of supporting the poor was more equally divided, and a portion of it placed upon the shoulders most able to bear it. In anticipation of this rate the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Charles Wood, proposed an advance of 100,000 to meet the existing pressure. The proposed "rate in aid" was sixpence in the pound, to be levied in every union in Ireland, towards a general fund for the relief of the poor, and this was connected with a provision that the maximum rate should not exceed five shillings in the pound in any electoral[571] division. The proposition of the Government, with the exception of the maximum rate clause, was agreed to after a good deal of discussion and various amendments. In the House of Lords the Bill was carried with difficulty, after much discussion and the moving of various amendments.