Meanwhile, the Russians had been occupied with the siege of Oczakoff, near the mouth of the Dnieper. There the Turks had endeavoured to burn their flotillas and flat-bottomed boats, in the[351] shallows, at the mouth of the river; but besides Potemkin, they had the able Suvaroff to contend with. This sagacious general drew the Russian flotilla under the forts of Kinburn, nearly opposite to Oczakoff, of which they were in possession. Thus safe himself, he swept the broad liman with his guns, destroyed many of the boats of the Turks, as they got entangled in the sands of the shallows, and compelled the admiral, who commanded, to withdraw his fleet. After several vain attempts, Oczakoff was stormed on St. Nicholas' Day, the 17th of November. But this success was only obtained at the last moment, in the very desperation of despair, and when the campaign had cost Russia twenty thousand men, of whom five thousand perished in the final assault.

It was now expected by the Whigs, and by a[10] great part of the public, that they should come into office. At first the conduct of the Prince Regent favoured this supposition. He applied to Grey and Grenville to draw up the answer that he should return to the two Houses on their addresses on his appointment. But he did not quite like this answer, and got Sheridan to make some alterations in it. He then returned the paper to Grey and Grenville, as in the form that he approved. But these noblemen declared that they would have nothing more to do with the paper so altered; and Sheridan, on his part, suggested to the prince that he would find such men as Ministers very domineering and impracticable. Nor was this allLord Grenville and his family held enormous patronage. Like all the Whigs, the Grenvilles, however they might study the interests of the country, studied emphatically their own. Grenville had long held, by a patent for life, the office of Auditor to the Exchequer; and in accepting office in "All the Talents" Ministry, he managed to obtain also the office of First Lord of the Treasury. The Auditorship of the Exchequer was instituted as a check on the Treasury, but neither Lord Grenville nor his friends saw any impropriety in destroying this check by putting both offices into the same hands. They declared this union was very safe and compatible, and a Bill was brought in for the purpose. But when the King had become both blind and insane, and no Regent was yet appointed, Lord Grenville, being no longer First Lord of the Treasury, but Perceval, he suddenly discovered that he could not obey the order of the Treasury for the issues of money to the different services. It was strictly necessary that the Great Seal, or the Privy Seal, or the Sign Manual, should be attached to the Treasury orders, or, failing these, that they should be sanctioned by an express Act of Parliament. As neither Great nor Privy Seal, nor Sign Manual was possible until a regent was appointed, Lord Grenville's conscience would not let him pass the orders of the Treasury, and all payments of army, navy, and civil service were brought to a stand. Perceval, after in vain striving hard to overcome the scruples, or rather the party obstinacy of Grenville, was compelled to go to the House of Parliament, and get the obstacle removed by a resolution of both Houses. The notice of the public being thus turned by Grenville to his holding of this office, and his readiness to unite the two offices in his own person, which his pretended scruples of conscience now invested with so much danger, produced a prejudice against him and his party, which was hostile to their coming into power. Besides this, the Opposition were greatly divided in their notions of foreign policy. Grey and his immediate section of the party felt bound, by their advocacy of Fox's principles, to oppose the war; Grenville and his friends were for a merely defensive war, and for leaving Portugal and Spain, and the other Continental nations, to fight their own battles; whilst Lord Holland, who had travelled in Spain, and was deeply interested in its language and literature, was enthusiastic for the cause of the Peninsula, and the progress which Wellington was making there. It was utterly impossible that, with such divided views, they could make an energetic Ministry at this moment, and it was equally certain that they could not again form an "All the Talents" by coalition with the Conservatives. And, beyond all this, it does not appear that the Regent was anxious to try them. Like all heirs-apparent of the house of Hanover, he had united with the Opposition during his youth, but his friendship appeared now anything but ardent. Sheridan still possessed something of his favour, and the Earl of Moira was high in it; but for the rest, the prince seemed quite as much disposed to take the Tories into his favour; and he, as well as the royal dukes, his brothers, was as much bent on the vigorous prosecution of the war as the Tories themselves. No Ministry which would have carried that on languidly, still less which would have opposed it, would have suited him any more than it would have done his father. The King, too, was not so deeply sunk in his unhappy condition but that he had intervals lucid enough to leave him alive to these questions, and he showed so much anxiety respecting the possible change of the Ministry, and fresh measures regarding the war, that his physicians declared that such a change would plunge him into hopeless madness and probably end his life. The Queen wrote to the prince, saying how much satisfaction his conduct in regard to these matters had given to his father, and he wrote to Mr. Perceval, declaring that this consideration determined him not to change the Ministry at all. At the same time he expressed to the Minister his dissatisfaction with the restrictions which had been imposed upon him. Perceval, even at the risk of offending the prince, justified the conduct of Ministers and Parliament. In this he might be the more bold, as it was clear that there was no longer any danger of a Whig Government.

During the discussion of this question, Sir George Savile brought forward another. This was a Bill for relieving Catholics, by repealing the penalties and disabilities imposed by the 10th and 11th of King William III. The hardships sought to be removed were these:The prohibition of Catholic priests or Jesuits teaching their own doctrines in their own churches, such an act being high treason in natives and felony in foreigners; the forfeitures by Popish heirs of their property who received their education abroad, in such cases the estates going to the nearest Protestant heir; the power given to a Protestant to take the estate of his father, or next kinsman, who was a Catholic, during his lifetime; and the debarring all Catholics from acquiring legal property by any other means than descent. Dunning declared the restrictions a disgrace to humanity, and perfectly useless, as they were never enforced; but Sir George Savile said that was not really the fact, for that he himself knew Catholics who lived in daily terror of informers and of the infliction of the law. Thurlow, still Attorney-General, but about to ascend the woolsack, promptly supported the Bill; and Henry Dundas, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, lamented that it would afford no relief to his own country. These Acts did not affect Scotland, as they had been passed before the union; but Scotland had a similar Act passed by its own Parliament, and he promised to move for the repeal of this Scottish Act in the next Session. In the Commons there was an almost total unanimity on the subject; and in the Lords, the Bishop of Peterborough was nearly the only person who strongly opposed it. He asked that if, as it was argued, these Acts were a dead letter, why disturb the dead?

THE MARQUIS OF ANGLESEY. (After the Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence.)


Soon after appeared his twelve plates of "Industry and Idleness," and in 1753 he published a work called "The Analysis of Beauty," in which he attempted to prove that the foundation of beauty and grace consists in a flowing serpentine line. He gave numerous examples of it, and supported his theory with much ingenious argument. The book brought down upon him a perfect tempest of critical abuse from his envious and enraged contemporaries. In 1757 he visited France, and being engaged in sketching in Calais, he was seized and underwent very rough treatment from "the politest nation in the world," under an impression that he was employed by the English government to make drawings of the fortifications. This adventure he has commemorated in his picture of "Calais Gate." In the following year he painted his "Sigismunda."

Lord Fitzgerald, a pension and peerage.

At this juncture Napoleon proceeded to set all Europe against him. A conspiracy had been set on foot against his Government by the Royalists, notably by one Lajolais, who had formerly fought under Pichegru, and in 1794 had assisted him in his intrigues with the Bourbon princes. On arriving in London he had interviews with Pichegru, Georges Cadoudal, the Chouan chief, the Polignacs, the Count d'Artois, the Duke of Berry, etc., and assured them that such was the feeling against Buonaparte in France, that it only needed the appearance of the Royalist leaders, and their forming a league with Moreau, the victor of Hohenlinden, whom he truly represented as greatly disgusted with Buonaparte, to produce a revolution and crush the aspiring First Consul. The statements of Lajolais were listened to, and a vessel, under the command of Captain John Wesley Wright, was despatched to the coast of Brittany, with General Georges Cadoudal, the Marquis de la Rivire, the brothers Armand and Jules Polignac, and some others, whom he put safely ashore in the autumn of 1803. Pichegru, Georges Cadoudal, the Polignacs, de la Rivire, and the rest of the Royalists, about thirty in[497] number, had made their way to Paris, and were living there secretly, endeavouring to learn the real state of the public mind, and Pichegru and Cadoudal had been introduced to Moreau. Pichegru saw Moreau at least twice, and on one of these occasions he took with him Georges Cadoudal; but Moreau seemed taken by surprise by their communications with him, and was so horrified by the language and proposals of the daring Chouan, that he desired Pichegru not to bring that irrational savage again into his company. It appeared pretty clear that there was some mistake somewhere; and that Moreau, however much dissatisfied with Napoleon, was by no means disposed to enter into any Royalist conspiracy. Had the delegates found things ripe for such a revolution, they were to inform the Bourbon princes in London, and they were to make a strong descent on the coast of Brittany; but they all felt so satisfied that Lajolais had given them false information, that they were about to quit the capital, and to return to England, Captain Wright having been lingering with his frigate on the Breton coast for that purpose, when Fouch the Minister of Police, pounced upon them. He had been keeping a strict watch on all their movements; he had now established their intercourse with Moreau, and trusted to be able to make sufficient use of that fact to destroy both them and him. It was asserted, although there is no proof whatever of the fact, that the plan included the murder of the First Consul. Further, in order to bring odium upon England, Buonaparte succeeded, by means of his agents, in entrapping Messrs. Drake and Spencer Smith, our Ministers at the courts of Bavaria and Würtemberg, into consenting to the conspiracy. They knew nothing of the real plot, but being informed that a Royalist conspiracy was on foot, gave it a certain amount of countenance. Napoleon thereupon accused them of being accomplices in a diabolical plot to assassinate him, forced the Courts to which they were accredited to expel them, and circulated throughout Europe a violent attack on the British Government. In an exceedingly able and dignified reply Lord Hawkesbury pointed out that Britain was at war with France, and had a right, which she intended to use, to take advantage of the political situation in that country. Napoleon gained little by his Machiavellian man?uvre.