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pean politics. Extensive colonies, rapidly increasing commerce, and improving manufaciures, afforded the nation ample amends for this loss ; but a spiri of faction began to appear in the national councils, which produced a pernicious influence on the growing prosperity of the nation. While there was any reason to apprehend danger from the house of Stuart, the Brunswick dynasty was necessarily thrown for support on she whigs, for the tories were from principle more or less disposed to favor the claims of the exiled house; but when all fears from the Pretender had disappeared, the zeal which the tories had ever shown for the maintenance of the royal prerogative naturally recommended them to royal favor. Personal friendship induced George III. to introduce the earl of Bute into his cabinet ; his influence excited the jealousy of the whigs, who had long monopolized the favor of the king and the nation ; they accused him of an attachment to toryism, of partiality to his Scottish countrymen, and of having sacrificed the interests of the nation at the peace. Unable or unwilling to face popular clamor, the earl of Bute resigned his office, but it was believed he privately retained his influence in the cabinet; and thus no small portion of his unpopularity was inherited by his successors.
John Wilkes, member of parliament for Aylesbury, assailed the ministers with great bitterness in a paper called the North Briton. The forty-fifth number of this periodical contained a fierce attack on the king's speech at the opening of the parliamentary session; and the ministers, forgetting discretion in their rage, issued a general warrant against the authors, printers, and publishers of the libel. Wilkes was arrested, but was soon liberated, on pleading privilege of parliament. The house of commons, in opposition to the legal authorities, voted that privilege of parliament did not extend to the case of libel ; but it subsequently joined with the lords in voting the illegality of general warrants. Wilkes, in the meantime, quitted the country, and not appearing to take his trial, was outlawed. So much was the nation engrossed by this dispute between the government and an individual, that little attention wils paid to colonial affairs; but during this period the East India company acquired several rich districts in Bengal, and displayed a grasping ambition, which threatened the independence of the native powers.
A more dangerous prospect was opened in the Anerican states. The French being removed, and the Indians driven into the backwoods, the colonies began to increase rapidly in wealth, and their prosperity suggested to Mr. Grenville a scheme for making them share in the burden of taxation. The late war had been undertaken principally for the security of the colonists, they had been almost exclusively the gainers by its successful termination, and it was therefore deemed equitable that they should pay a portion of the cost. But the Americans were not represented in the British parliament, and they, together with a large party in Britain, maintained that they could not be constitutionally taxed without their own consent. Mr. Grenville, supported by his royal master, disregarded opposition, and an act was passed imposing stamp-duties on a multitude of articles (A. D. 1765).
The dispute seemed to be allayed by a change in the British ministry; the marquis of Rockingham, much against the king's will, repealed the obnoxious Stamp Act; but he was forced to assert, in strong terms,
the right of the king and parliament to enact laws, binding the colonies in all cases whatsoever. The marquis of Rockingham was soon obliged to give way to Mr. Pitt, who had been created earl of Chatham ; but the cabinet constructed by this once-popular minister had no principle of union, and soon fell to pieces. The appointment of Lord North to the chancellorship of the exchequer aggravated party animosities (A. D. 1767); the new minister was suspected of hostility to the American claims, and had taken a prominent part against Wilkes. That demagogue returned to England; he was chosen member for the county of Middlesex at the general election, after which he surrendered himself to justice, obtained the reversal of his outlawry, and was sentenced to imprisonment for the libel he had published. When parliament met, it was supposed that Wilkes would take his seat for Middlesex, and a crowd assembled to escort him to the house ; some rioting occurred, the military were called out, and a scuffle ensued, in which some lives were lost. Wilkes stigmatized the employment of the soldiers on this occasion in the most unmeasured terms; the ministers took advantage of this second libel to procure his expulsion from the house of commons, but the electors of Middlesex re-elected him without any hesitation. The commons resolved that an expelled member was incapable of sitting in the parliament that had passed such a sentence upon him, and issued a writ for a new election. Once more Wilkes was unanimously chosen, and once more the commons refused to admit him. A new election was held, and Wilkes was returned by a great majority over Colonel Luttrell, the ministerial candidate. The house of commons persevered in its declaration of Wilkes's incapacity, and resolved that Colonel Luttrell should be the sitting member.
In their anxiety to crush a worthless individual, the ministers had now involved themselves in a contest on an important point of constitutional law, with all the constituencies of the nation. A fierce opposition was raised against them in England, and this not a little encouraged the Americans to persevere in their resistance.
The resignation of the duke of Grafton, who wished to conciliate the colonies, the removal of Earl Camden, who disapproved of the decision Iespecting the Middlesex election, and the appointnerit of Lord North as premier, added to the exasperation of parties (A. D. 1770). The imposition of a light duty on tea kept alive the dispute with America, while the concessions made to the court of Spain, in a dispute respecting the Falkland islands, were represented as a deliberate sacrifice of the honor of the country. The only beneficial result from these disputes was, the indirect license given to the publication of the parliamentary debates, which had hitherto been deemed a breach of privilege. The commons sent a messenger to arrest some printers and publishers, but the execution of their orders was opposed by the civic magistrates, Crosby, Oliver, and Wilkes. The two former were sent to the Tower ; but Wilkes refused to attend, unless permitted to take his seat for Middlesex, and the commons gave up the point by adjourping over the day on which he had been summoned to appear. Since that time the debates have been regularly published in the newspapers.
The abuses in the government of the dominions of the East India company having attracted considerable attention, a law was passed for bringing the affairs of that commercial association in some degree under the control of government; but to reconcile the company to such interference, a loan was granted on favorable terms; and also permission to export teas without payment of duty. A quantity of tea was shipped for Boston, and Lord North hoped that the low price of the commodity would induce the New Englanders to pay the small duty charged on importation; but when the vessels arrived at Boston, they were boarded during the night by a party of the townsmen, and the cargoes thrown into the sea. This outrage, followed by other acts of defiance, gave such offence in England, that acts were passed for closing the port of Boston, and altering the constitution of the colony of Massachusetts (A. D. 1774). It was hoped that the other colonies would be warned by this example ; but, on the contrary, they encouraged he people of Massachusetts in their disobedience, and signed agreements against the importation of British merchandise, until the Boston port bill should be repealed, and the grievances of the colonies redressed. But though the colonists acted firmly, they showed the greatest anxiety for reconciliation; they prepared addresses to the government and their fellowsubjects, and they sent a memorial to the king, couched in terms equally spirited and respectful. The address to his majesty was not received, as it had emanated from an illegal assembly; and the determination evinced by the new parliament, which met in 1775, to support ministerial measures, defeated all hopes of an accommodation.
The continental powers, jealous of the maritime and commercial prosperity of England, exulted in the contest thus unwisely provoked. Even the moderate king of France, though severely harassed by the disordered state of his finances, and the embarrassing disputes which had been raised by his grandfather between the court and the parliaments, seemed disposed to favor the revolted colonies ; several of his ministers urged him to offer them support, but the opinion of Turgot, the wisest of the French cabinet, prevailed for a season; he strenuously condemned such interference as impolitic and unjust. Spain, involved in a disastrous war with the piratical states of Barbary, and in a less formidable dispute with Portugal, respecting the boundaries of their South American colonies, was slow to engage in fresh hostilities, and was resolved to imitate the example of France. The king of Prussia, indignant at the desertion of his interests in the peace of 1763, openly rejoiced in the embarrassment of the British ministry; and Catherine of Russia exulted in the hope of seeing the naval power most likely to oppose her ambitious schemes preparing to destroy what was believed to be the secret source of its strength. Undervaluing the power and the fortitude of the provincials, the king and his ministers resolved to force them into obedience, parliament seconded these views, and the great bulk of the people applauded their determination. It is useless to conceal that the American war was popular at its commencement. The vague notion of dominion over an entire continent flattered English pride, and the taxes which the ministers demanded, promised some alleviation to the public burdens. The colonial revolt was regarded by many as a rebellion, not against the British government, but the British people, and the contest was generally looked upon in England as an effort to establish, not the royal authority, but the supremacy of the nation.
SECTION III.-The American War.
Blood having once been shed, it was manifest that the dispute between Britain and her American colonies could only be decided by the sword. Both parties, therefore, prepared for the struggle, but apparently with some lingering hope of a restoration of peace. Mutual forbearance was exhibited by the hostile generals, when the English were compelled to evacuate Boston ; Howe, the British commander, made no attempt to injure the town, and Washington permitted the royal army to retire unmolested. But the employment of German mercenaries, by the English ministry, completed the alienation of the colonists; they resolved to separate themselves wholly from the inothercountry, and on the 4th of July, 1776, the congress published the
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE THIRTEEN UNITED STATES.
The first campaign, after some important successes gained by the British forces under General Howe, terminated in the entire destruction of the army of the north commanded by General Burgoyne. But this did not abate the confidence of the British ministers or the British people. Conciliatory acts were, indeed, passed by the parliament, but before intelligence of this altered policy could be received in America, France had entered into a treaty recognising the independence of the United States (A. D. 1778). There were already some in Britain who advocated this extreme measure; the earl of Chatham vehemently opposed the dismemberment of the empire, but while addressing the lords, he was struck down in a fit, and died within a few days. The nation mourned his loss, but it did not the less prepare vigorously to meet impending dangers. A declaration of war was issued against France, and a respectable fleet, commanded by Admiral Keppel, sent to cruise in the channel. Keppel met and engaged the French fleet off Ushant, but being badly supported by Sir Hugh Palliser, the second in command, he was unable to make any use of the slight advantage he obtained.
The peace of the continent was momentarily menaced by the efforts of the emperor Joseph to obtain possession of Bavaria, but the prompt interference of the king of Prussia, the remonstrances of the emperess Catharine, and the unwillingness of France to second the ambitious designs of Austria, compelled Joseph to relinquish his prey when it was almost within his grasp (A. D. 1779). France alone, of the continental powers, had yet interfered in the American contest, but the intimate connexion between that country and Spain, led to a general belief that the latter would not long remain neutral. Nor was the expectation groundless; the court of Madrid, after an insincere offer of mediation, threw off the mask, and openly prepared for active hostilities. Washington adopted a cautious defensive policy, by which his adversaries were more exhausted than by a loss of a battle. The English subdued Georgia, and made some progress in the Carolinas; but the French captured several islands in the West Indies, and a Spanish
fleet, for a time rode triumphant in the channel, and even insulted Plymouth.
Serious riots in London tended more to lower the character of the English, among foreign nations, than these reverses. Some of the penal laws against the catholics having been repealed, an association was formed by some ignorant fanatics for the protection of the protestant religion; they stimulated the passions of the mob, and roused an immense multitude to acts of outrage. For several days, London was at the mercy of an infuriate populace; some catholic chapels were burned, and many private houses destroyed. Tranquillity was at length restored by the interference of the military, and several of the rioters capitally punished. These disgraceful transactions alienated the court of Madrid at a time when it was disposed to negotiate, and the promise of the French to aid in the reduction of Gibraltar, confirmed the hostile dispositions of the Spaniards.
The English had reduced all the French settlements in the East Indies in 1778, and humbled the Mahrattas; but a new and formidable enemy now appeared. Hyder Ali, a soldier of fortune, raised by chance .o the throne of Seringapatam, resolved to drive the European intruders from Hindústan, and entered the Carnatic with overwhelming forces. The local government of Madras was unprepared for this event, and the resources at its command were wasted by the obstinacy and incapacity of the council. Owing to this mismanagement, the English forces, commanded by Baillie and Fletcher, were all either slain or taken by Hyder and his son Tippoo.
The maritime glory of England was ably maintained by Sir George Rodney; he captured four Spanish ships-of-the-line off Čape St. Vincent, drove two more on shore, and burned another: thence proceeding to America, he thrice encountered the French fleet, under the count de Guichen, and though he obtained no decisive success, he prevented Washington from receiving naval aid in his meditated attack on New York. But the progress of the war now threatened to involve England in & new contest with all the maritime powers, respecting the trade of neutral vessels. The emperess of Russia took the lead in demanding freedom of trade for neutral vessels not laden with the munitions of war, to all ports not actually blockaded; she proposed that the northern powers should unite to support this right; a confederacy, called the Armer Neutrality, was formed by Russia, Denmark, and Sweden ; Holland promptly acceded to the league ; the courts of Vienna, Berlin, and Naples, adopted its principles; the republic of Venice, and even Portugal, the oldest ally of England, joined the association. The British ministry temporized, they expected, probably, that the smothered jealousy between Austria and Prussia might lead to a war that would divert the attention of the continental powers, but these hopes were frustrated by the death of Maria Theresa, whose inveterate hatred of the Prussian monarch was not inherited by her successor.
The conduct of the Dutch government had long been suspicious ; but proof was at length obtained of its having concluded a treaty with the American congress, and the remonstrances of the British minister were treated with disdain. War was instantly declared, and several of the Dutch colonies in the South American seas were subdued by the Eng