English cookery, even in the greatest houses, had not yet been much affected by French art. The dinners were remarkably solid, hot, and stimulating. Mulligatawny and turtle soups came first, then at one end of the table was uncovered the familiar salmon, and at the other the turbot surrounded by smelts. Next came a saddle of mutton, or a joint of roast beef, and for the fourth course came fowls, tongue, and ham. French dishes were placed on the sideboard, but for a long time such weak culinary preparations were treated with contemptuous neglect. The boiled potato was then very popular, and vegetables generally were unaccompanied with sauce. The dessert, which was ordered from the confectioner's, was often very costly. The wines used at dinner were chiefly port, sherry, and hock. "A perpetual thirst seemed to come over people, both men and women," says Captain Gronow, "as soon as they had tasted their soup, as from that moment everybody was taking wine with everybody else till the close of the dinner, and such wine as produced that class of cordiality which frequently wanders into stupefaction. How this sort of eating and drinking ended was obvious from the prevalence of gout; and the necessity of every one making the pill-box a constant bedroom companion."

The debates were very animated, and excited the liveliest interest. The Bill was read the first time by a majority of five. On the 10th of May the House divided on the second reading, which was carried by a majority of twelve, the numbers being, for the Bill, two hundred and thirty-five; noes, two hundred and twenty-three. The exertions made to defeat this Bill were extraordinary. There were twenty-seven pairs of members who appeared in the House. The Duke of York canvassed against it in all directions with the utmost zeal and activity. It was felt that if it passed into law, the admission of Roman Catholics into the Lower House must follow as a matter of course. The Bill, however, was thrown out by the Lords.

Sir John Malcolm and Captain Grant pursued the fugitives along the banks of the Seepra, killing numbers, and seizing immense booty, including elephants and numerous camels. He left them no time to reassemble, but advanced rapidly on the capital of Holkar, joined by reinforcements from the Bombay army under Major-General Sir William Keir. Alarmed at this vigorous action, the Holkar Mahrattas hastily concluded peace, gave up all their forts, and placed their territories under British protection. Some Pathan chiefs attempted to resist, trusting to the defences of Rampoora; but General Brown soon stormed that place, and the whole country of the Holkar Mahrattas was reduced to obedience. No respite was granted to the Pindarrees. Cheetoo was followed from place to place by the Gujerat army under Sir William Keir, and sought refuge in vain amongst the hills and jungles of Malwa and along the Nerbudda. At length, in January, 1818, Cheetoo's last camp was surprised and cut to pieces. After seeking refuge amongst various tribes, Cheetoo was ultimately found in the jungle near the fort of Aseerghur, torn to pieces by a tiger, his horse grazing not far off, safe, and a bag on his saddle containing his remaining jewels and two hundred and fifty rupees. And thus ended the existence of the long formidable hosts of the Pindarrees.

[See larger version] The Duke produced a paper of his own, in which the three hypothetical causes of war were considered separately. He showed, "First, that an attack by Spain upon France was an occurrence beyond the range of human probability; next, that though, according to the usages of civilised nations, the persons of monarchs were held to be sacred, to extend a character of sanctity to those of other members of the Royal Family was a thing never before heard of in the history of the world; and lastly, that, till the Allies should be informed on sufficient authority that a plan for dethroning Ferdinand or changing the succession in Spain was actually in progress, to assume that such crimes might be perpetrated was to insult the whole Spanish nation. For his own part, he must decline to have any share in the transaction, or to deliver an opinion upon purely hypothetical cases further than thisthat if the independence of Spain were assailed without just cause, Great Britain would be no party to the proceeding."

Rodney, on reaching the West Indies, found, as we shall see, a combined fleet of French under the Count de Guichen, and of Spanish under Admiral Solano; but he could not bring them to an engagement, and, after a brief brush, they eventually eluded him, Solano taking refuge in Havana, and De Guichen convoying the home-bound merchant ships of France. Disappointed in his hopes[272] of a conflict with these foes, Rodney sailed for the North American coasts. Scarcely had he quitted the European waters, however, when the Spaniards took a severe revenge for his victory over them at St. Vincent. Florida Blanca, the Minister of Spain, learnt, through his spies in England, that the English East and West Indian traders were going out under a very foolishly feeble escortin fact, of only two ships of the line. Elated at the news, Florida Blanca collected every vessel that he could, and dispatched them, under Admirals Cordova and Gaston, to intercept this precious prize. The enterprise was most successful. The Spanish fleet lay in wait at the point where the East and West India vessels separate, off the Azores, captured sixty sail of merchantmen, and carried them safe into Cadiz. The two vessels of war escaped, but in the East Indiamen were eighteen hundred soldiers going out to reinforce the troops in the East.

It was arranged that the coronation should take place early in the summer of 1821, and the queen, who in the interval had received an annuity of 50,000, was resolved to claim the right of being crowned with the king. She could hardly have hoped to succeed in this, but her claims were put forth in a memorial complaining that directions had not been given for the coronation of the queen, as had been accustomed on like occasions, and stating that she claimed, as of right, to celebrate the ceremony of her royal coronation, and to preserve as well her Majesty's said right as the lawful right and inheritance of others of his Majesty's subjects. Her memorial was laid before the Privy Council, and the greatest interest was excited by its discussion. The records were brought from the Tower: the "Liber Regalis" and other ancient volumes. The doors continued closed, and strangers were not allowed to remain in the adjoining rooms and passages. The following official decision of the Privy Council was given after some delay:"The lords of the committee, in obedience to your Majesty's said order of reference, have heard her Majesty's Attorney- and Solicitor-General in support of her Majesty's said claim, and having also heard the observations of your Majesty's Attorney- and Solicitor-General thereupon, their lordships do agree humbly to report to your Majesty their opinions, that as it appears to them that the Queens Consort of this realm are not entitled of right to be crowned at any time, her Majesty the queen is not entitled as of right to be crowned at the time specified in her Majesty's memorials. His Majesty, having taken the said report into consideration, has been pleased, by and with the advice of the Privy Council, to approve thereof." The queen's subsequent applications, which included a letter to the king, were equally unsuccessful.

Mr. Peel publishes the letters that passed between him and Mr. Fitzgerald while the election was pending, and from these it would appear that the latter thought the contest would be violent and exasperated. After the fight was over, he said he had polled the gentry to a man, and all the fifty-pound freeholders. The organisation which had been shown was so complete and formidable that no man could contemplate without alarm what was to follow in that wretched country. Mr. Peel observes:"The last letter of Mr. Fitzgerald is especially worthy of remark. Can there be a doubt that the example of the county would have been all-powerful in the case of every future election in Ireland for those counties in which a Roman Catholic constituency preponderated? It is true that Mr. O'Connell was the most formidable competitor whom Mr. Fitzgerald could have encountered; it is possible that that which took place in Clare would not have taken place had[276] any other man than Mr. O'Connell been the candidate; but he must be blind, indeed, to the natural progress of events, and to the influence of example, in times of public excitement, on the feelings and passions of men, who could cherish the delusive hope that the instrument of political power, shivered to atoms in the county of Clare, would still be wielded with effect in Cork or Galway.

Meanwhile, the American emissaries were both busy and successful at the Court of France. Though the Government still professed most amicable relations towards Great Britain, it winked at the constant sale of the prizes taken by American privateers, or those who passed for such, in their ports. The Government had, as we have seen, supplied the insurgents with money and arms. It was now arranged between Silas Deane and the French Minister, Vergennes, that the supplies of arms and ammunition should be sent by way of the West Indies, and that Congress should remit payment in tobacco and other produce. The French Government supplied the American agents with money for their purchases of arms and necessary articles for the troops, also to be repaid in tobacco. Two of the ships sent off with such supplies were captured by the British men-of-war; but a third, loaded with arms, arrived safely. To procure the money which they could not draw from Europe, Congress made fresh issues of paper money, though what was already out was fearfully depreciated. They voted a loan also of five millions of dollars, at four per cent. interest. They authorised a lottery to raise a like sum, the prizes to be payable in loan-office certificates. These measures only precipitated the depreciation of the Government paper; people refused to take it; and Washington, to prevent the absolute starvation of the army, was endowed with the extraordinary power of compelling the acceptance of it, and of arresting and imprisoning all maligners of the credit of Congress. Congress went further, and passed a resolution that their bills ought to pass[237] current in all payments, trade, and dealings, and be deemed equal in value to the same sum in Spanish dollars; and that all persons refusing to take them should be considered enemies to the United States; and the local authorities were called upon to inflict forfeitures and other penalties on all such persons. Still further: the New York convention having laid before Congress their scheme for regulating the price of labour, produce, manufactured articles, and imported goods, it was adopted. But these arbitrary and unscientific measures the traders set at defiance, and the attempts to enforce them only aggravated the public distress. Loans came in slowly, the treasury ran low, the loan offices were overdrawn, and the issue of bills of credit was reluctantly recommenced; ten additional millions were speedily authorised, and as the issue increased, the depreciation naturally kept pace with it. The Commissioners in France were instructed to borrow money there, but the instructions were more easily given than executed.