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The British during this year were engaged in a variety of enterprises, and in very different and distant parts of the world, with a success as various. The most remarkable undertaking was the defence of Lower Calabria, which showed what might be effected by British soldiers, if employed in sufficient numbers, and under able commanders. We have already sketched the attempt by a small Russian army and a smaller British one to support Ferdinand of Naples in his kingdom against the French. As General St. Cyr came back upon them, followed by Massena, with altogether sixty thousand men, the seven thousand of British and Russians were obliged to retreat, the Russians embarking for Corfu, and the British crossing over into Sicily, whither the Neapolitan Court had fled, taking up its residence at Palermo.

Prince Ferdinand this summer had to contend with numerous armies of the French. De Broglie marched from Frankfort into Hesse with a hundred thousand men. On the 10th of July they met the hereditary Prince of Brunswick at Corbach, and defeated him, though he gained a decided advantage over them a few days after at Emsdorf, taking the commander of the division and five battalions prisoners. This was followed by Ferdinand himself, who was at Warburg, where he took ten pieces of artillery, killed one thousand five hundred of the French, and drove them into the Dimel, where many were drowned. The British cavalry had the greatest share in this victory. In fact, the Marquis of Granby led them on all occasions with such spirit and bravery, that Ferdinand placed them continually in the post of danger, where of course they suffered more severely than the other troops. Opinions of the Irish Government on the Catholic QuestionRenewal of the Catholic Claims by BurdettVesey Fitzgerald accepts the Board of TradeO'Connell opposes him for ClareHis ReputationHis BackersFather Murphy's SpeechO'Connell to the FrontThe NominationO'Connell's SpeechThe ElectionReturn of O'ConnellAnglesey's PrecautionsPeel's Reflections on the Clare ElectionAnglesey describes the State of IrelandPeel wishes to resignThe Duke waversAnglesey urges ConcessionInsurrection probableWellington determines on RetreatWhy he and Peel did not resignThe Viceroy's OpinionMilitary Organisation of the PeasantryThe Brunswick ClubsPerplexity of the GovernmentO'Connell's "Moral Force"The Liberator ClubsDawson's Speech"No Popery" in EnglandThe Morpeth BanquetThe Leinster DeclarationWellington's Letter to Dr. CurtisAnglesey's Correspondence with O'ConnellThe Premier Censures the ViceroyAnglesey dismissedHe is succeeded by NorthumberlandDifficulties with the King and the English BishopsPeel determines to remainHis Views communicated to the KingThe King yieldsOpening of the SessionPeel defeated at Oxford UniversitySuppression of the Catholic AssociationThe Announcement in the King's SpeechPeel introduces the Relief BillArguments of the OppositionThe Bill passes the CommonsThe Duke's SpeechIt passes the Lords by large MajoritiesThe King withdraws his ConsentHe again yieldsHis Communication to EldonNumbers of the Catholics in BritainThe Duke's Duel with WinchilseaBill for the disfranchisement of "the Forties"O'Connell presents himself to be swornHe refuses to take the OathsHe is heard at the BarFresh Election for ClareO'Connell's new AgitationThe Roman Catholic HierarchyRiots in the Manufacturing DistrictsAttempt to mitigate the Game LawsAffairs of PortugalNegotiations with the CanningitesPitched Battles in IrelandMeeting of ParliamentDebate on the AddressBurdett's Attack on WellingtonThe Opposition proposes RetrenchmentsThe Duke's EconomiesProsecution of Mr. AlexanderIllness and Death of George IV. After the coronation, the queen resided at Brandenburgh House, determined to lead a life of dignified retirement. But the violent agitation and excitement, and the terribly painful mortification to which she was subjected in her ill-advised attempt to form part of the coronation pageant, were too much for her constitution. As soon as it was evident that her end was approaching, much public sympathy was excited, and the vicinity of her residence was incessantly thronged with persons of all classes making anxious inquiries about her health, and solicitous for her restoration. On the 4th of August, when her professional advisers were receiving instructions about the disposition of her property, one of them suggested the propriety of sending a messenger to Italy to seal up her papers, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of her enemies. "And what if they do?" she exclaimed; "I have no papers that they may not see. They can find nothing, because there is nothing, nor ever has been, to impeach my character." One of them said that he was aware of that, but her enemies might put there what they did not find. She replied, "I have always defied their malice, and I defy it still." Nevertheless, it was her conscious failure in her efforts to make the public believe this, coupled with the public humiliation to which she had been subjected, that bowed down her spirit at last, and gave the victory to her enemies. She had painted their characters in vivid colours in her private diary, and might have transmitted their punishment to posterity had she ordered it to be preserved and published; but she gave directions to have it destroyed, and it was burnt in her presence by one of her foreign maids. After suffering intensely for four or five days, she sank into a stupor, from which she never woke, and on the 7th of August, after an entire absence of sense and faculty for more than two hours, expired Caroline of Brunswick, Queen Consort of George IV., in the fifty-fourth year of her age. She had by her bedside in her last hours her faithful friends and constant attendants, Lord and Lady Hood, and Lady Anne Hamilton; Alderman Wood, who had been devoted to her interests from the first, was also present, as well as her legal and medical advisers.

Dr. Curtis, the Roman Catholic Primate, was an old friend of the Duke of Wellington, whom he had known during the war in the Peninsula, and with whom he had kept up a confidential correspondence on the subject of the Catholic claims, on the state of the country, on the disposition of the Roman Catholics in the army,[290] and other matters of the kind. On the 11th of December the Duke, in answer to a letter urging the prompt settlement of the Catholic question, wrote to Dr. Curtis as follows: "I have received your letter of the 4th instant, and I assure you that you do me justice in believing that I am sincerely anxious to witness the settlement of the Roman Catholic question, which, by benefiting the State, would confer a benefit on every individual belonging to it. But I confess that I see no prospect of such a settlement. Party has been mixed up with the consideration of the question to such a degree, and such violence pervades every discussion of it, that it is impossible to expect to prevail upon men to consider it dispassionately. If we could bury it in oblivion for a short time, and employ that time diligently in the consideration of its difficulties on all sides (for they are very great), I should not despair of seeing a satisfactory remedy." On the fifth night of the debate Sir Robert Peel rose to speak in defence of his policy against these attacks of his enemies. It was already ten o'clock, and the House listened to him for three hours. He spoke with remarkable warmth and energy, and overpowered his opponents with the unanswerable truths of political economy, and with humorous demonstrations of the fallacies in which the Protectionist speakers had indulged. In concluding he said, "This night is to decide between the policy of continued relaxation of restriction, or the return to restraint and prohibition. This night you will select the motto which is to indicate the commercial policy of England. Shall it be 'Advance!' or 'Recede'?" The division took place on the 27th (or rather on the 28th) of February, at twenty minutes to three in the morning, when the numbers for the motion were337; against it, 240; leaving a majority for going into committee of 97.

With "The Battle of the Books" appeared "The Tale of a Tub;" and though these were anonymous, it was soon well known that they were from the hand of Jonathan Swift, a friend of Harley and Bolingbroke, who now assumed a position in the public eye destined to be rendered yet more remarkable. Swift was of English parentage, but born in Dublin in 1667. He was educated at Kilkenny and the University of Dublin. In early life he became private secretary to Sir William Temple, and at this time he wrote his "Tale of a Tub," which cut off all his hopes of a bishopric. He edited a selection from the papers of Temple, and then accompanied Lord Berkeley to Ireland as chaplain. Disappointed of the preferment which he had hoped for, he went over from the Whigs to the Tories in 1710, and thenceforward was an unscrupulous adherent of Harley and Bolingbroke, defending all their measures in the "Examiner," and pouring out his vengeance on all opponents with unflinching truculence. In his political[148] character Swift has been styled the great blackguard of the age, and certainly with too much truth. In spite of rare intellectual power, wit, and sarcasm, no principle or tenderness of feeling restrained him in his attacks on his enemies. If Harley and Bolingbroke are guilty of inflicting the disgraceful peace of Utrecht on the nation, simply to avenge themselves on the Whigs, no man so thoroughly abetted them in that business as Swift. His "Conduct of the Allies," his "Public Spirit of the Whigs," and other political tracts and articles, bear testimony to his unscrupulous political rancour. His "Drapier's Letters," and his treatment of Wood in the affair of the Irish halfpence, show that no means, however base and false, came amiss to him in serving the objects of his ambition. The great work of Swift is his "Gulliver's Travels," a work characterised by a massive intellect and a fertile invention, but defiled by the grossness that was inseparable from his mind, and that equally pollutes his poems, in which there is much wit and humour, but not a trace of pathos or tenderness. There is none of that divine glow of love and human sympathy, mingled with the worship of beauty and truth, which courts our affections in the works of the greatest masters. When we are told that Swift's grossness is merely the grossness of the time, we point to "Robinson Crusoe," to "The Seasons" and "Castle of Indolence" of Thomson, and to the works of Addison, for the most admirable contrast. Swiftwho died in the famous year of the '45was one of the most vigorous writers of the age, but he was one of the most unamiable. He was the Mephistopheles of the eighteenth century.