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Beacon Lights of History, Volume IX by John Lord

Part 3 out of 4

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payment of his debts; they passed a law restoring to the former
proprietors the lands alienated to the State, and still unsold. They
brought to punishment the generals who had deserted to Napoleon during
the one hundred days of his renewed reign; they manifested the most
intense hostility to the regime which he had established. Indeed, all
classes joined in the chorus against the fallen Emperor, and attributed
to him alone the misfortunes of France. Vengeance, not now directed
against Royalists but against Republicans, was the universal cry; the
people demanded the heads of those who had been their idols. Everything
like admiration for Napoleon seemed to have passed away forever. The
violence of the Royalists for speedy vengeance on their old foes
surpassed the cries of the revolutionists in the Reign of Terror. France
was again convulsed with passions, which especially raged in the bosoms
of the Royalists. They shot Marshal Ney, the bravest of the brave, and
Colonel Labedoyen; they established courts-martial for political
offences; they passed a law against seditious cries and individual
liberty. There were massacres at Marseilles, and atrocities at Nismes;
the Catholics of the South persecuted the Protestants. The king himself
was almost the only man among his party that was inclined to moderation,
and he found a bitter opposition from the members of his own family.
Added to these discords, the finances were found to be in a most
disordered state, and the annual deficit was fifty or sixty millions.

All this was taking place while one hundred and fifty thousand foreign
soldiers were quartered in the towns and garrisons at the expense of the
government. The return of Napoleon had cost the lives of sixty thousand
Frenchmen and a thousand millions of francs, besides the indemnities,
which amounted to fifteen hundred millions more. No language of
denunciation could be stronger than that which went forth from the mouth
of the whole nation in view of Napoleon's selfishness and ambition. But
one voice was listened to, and that was the cry for vengeance; prudence,
moderation, and justice were alike disregarded. All attempts to stem the
tide of ultra-royalist violence were in vain. The king was obliged to
dismiss Talleyrand because he was not violent enough in his measures; at
the same time he was glad to get rid of his sagacious minister, being
jealous of his ascendency.

So the throne of Louis XVIII. was anything but a bed of roses, amid the
war of parties and the perils which surrounded it. All his tact was
required to steer the ship of state amidst the rocks and breakers. Most
of the troubles were centred in the mutual hostilities, jealousies, and
hatreds of the Royalists themselves, at the head of whom were the king's
brother the Comte d'Artois, and the Vicomte de Chateaubriand. So
vehement were the passions of the deputies, nearly all Royalists, that
the president of the Chamber, the excellent and talented Laine, was
publicly insulted in his chair by a violent member of the extreme Right;
and even Chateaubriand the king was obliged to deprive of his office on
account of the violence of his opinions in behalf of absolutism,--a
greater royalist than the king himself! The terrible reaction was forced
by the nation upon the sovereign, who was more liberal and humane than
the people.

Of course, in the embittered quarrels between the Royalists themselves,
nothing was done during the reign of Louis XVIII. toward useful and
needed reforms. The orators in the chambers did not discuss great ideas
of any kind, and inaugurated no grand movements, not even internal
improvements. The only subjects which occupied the chambers were
proscriptions, confiscations, grants to the royal family, the
restoration of the clergy to their old possessions, salaries to high
officials, the trials of State prisoners, conspiracies and crimes
against the government,--all of no sort of interest to us, and of no
historical importance.

In the meantime there assembled at Verona a Congress composed of nearly
all the sovereigns of Europe, with their representatives,--as brilliant
an assemblage as that at Vienna a few years before. It met not to put
down a great conqueror, but to suppress revolutionary ideas and
movements, which were beginning to break out in various countries in
Europe, especially in Italy and Spain. To this Congress was sent, as one
of the representatives of France, Chateaubriand, who on its assembling
was ambassador at London. He was, however, weary of English life and
society; he did not like the climate with its interminable fogs; he was
not received by the higher aristocracy with the cordiality he expected,
and seemed to be intimate with no one but Canning, whose conversion to
liberal views had not then taken place.

In France, the ministry of the Duc de Richelieu had been succeeded by
that of Villele as president of the Council, in which M. Matthieu de
Montmorency was minister of foreign affairs,--member of a most
illustrious house, and one of the finest characters that ever adorned an
exalted station. Between Montmorency and Chateaubriand there existed the
most intimate and affectionate friendship, and it was at the urgent
solicitation of the former that Chateaubriand was recalled from London
and sent with Montmorency to Verona, where he had a wider scope for
his ambition.

Chateaubriand was most graciously received by the Czar Alexander and by
Metternich, the latter at that time in the height of his power and
glory. Alexander flattered Chateaubriand as a hero of humanity and a
religious philosopher; while Metternich received him as the apostle of

The particular subject which occupied the attention of the Congress was,
whether the great Powers should intervene in the internal affairs of
Spain, then agitated by revolution. King Ferdinand, who was restored to
his throne after the forced abdication of Joseph Bonaparte, had broken
the Constitution of 1812, which he had sworn to defend, and outraged his
subjects by cruelties equalled only by those of that other Bourbon who
reigned at Naples. In consequence, his subjects had rebelled, and sought
to secure their liberties. This rebellion disturbed all Europe, and the
great Powers, with the exception of England,--ruled virtually by
Canning, the foreign minister,--resolved on an armed intervention to
suppress the popular revolution. Chateaubriand used all his influence in
favor of intervention; and so did Montmorency. They even exceeded the
instructions of the king and Villele the prime minister, who wished to
avoid a war with Spain; they acted as the representatives of the Holy
Alliance rather than as ambassadors of France. The Congress committed
Russia, Austria, and Prussia to hostile interference, in case the king
of France should be driven into war,--a course which Wellington
disapproved, and which he urged Louis XVIII. to refrain from. In
consequence, the French king temporized, dreading either to resist or to
submit to the ascendency of Russia, and dissatisfied with the course
his negotiators had taken at the Congress, especially his minister of
foreign affairs, on whom the responsibility lay. Montmorency accordingly
resigned, and Chateaubriand took his place; in consequence of which a
coolness sprung up between the two friends, who at the Congress had
equally advocated the same policy.

The discussions which ensued in the chambers whether or not France
should embark in a war with Spain,--in other words, whether she should
interfere with the domestic affairs of a foreign and independent
nation,--were the occasion of the first serious split among the
statesmen of France at this time. There was a party for war and a party
against it; at the head of the latter were men who afterward became
distinguished. There were bitter denunciations of the ministers; but the
war party headed by Chateaubriand prevailed, and the French ambassador
was recalled from Madrid, although war was not yet formally declared. In
the Chamber of Peers Talleyrand used his influence against the invasion
of Spain, foretelling the evils which would ultimately result, even as
he had cautioned Napoleon against the same thing. He told the chamber
that although the proposed invasion would be probably successful, it
would be a great mistake.

M. Mole, afterward so eminent as an orator, took the side of Talleyrand.
"Where are we going?" said he. "We are going to Madrid. Alas, we have
been there already! Will a revolution cease when the independence of
the people who are suffering from it is threatened? Have we not the
example of the French Revolution, which was invincible when its cause
became identical with that of our independence?" "This man," exclaimed
the king, "confirms me in the system of M. de Villele,--to temporize,
and avoid the war if it be possible."

Chateaubriand replied in an elaborate speech in favor of the war. From
his standpoint, his speech was masterly and unanswerable. It was a grand
consecutive argument, solid logic without sentimentalism. While he
admitted that, according to the principles laid down by the great
writers on international war, intervention could not generally be
defended, he yet maintained that there were exceptions to the rule, and
this was one of them; that the national safety was jeopardized by the
Spanish revolution; that England herself had intervened in the French
Revolution; that all the interests of France were compromised by the
successes of the Spanish revolutionists; that a moral contagion was
spreading even among the troops themselves; in fact, that there was no
security for the throne, or for the cause of religion and of public
order, unless the armies of France should restore Ferdinand, then a
virtual prisoner in his own palace, to the government he had inherited.

The war was decided upon, and the Duke of Angouleme, nephew of the king,
was sent across the Pyrenees with one hundred thousand troops to put
down the innumerable factions, and reseat Ferdinand. The Duke was
assisted, of course, by all the royalists of Spain, by all the clergy,
and by all conservative parties; and the conquest of the kingdom was
comparatively easy. The republican chiefs were taken and hanged,
including Diego, the ablest of them all. Ferdinand, delivered by foreign
armies, remounted his throne, forgot all his pledges, and reigned on the
most despotic principles, committing the most atrocious cruelties. The
successful general returned to France with great _eclat_, while the
government was pushed every day by the triumphant Royalists into
increased severity,--into measures which logically led, under Charles
X., to his expulsion from the throne, and the final defeat of the
principle of legitimacy itself,--another great step toward republican
institutions, which were finally destined to triumph.

Among the extreme measures was the Septennial Bill, which passed both
houses against the protest of liberal members, some of whom afterward
became famous,--such as General Foy, General Sebastiani, Dupont (de
l'Eure), Casimir Perier, Lafitte, Lanjuinais. This law was a _coup
d'etat_ against electoral opinions and representative government. It
gave the king and his government the advantage of fixing for seven
years longer the majority which was secured by the elections of 1822,
and of closing the Chamber against a modification of public opinions.
Villele and Chateaubriand were the authors of this act.

Another bill was proposed by Villele, not so objectionable, which was to
reduce the interest on the loans contracted by the State; in other
words, to borrow money at less interest and pay off the old debts,--a
salutary financial measure adopted in England, and later by the United
States after the Civil War. But this measure was bitterly opposed by the
clergy, who looked upon it as a reduction of their incomes. Here
Chateaubriand virtually abandoned the government, in his uniform support
of the temporalities of the Church; and the measure failed; which so
deeply exasperated both the king and the prime minister that
Chateaubriand was dismissed from his office as minister of
foreign affairs.

The fallen minister angrily resented his disgrace, and thenceforward
secretly took part against the government, embarrassing it by his
articles in the journals of the day. He did not renounce his
conservative opinions; but he became the personal enemy of Villele.
Chateaubriand had no magnanimity. He retired to nurse his resentments in
the society of Madame Recamier, with whom he had formed a friendship
difficult to be distinguished from love. He had been always her devoted
admirer when she reigned a queen of society in the fashionable _salons_
of Paris, and continued his intimacy with her until his death. Daily did
he, when a broken old man, make his accustomed visit to her modest
apartments in the Convent of St. Joseph, and give vent to his melancholy
and morbid feelings. He regarded himself as the most injured man in
France. He became discontented with the Crown, and even with the
aristocracy. On the day of his retirement from the ministry the
intelligence of the Royalist party followed him in opposition to the
government, whose faults he had encouraged and shared. The "Journal des
Debats," the most influential newspaper in France, deserted Villele; and
from this defection may be dated, says Lamartine, "all those enmities
against the government of the Restoration which collected in one work of
aggression the most contradictory ideas, which alienated public opinion,
which exasperated the government and pushed it on from excesses to
insanity, irritated the tribune, blindfolded the elections, and finished
by changing, five years afterward, the opposition of nineteen votes
hostile to the Bourbons into a heterogeneous but formidable majority, in
presence of which the monarchy had only the choice left between a
humiliating resignation and a mortal _coup d'etat_."

Chateaubriand now disappears from the field of history as one of its
great figures. He lived henceforth in retirement, but bitter in his
opposition to the government of which he had been the virtual head,
contributing largely to the "Journal des Debats," of which he was the
life, and by which he was supported. In the next reign he refused the
office of Minister of Public Instruction as derogatory to his dignity,
but accepted the post of ambassador to Rome,--a sort of honorable exile.
But he was an unhappy and disappointed man; he had taken the wrong side
in politics, and probably saw his errors. His genius, if it had been
directed to secure constitutional liberty, would have made him a
national idol, for he lived to see the dethronement of Louis Philippe in
1848; but like Castlereagh in England, he threw his superb talents in
with the sinking cause of absolutism, and was after all a political
failure. He lives only as a literary man,--one of the most eloquent
poets of his day, one of the lights of that splendid constellation of
literary geniuses that arose on the fall of Napoleon.

Soon after the retirement of Chateaubriand, Louis XVIII. himself died,
at an advanced age, having contrived to preserve his throne by
moderation and honesty. In his latter days he was exceedingly infirm in
body, but preserved his intellectual faculties to the last. He was a
lonely old man, even while surrounded by a splendid court. He wanted
somebody to love, at least to cheer him in his isolation; for he had no
peace in his family, deeply as he was attached to its members. He
himself had discovered the virtues and disinterestedness of his minister
Decazes, and when his family and ministers drove away this favorite, the
king was devoted to him even in disgrace, and made him his companion.
Still later he found a substitute in Madame du Caylus,--one of those
interesting and accomplished women peculiar to France. She was not
ambitious of ruling the king, as her aunt, Madame de Maintenon, was of
governing Louis XIV., and her virtue was unimpeachable. She wrote to the
king letters twice a day, but visited him only once a week. She was the
tool of a cabal, rather than the leader of a court; but her influence
was healthy, ennobling, and religious. Louis XVIII. was not what would
be called a religious man; he performed his religious duties regularly,
but in a perfunctory manner. He was not, however, a hypocrite or a
pharisee, but was simply indifferent to religious dogmas, and secretly
averse to the society of priests. When he was dying, it was with great
difficulty that he could be made to receive extreme unction. He died
without pain, recommending to his brother, who was to succeed him, to
observe the charter of French liberties, yet fearing that his blind
bigotry would be the ruin of the family and the throne, as events
proved. The last things to which the dying king clung were pomps and
ceremonies, concealing even from courtiers his failing strength, and
going through the mockery of dress and court etiquette to almost the
very day of his death, in 1824.

The Comte d'Artois, now Charles X., ascended the throne, with the usual
promises to respect the liberties of the nation, which his brother had
conscientiously maintained. Unfortunately Charles's intellect was weak
and his conscience perverted; he was a narrow-minded, bigoted sovereign,
ruled by priests and ultra-royalists, who magnified his prerogatives,
appealed to his prejudices, and flattered his vanity. He was not cruel
and blood-thirsty,--he was even kind and amiable; but he was a fool, who
could not comprehend the conditions by which only he could reign in
safety; who could not understand the spirit of the times, or appreciate
the difficulties with which he had to contend.

What was to be expected of such a monarch but continual blunders,
encroachments, and follies verging upon crimes? The nation cared nothing
for his hunting-parties, his pleasures, and his attachment to mediaeval
ceremonies; but it did care for its own rights and liberties, purchased
so dearly and guarded so zealously; and when these were gradually
attacked by a man who felt himself to be delegated from God with
unlimited powers to rule, not according to laws but according to his
caprices and royal will, then the ferment began,--first in the
legislative assemblies, then extending to journalists, who controlled
public opinion, and finally to the discontented, enraged, and
disappointed people. The throne was undermined, and there was no power
in France to prevent the inevitable catastrophe. In Russia, Prussia, and
Austria an overwhelming army, bound together by the mechanism which
absolutism for centuries had perfected, could repress disorder; but in a
country where the army was comparatively small, enlightened by the ideas
of the Revolution and fraternizing with the people, this was not
possible. A Napoleon, with devoted and disciplined troops, might have
crushed his foes and reigned supreme; but a weak and foolish monarch,
with a disaffected and scattered army, with ministers who provoked all
the hatreds and violent passions of legislators, editors, and people
alike, was powerless to resist or overcome.

The short reign of Charles X. was not marked by a single event of
historical importance, except the conquest of Algiers; and that was
undertaken by the government to gain military _eclat_,--in other words,
popularity,--and this at the very time it was imposing restrictions on
the Press. There were during this reign no reforms, no public
improvements, no measures of relief for the poor, no stimulus to new
industries, no public encouragement of art or literature, no triumphs of
architectural skill; nothing to record but the strife of political
parties, and a systematic encroachment by the government on electoral
rights, on legislative freedom, on the liberty of the Press. There was a
senseless return to mediaeval superstitions and cruelties, all to please
the most narrow and intolerant class of men who ever traded on the
exploded traditions of the past. The Jesuits returned to promulgate
their sophistries and to impose their despotic yoke; the halls of
justice were presided over by the tools of arbitrary power; great
offices were given to the most obsequious slaves of royalty, without
regard to abilities or fitness. There was not indeed the tyranny of
Spain or Naples or Austria; but everything indicated a movement toward
it. Those six years which comprised the reign of Charles X. were a
period of reaction,--a return to the Middle Ages in both State and
Church, a withering blast on all noble aspirations. Even the prime
minister Villele, a legitimatist and an ultra-royalist, was too liberal
for the king; and he was dismissed to make room for Martignac, and he
again for Polignac, who had neither foresight nor prudence nor ability.
The generals of the republic and of the empire were removed from active
service. An indemnity of a thousand millions was given by an obsequious
legislature to the men who had emigrated during the Revolution,--a
generous thing to do, but a premium on cowardice and want of patriotism.
A base concession was made to the sacerdotal party, by making it a
capital offence to profane the sacred vessels of the churches or the
consecrated wafer; thus putting the power of life and death into the
hands of the clergy, not for crimes against society but for an insult to
the religion of the Middle Ages.

But the laws passed against the Press were the most irritating of all.
The Press had become a power which it was dangerous to trifle with,--the
one thing in modern times which affords the greatest protection to
liberty, which is most hated by despots and valued by enlightened minds.
A universal clamor was raised against this return to barbarism, this
extinction of light in favor of darkness, this discarding of the
national reason. Royalists and liberals alike denounced this culminating
act of high treason against the majesty of the human mind, this
death-blow to civilization. Chateaubriand, Royer-Collard, Dupont (de
l'Eure), even Labourdonnais, predicted its fatal consequences; and their
impassioned eloquence from the tribune became in a few days the public
opinion of the nation, and the king in his infatuation saw no remedy for
his increasing unpopularity but in dissolving the Chamber of Deputies
and ordering a new election,--the blindest thing he could possibly do.
It was now seen that he was determined to rule in utter defiance of the
charter he had sworn to defend, and on the principles of undisguised
absolutism. All parties now coalesced against the king and his
ministers. The king then began to tamper with the military in order to
establish by violence the old regime. It was found difficult to fill
ministerial appointments, as everybody felt that the ship of State was
drifting upon the rocks. The king even determined to dissolve the new
Chamber of Deputies before it met, the elections having pronounced
emphatically against his government.

At last the passions of the people became excited, and daily increased
in violence. Then came resistance to the officers of the law; then
riots, then barricades, then the occupation of the Tuileries, then
ineffectual attempts of the military to preserve order and restrain the
violence of the people. Marshal Marmont, with only twelve thousand
troops, was powerless against a great city in arms. The king thinking it
was only an _emeute,_ to be easily put down, withdrew to St. Cloud; and
there he spent his time in playing whist, as Nero fiddled over burning
Rome, until at last aroused by the vengeance of the whole nation, he
made his escape to England, to rust in the old palace of the kings of
Scotland, and to meditate over his kingly follies, as Napoleon meditated
over his mistakes in the island of St. Helena.

Thus closed the third act in the mighty drama which France played for
one hundred years: the first act revealing the passions of the
Revolution; the second, the abominations of military despotism; the
third, the reaction toward the absolutism of the old regime and its
final downfall. Two more acts are to be presented,--the perfidy and
selfishness of Louis Philippe, and the usurpation of Louis Napoleon; but
these must be deferred until in our course of lectures we have
considered the reaction of liberal sentiments in England during the
ministries of Castlereagh, Canning, and Lord Liverpool, when the Tories
resigned, as Metternich did in Vienna.

Yet the reign of the Bourbons, while undistinguished by great events,
was not fruitless in great men. On the fall of Napoleon, a crowd of
authors, editors, orators, and statesmen issued from their retreats, and
attracted notice by the brilliancy of their writings and speeches.
Crushed or banished by the iron despotism of Napoleon, who hated
literary genius, they now became a new power in France,--not to
propagate infidel sentiments and revolutionary theories, but to awaken
the nation to a sense of intellectual dignity and to maturer views of
government; to give a new impulse to literature, art, and science, and
to show how impossible it is to extinguish the fires of liberty when
once kindled in the breasts of patriots, or to put a stop to the
progress of the human mind among an excitable, intelligent, though
fickle people, craving with passionate earnestness both popular rights
and constitutional government in accordance with those laws of progress
which form the basis of true civilization.

There was Count Joseph de Maistre,--a royalist indeed, but who
propounded great truths mixed with great paradoxes; believing all he
said, seeking to restore the authority of divine revelation in a world
distracted by scepticism, grand and eloquent in style, and astonishing
the infidels as much as he charmed the religious.

Associated with him in friendship and in letters was the Abbe de
Lamennais, a young priest of Brittany, brought up amid its wilds in
silent reverence and awe, yet with the passions of a revolutionary
orator, logical as Bossuet, invoking young men, not to the worship of
mediaeval dogmas, but to the shrine of reason allied with faith.

Of another school was Cousin, the modern Plato, combating the
materialism of the eighteenth century with mystic eloquence, and drawing
around him, in his chair of philosophy at the Sorbonne, a crowd of
enthusiastic young men, which reminded one of Abelard among his pupils
in the infant university of Paris. Cousin elevated the soul while he
intoxicated the mind, and created a spirit of inquiry which was felt
wherever philosophy was recognized as one of the most ennobling studies
that can dignify the human intellect.

In history, both Guizot and Thiers had already become distinguished
before they were engrossed in politics. Augustin Thierry described, with
romantic fascination, the exploits of the Normans; Michaud brought out
his Crusades, Barante his Chronicles, Sismondi his Italian Republics,
Michelet his lively conception of France in the Middle Ages, Capefigue
the Life of Louis XIV., and Lamartine his poetical paintings of the
Girondists. All these masterpieces gave a new interest to historical
studies, infusing into history life and originality,--not as a barren
collection of annals and names, in which pedantry passes for learning,
and uninteresting details for accuracy and scholarship. In that
inglorious period more first-class histories were produced in France
than have appeared in England during the long reign of Queen Victoria,
where only three or four historians have reached the level of any one of
those I have mentioned, in genius or eloquence.

Another set of men created journalism as the expression of public
opinion, and as a lever to overturn an obstinate despotism built up on
the superstitions and dogmas of the Middle Ages. A few young men, almost
unknown to fame, with remorseless logic and fiery eloquence overturned a
throne, and established the Press as a power that proved irresistible,
driving the priests of absolutism back into the shadows of eternal
night, and making reason the guide and glory of mankind. Among these
were the disappointed and embittered Chateaubriand, who almost redeemed
his devotion to the royal cause by those elegant essays which recalled
the eloquence of his early life. Villemain wrote for the "Moniteur,"
Royer--Collard and Guizot for the "Courier," with all the haughtiness
and disdain which marked the Doctrinaire or Constitutional school;
Etienne and Pages for the "Constitutionel," ridiculing the excesses of
the ultra-royalists, the pretensions of the clergy, and the follies of
the court; De Genoude for the "Gazette de France," and Thiers for the

In the realm of science Arago explored the wonders of the heavens, and
Cuvier penetrated the secrets of the earth. In poetry only two names are
prominent,--Delille and Beranger; but the French are not a poetical
nation. Most of the great writers of France wrote in prose, and for
style they have never been surpassed. If the poets were few after the
Restoration, the novelists were many, with transcendent excellences and
transcendent faults, reaching the heart by their pathos, insulting the
reason by their exaggerations, captivating the imagination while
shocking the moral sense; painting manners and dissecting passions with
powerful, acute, and vivid touch. Such were Victor Hugo, Eugene Sue, and
Alexandre Dumas, whose creations interested all classes alike, not
merely in France, but throughout the world.

The dignity of intellect amid political degradation was never more
strikingly displayed than by those orators who arose during the reign of
the Bourbons. The intrepid Manuel uttering his protests against royal
encroachments, in a chamber of Royalists all heated by passions and
prejudices; Laine and De Serres, pathetic and patriotic; Guizot, De
Broglie, and De St. Aulaire, learned and profound; Royer-Collard,
religious, disdainful, majestic; General Foy, disinterested and
incorruptible; Lafitte, the banker; Benjamin Constant, the philosopher;
Berryer, the lawyer; Chateaubriand, the poet, most eloquent of
all,--these and a host of others (some liberal, some conservative, all
able) showed that genius was not extinguished amid all the attempts of
absolutism to suppress it. It is true that none of these orators arose
to supreme power, and that they were not equal to Mirabeau and other
great lights in the Revolutionary period. They were comparatively
inexperienced in parliamentary business, and were watched and fettered
by a hostile government, and could not give full scope to their
indignant eloquence without personal peril. Nor did momentous questions
of reform come before them for debate, as was the case in England during
the agitation on the Reform Bill. They did little more than show the
spirit that was in them, which under more favorable circumstances would
arouse the nation.

There was one more power which should be mentioned in connection with
that period of torpor and reaction, and that was the influence of the
_salons_. To these all the bright intellects of Paris resorted, and gave
full vent to their opinions,--artists, scholars, statesmen, journalists,
men of science, and brilliant women, in short, whoever was distinguished
in any particular sphere; and these composed what is called society, a
tremendous lever in fashionable life. In the _salons_ of Madame de
Stael, of the Duchesse de Duras, of the Duchesse de Broglie, of Madame
de St. Aulaire, and of Madame de Montcalm, all parties were represented,
and all subjects were freely discussed. Here Sainte-Beuve discoursed
with those whom he was afterward to criticise; here Talleyrand uttered
his concise and emphatic sentences; here Lafayette won hearts by his
courteous manners and amiable disposition; here Guizot prepared himself
for the tribune and the Press; here Villemain, with proud indifference,
broached his careless scepticism; here Montlosier blended aristocratical
paradoxes with democratic theories. All these great men, and a host of
others,--Beranger, Constant, Etienne, Lamartine, Pasquier, Mounier,
Mole, De Neuville, Laine, Barante, Cousin, Sismondi,--freely exchanged
opinions, and rested from their labors; a group of geniuses worth more
than armies in the great contests between Liberty and Absolutism.

And here it may be said that these kings and queens of society
represented not material interests,--not commerce, not manufactures, not
stocks, not capital, not railways, not trade, not industrial
exhibitions, not armies and navies, but ideas, those invisible agencies
which shake thrones and make revolutions, and lift the soul above that
which is transient to that which is permanent,--to religion, to
philosophy, to art, to poetry, to the glories of home, to the certitudes
of friendship, to the benedictions of heaven; which may exist in all
their benign beauty and power whatever be the form of government or the
inequality of condition, in cottage or palace, in plenty or in want,
among foes or friends,--creating that sublime rest where men may prepare
themselves for a future and imperishable existence.

Such was the other side of France during the reign of the Bourbons,--the
lights which burst through the gloomy shades of tyranny and
superstition, to alleviate sorrows and disappointed hopes,--the
resurrection of intellect from the grave of despair.


The History of the Restoration by Lamartine is the most interesting work
I have read on the subject; but he is not regarded as a high authority.
Talleyrand's Memoirs, Memoires de Chateaubriand; Lacretelle, Capefigue,
Alison; Biographie Universelle, Memoires de Louis XVIII., Fyffe,
Mackenzie's History of the Nineteenth Century,--all are interesting, and
worthy of perusal.




Where an intelligent and cultivated though superficial traveller to
recount his impressions of England in 1815, when the Prince of Wales was
regent of the kingdom and Lord Liverpool was prime minister, he probably
would note his having been struck with the splendid life of the nobility
(all great landed proprietors) in their palaces at London, and in their
still more magnificent residences on their principal estates. He would
have seen a lavish if not an unbounded expenditure, emblazoned and
costly equipages, liveried servants without number, and all that wealth
could purchase in the adornment of their homes. He would have seen a
perpetual round of banquets, balls, concerts, receptions, and garden
parties, to which only the _elite_ of society were invited, all dressed
in the extreme of fashion, blazing with jewels, and radiant with the
smiles of prosperity. Among the lions of this gorgeous society he would
have seen the most distinguished statesmen of the day, chiefly peers of
the realm, with the blue ribbon across their shoulders, the diamond
garter below their knees, and the heraldic star upon their breasts.
Perhaps he might have met some rising orator, like Canning or Perceval,
whose speeches were in every mouth,--men destined to the highest
political honors, pets of highborn ladies for the brilliancy of their
genius, the silvery tones of their voices, and the courtly elegance of
their manners; Tories in their politics, and aristocrats in their

The traveller, if admitted as a stranger to these grand assemblages,
would have seen but few lawyers, except of the very highest distinction,
perhaps here and there a bishop or a dean with the paraphernalia of
clerical rank, but no physician, no artist, no man of science, no
millionaire banker, no poet, no scholar, unless his fame had gone out to
all the world. The brilliancy of the spectacle would have dazzled him,
and he would unhesitatingly have pronounced those titled men and women
to be the most fortunate, the most favored, and perhaps the most happy
of all people on the face of the globe, since, added to the distinctions
of rank and the pride of power, they had the means of purchasing all the
pleasures known to civilization, and--more than all--held a secure
social position, which no slander could reach and no hatred
could affect.

Or if he followed these magnates to their country estates after the
"season" had closed and Parliament was prorogued, he would have seen the
palaces of these lordly proprietors of innumerable acres filled with a
retinue of servants that would have called out the admiration of Cicero
or Crassus,--all in imposing liveries, but with cringing manners,--and a
crowd of aristocratic visitors, filling perhaps a hundred apartments,
spending their time according to their individual inclinations; some in
the magnificent library of the palace, some riding in the park, others
fox-hunting with the hounds or shooting hares and partridges, others
again flirting with ennuied ladies in the walks or boudoirs or gilded
drawing-rooms,--but all meeting at dinner, in full dress, in the carved
and decorated banqueting-hall, the sideboards of which groaned under the
load of gold and silver plate of the rarest patterns and most expensive
workmanship. Everywhere the eye would have rested on priceless pictures,
rare tapestries, bronze and marble ornaments, sumptuous sofas and
lounges, mirrors of Venetian glass, chandeliers, antique vases,
_bric-a-brac_ of every description brought from every corner of the
world. The conversation of these titled aristocrats,--most of them
educated at Oxford and Cambridge, cultivated by foreign travel, and
versed in the literature of the day,--though full of prejudices, was
generally interesting; while their manners, though cold and haughty,
were easy, polished, courteous, and dignified. It is true, most of them
would swear, and get drunk at their banquets; but their profanity was
conventional rather than blasphemous, and they seldom got drunk till
late in the evening, and then on wines older than their children, from
the most famous vineyards of Europe. During the day they were able to
attend to business, if they had any, and seldom drank anything stronger
than ale and beer. Their breakfasts were light and their lunches simple.
Living much in the open air, and fond of the pleasures of the chase,
they were generally healthy and robust. The prevailing disease which
crippled them was gout; but this was owing to champagne and burgundy
rather than to brandy and turtle-soups, for at that time no Englishman
of rank dreamed that he could dine without wine. William Pitt, it is
said, found less than three bottles insufficient for his dinner, when he
had been working hard.

Among them all there was great outward reverence for the Church, and few
missed its services on Sundays, or failed to attend family prayers in
their private chapels as conducted by their chaplains, among whom
probably not a Dissenter could be found in the whole realm. Both
Catholics and Dissenters were alike held in scornful contempt or
indifference, and had inferior social rank. On the whole, these
aristocrats were a decorous class of men, though narrow, bigoted,
reserved, and proud, devoted to pleasure, idle, extravagant, and callous
to the wrongs and miseries of the poor. They did not insult the people
by arrogance or contumely, like the old Roman nobles; but they were not
united to them by any other ties than such as a master would feel for
his slaves; and as slaves are obsequious to their masters, and sometimes
loyal, so the humbler classes (especially in the country) worshipped the
ground on which these magnates walked. "How courteous the nobles are!"
said a wealthy plebeian manufacturer to me once, at Manchester. "I was
to show my mill to Lord Ducie, and as my carriage drove up I was about
to mount the box with the coachman, but my lord most kindly told me
to jump in."

So much for the highest class of all in England, about the year 1815.
Suppose the attention of the traveller were now turned to the
legislative halls, in which public affairs were discussed, particularly
to the House of Commons, supposed to represent the nation. He would have
seen five or six hundred men, in plain attire, with their hats on,
listless and inattentive, except when one of their leaders was making a
telling speech against some measure proposed by the opposite party,--and
nearly all measures were party measures. Who were these favored
representatives? Nearly all of them were the sons or brothers or cousins
or political friends of the class to which I have just alluded, with
here and there a baronet or powerful county squire or eminent lawyer or
wealthy manufacturer or princely banker, but all with aristocratic
sympathies,--nearly all conservative, with a preponderance of Tories;
scarcely a man without independent means, indifferent to all questions
except such as affected party interests, and generally opposed to all
movements which had in view the welfare of the middle classes, to which
they could not be said to belong. They did not represent manufacturing
towns nor the shopkeepers, still less the people in their rugged
toils,--ignorant even when they could read and write. They represented
the great landed interests of the country for the most part, and
legislated for the interests of landlords and the gentry, the
Established Church and the aristocratic universities,--indeed, for the
wealthy and the great, not for the nation as a whole, except when great
public dangers were imminent.

At that time, however, the traveller would have heard the most
magnificent bursts of eloquence ever heard in Parliament,--speeches
which are immortal, classical, beautiful, and electrifying. On the front
benches was Canning, scarcely inferior to Pitt or Fox as an orator;
stately, sarcastic, witty, rhetorical, musical, as full of genius as an
egg is full of meat. There was Castlereagh,--not eloquent, but gifted,
the honored plenipotentiary and negotiator at the Congress of Vienna;
the friend of Metternich and the Czar Alexander; at that time perhaps
the most influential of the ministers of state, the incarnation of
aristocratic manners and ultra conservative principles. There was Peel,
just rising to fame and power; wealthy, proud, and aristocratic, as
conservative as Wellington himself, a Tory of the Tories. There were
Perceval, the future prime minister, great both as lawyer and statesman;
and Lord Palmerston, secretary of state for war. On the opposite benches
sat Lord John Russell, timidly maturing schemes for parliamentary
reform, lucid of thought, and in utterance clear as a bell. There, too,
sat Henry Brougham, not yet famous, but a giant in debate, and
overwhelming in his impetuous invectives. There were Romilly, the law
reformer, and Tierney, Plunkett, and Huskisson (all great orators), and
other eminent men whose names were on every tongue. The traveller,
entranced by the power and eloquence of these leaders, could scarcely
have failed to feel that the House of Commons was the most glorious
assembly on earth, the incarnation of the highest political wisdom, the
theatre and school of the noblest energies, worthy to instruct and guide
the English nation, or any other nation in the world.

From the legislature we follow our traveller to the Church,--the
Established Church of course, for non-conformist ministers, whatever
their learning and oratorical gifts, ranked scarcely above shopkeepers
and farmers, and were viewed by the aristocracy as leaders of sedition
rather than preachers of righteousness. The higher dignitaries of the
only church recognized by fashion and rank were peers of the realm,
presidents of colleges, dons in the universities, bishops with an income
of L10,000 a year or more, deans of cathedrals, prebendaries and
archdeacons, who wore a distinctive dress from the other clergy. I need
not say that they were the most aristocratic, cynical, bigoted, and
intolerant of all the upper ranks in the social scale, though it must be
confessed that they were generally men of learning and respectability,
more versed, however, in the classics of Greece and Rome than in Saint
Paul's epistles, and with greater sympathy for the rich than for the
poor, to whom the gospel was originally preached. The untitled clergy of
the Church in their rural homes,--for the country and not the city was
the paradise of rectors and curates, as of squires and men of
leisure,--were also for the most part classical scholars and gentlemen,
though some thought more of hunting and fishing than of the sermons they
were to preach on Sundays. Nothing to the eye of a cultivated traveller
was more fascinating than the homes of these country clergymen,
rectories and parsonages as they were called,--concealed amid
shrubberies, groves, and gardens, where flowers bloomed by the side of
the ivy and myrtle, ever green and flourishing. They were not large but
comfortable, abodes of plenty if not of luxury, freeholds which could
not be taken away, suggestive of rest and repose; for the favored
occupant of such a holding, supported by tithes, could neither be
ejected nor turned out of his "living," which he held for life, whether
he preached well or poorly, whether he visited his flock or buried
himself amid his books, whether he dined out with the squire or went up
to town for amusement, whether he played lawn tennis in the afternoon
with aristocratic ladies, or cards in the evening with gentlemen none
too sober. He had an average stipend of L200 a year, equal to L400 in
these times,--moderate, but sufficient for his own wants, if not for
those of his wife and daughters, who pined of course for a more exciting
life, and for richer dresses than he could afford to give them. His
sermons, it must be confessed, were not very instructive, suggestive, or
eloquent,--were, in fact, without point, delivered in a drawling
monotone; but then his hearers were not used to oratorical displays or
learned treatises in the pulpit, and were quite satisfied with the
glorious liturgy, if well intoned, and pious chants from surpliced
boys, if it happened to be a church rich and venerable in which they

Not less imposing and impressive than the Church would the traveller
have found the courts of law. The House of Lords was indeed, in a
general sense, a legislative assembly, where the peers deliberated on
the same subjects that occupied the attention of the Commons; but it was
also the supreme judicial tribunal of the realm,--a great court of
appeals of which only the law lords, ex-chancellors and judges, who were
peers, were the real members, presided over by the lord chancellor, who
also held court alone for the final decision of important equity
questions. The other courts of justice were held by twenty-four judges,
in different departments of the law, who presided in their scarlet robes
in Westminster Hall, and who also held assizes in the different counties
for the trial of criminals,--all men of great learning and personal
dignity, who were held in awe, since they were the representatives of
the king himself to decree judgments and punish offenders against the
law. Even those barristers who pleaded at these tribunals quailed before
the searching glance of these judges, who were the picked men of their
great profession, whom no sophistry could deceive and no rhetoric could
win,--men held in supreme honor for their exalted station as well as for
their force of character and acknowledged abilities. In no other
country were judges so well paid, so independent, so much feared, and so
deserving of honors and dignities. And in no other country were judges
armed with more power, nor were they more bland and courteous in their
manners and more just in their decisions. It was something to be a judge
in England.

Turning now from peers, legislators, judges, and bishops,--the men who
composed the governing class,--all equally aristocratic and exclusive,
let us with our traveller survey the middle class, who were neither rich
nor poor, living by trade, chiefly shopkeepers, with a sprinkling of
dissenting ministers, solicitors, surgeons, and manufacturers. Among
these, the observer is captivated by the richness and splendor of their
shops, over which were dark and dingy chambers used as residences by
their plebeian occupants, except such as were rented as lodgings to
visitors and men of means. These people of business were rarely
ambitious of social distinction, for that was beyond their reach; but
they lived comfortably, dined on roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on
Sunday, with tolerable sherry or port to wash it down, went to church or
chapel regularly in silk or broadcloth, were good citizens, had a horror
of bailiffs, could converse on what was going on in trade and even in
politics to a limited extent, and generally advocated progressive and
liberal sentiments,--unless some of their relatives were employed in
some way or other in noble houses, in which case their loyalty to the
crown and admiration of rank were excessive and amusing. They read good
books when they read at all, educated their children, some of whom
became governesses, travelled a little in the summer, were hospitable to
their limited circle of friends, were kind and obliging, put on no airs,
and were on the whole useful and worthy people, if we can not call them
"respectable members of society." They were, perhaps, the happiest and
most contented of all the various classes, since they were virtuous,
frugal, industrious, and thought more of duties than they did of
pleasures. These were the people who were soon to discuss rights rather
than duties, and whom the reform movement was to turn into political

Such was the bright side of the picture which a favored traveller would
have seen at the close of the Napoleonic wars,--on the whole, one of
external prosperity and grandeur, compared with most Continental
countries; an envied civilization, the boast of liberty, for there was
no regal despotism. The monarch could send no one to jail, or exile him,
or cut off his head, except in accordance with law; and the laws could
deprive no one of personal liberty without sufficient cause, determined
by judicial tribunals.

And yet this splendid exterior was deceptive. The traveller saw only
the rich or favored or well-to-do classes; there were toiling and
suffering millions whom he did not see. Although the laws were made to
favor the agricultural interests, yet there was distress among
agricultural laborers; and the dearer the price of corn,--that is, the
worse the harvests,--the more the landlords were enriched, and the more
wretched were those who raised the crops. In times of scarcity, when
harvests were poor, the quartern loaf sold sometimes for two shillings,
when the laborer could earn on an average only six or seven shillings a
week. Think of a family compelled to live on seven shillings a week,
with what the wife and children could additionally earn! There was rent
to pay, and coals and clothing to buy, to say nothing of a proper and
varied food supply; yet all that the family could possibly earn would
not pay for bread alone. And the condition of the laboring classes in
the mines and the mills was still worse; for not half of them could get
work at all, even at a shilling a day. The disbanding of half a million
of soldiers, without any settled occupation, filled every village and
hamlet with vagrants and vagabonds demoralized by war. During the war
with France there had been a demand for every sort of manufactures; but
the peace cut off this demand, and the factories were either closed or
were running on half-time. Then there was the dreadful burden of
taxation, direct and indirect, to pay the interest of a national debt
swelled to the enormous amount of L800,000,000, and to meet the current
expenses of the government, which were excessive and frequently
unnecessary,--such as sinecures, pensions, and grants to the royal
family. This debt pressed upon all classes alike, and prevented the use
of all those luxuries which we now regard as necessities,--like sugar,
tea, coffee, and even meat. There were import duties, almost
prohibitory, on many articles which few could do without, and worst of
all, on corn and all cereals. Without these it was possible for the
laboring class to live, even when they earned only a shilling a day; but
when these were retained to swell the income of that upper class whose
glories and luxuries I have already mentioned, there was inevitable

To any kind of popular sorrow and misery, however, the government seemed
indifferent; and this was followed of course by discontent and crime,
riots and incendiary conflagrations, murders and highway robberies,--an
incipient pandemonium, disgusting to see and horrible to think of. At
the best, what dens of misery and filth and disease were the quarters of
the poor, in city and country alike, especially in the coal districts
and in manufacturing towns. And when these pallid, half-starved miners
and operatives, begrimed with smoke and dirt, issued from their
infernal hovels and gathered in crowds, threatening all sorts of
violence, and dispersed only at the point of the bayonet, there was
something to call out fear as well as compassion from those who lived
upon their toils.

At last, good men became aroused at the injustice and wretchedness which
filled every corner of the land, and sent up their petitions to
Parliament for reform,--not for the mere alleviation of miseries, but
for a reform in representation, so that men might be sent as legislators
who would take some interest in the condition of the poor and oppressed.
Yet even to these petitions the aristocratic Commons paid but little
heed. The sigh of the mourner was unheard, and the tear of anguish was
unnoticed by those who lived in their lordly palaces. What was desperate
suffering and agitation for relief they called agrarian discontent and
revolutionary excess, to be put down by the most vigorous measures the
government could devise. _O tempora! O mores!_ the Roman orator
exclaimed in view of social evils which would bear no comparison with
those that afflicted a large majority of the human beings who struggled
for a miserable existence in the most lauded country in Europe. In their
despair, well might they exclaim, "Who shall deliver us from the body of
this death?"

I often wonder that the people of England were as patient and orderly
as they were, under such aggravated misfortunes. In France the oppressed
would probably have arisen in a burst of frenzy and wrath, and perhaps
have unseated the monarch on his throne. But the English mobs erected no
barricades, and used no other weapons than groans and expostulations.
They did not demand rights, but bread; they were not agitators, but
sufferers. Promises of relief disarmed them, and they sadly returned to
their wretched homes to see no radical improvement in their condition.
Their only remedy was patience, and patience without much hope. Nothing
could really relieve them but returning prosperity, and that depended
more on events which could not be foreseen than on legislation itself.

Such was the condition, in general terms, of high and low, rich and
poor, in England in the year 1815, and I have now to show what occupied
the attention of the government for the next fifteen years, during the
reign of George IV. as regent and as king. But first let us take a brief
review of the men prominent in the government.

Lord Liverpool was the prime minister of England for fifteen years, from
1812 (succeeding to Perceval upon the latter's assassination) to 1827.
He was a man of moderate abilities, but honest and patriotic; this chief
merit was in the tact by which he kept together a cabinet of
conflicting political sentiments; but he lived in comparatively quiet
times, when everybody wanted rest and repose, and when he had only to
combat domestic evils. The lord chancellor, Lord Eldon, had been seated
on the woolsack from nearly the beginning of the century, and was the
"keeper of the king's conscience" for twenty-five years, enjoying his
great office for a longer period than any other lord chancellor in
English history. He was doubtless a very great lawyer and a man of
remarkable sagacity and insight, but the narrowest and most bigoted of
all the great men who controlled the destinies of the nation. He
absolutely abhorred any change whatever and any kind of reform. He
adhered to what was already established, and _because_ it was
established; therefore he was a good churchman and a most reliable Tory.

The most powerful man in the cabinet at this time, holding the second
office in the government, that of foreign secretary, was Lord
Castlereagh,--no very great scholar or orator or man of business, but an
inveterate Tory, who played into the hands of all the despots of Europe,
and who made captive more powerful minds than his own by the elegance of
his manners, the charm of his conversation, and the intensity of his
convictions. William Pitt never showed greater sagacity than when he
bought the services of this gifted aristocrat (for he was then a Whig),
and introduced him into Parliament. He was the most prominent minister
of the crown until he died, directing foreign affairs with ability, but
in the wrong direction,--the friend and ally of Metternich,
Chateaubriand, Hardenberg, and the monarchs whom they represented.

But foremost in genius among the great statesmen of the day was George
Canning, who, however, did not reach the summit of his ambition until
the latter part of the reign of George IV. But after the death of
Castlereagh in 1822, he was the leading spirit of the cabinet, holding
the great office of foreign secretary, second in rank and power only to
that of the premier. Although a Tory,--the follower and disciple of
Pitt,--it was Canning who gave the first great blow to the narrow and
selfish conservatism which marked the government of his day, and entered
the first wedge which was to split the Tory ranks and inaugurate reform.
For this he acquired the greatest popularity that any statesman in
England ever enjoyed, if we except Fox and Pitt, and at the same time
incurred the bitterest wrath which the Metternichs of the world have
ever cherished toward the benefactors of mankind.

Canning was born in London, in the year 1770, in comparatively humble
life,--his father being a dissipated and broken-down barrister, and his
mother compelled by poverty to go upon the stage. But he had a wealthy
relative who took the care of his education. In 1788 he entered Christ
Church College, where he won the prize for the best Latin poem that
Oxford had ever produced. After he had graduated with distinguished
honors, he entered as a law student at Lincoln's Inn; but before he wore
the gown of a barrister Pitt had sought him out, as he had Castlereagh,
having heard of his talents in debating societies. Pitt secured him a
seat in Parliament, and Canning made his first speech on the 31st of
January, 1794. The aid which he brought to the ministry secured his
rapid advancement. In a year after his maiden speech he was made
under-secretary of state for foreign affairs, at the age of twenty-five.
On the death of Pitt, in 1806, when the Whigs for a short period came
into power, Canning was the recognized leader of the opposition; and in
1807, when the Tories returned to power, he became foreign secretary in
the ministry of the Duke of Portland, of which Mr. Perceval was the
leading member. It was then that Canning seized the Danish fleet at
Copenhagen, giving as his excuse for this bold and high-handed measure
that Napoleon would have taken it if he had not. It was through his
influence and that of Lord Castlereagh that Sir Arthur Wellesley,
afterward the Duke of Wellington, was sent to Spain to conduct the
Peninsular War.

On the retirement of the Duke of Portland as head of the government in
1809, Mr. Perceval became minister,--an event soon followed by the
insanity of George III. and the entrance of Robert Peel into the House
of Commons. In 1812 Mr. Perceval was assassinated, and the long ministry
of Lord Liverpool began, supported by all the eloquence and influence of
Canning, between whom and his chief a close friendship had existed since
their college days. The foreign secretaryship was offered to Canning;
but he, being comparatively poor, preferred the Lisbon embassy, on the
large salary of L14,000. In 1814 he became president of the Board of
Control, and remained in that office until he was appointed
governor-general of India. On the death of Castlereagh (1822) by his own
hand, Canning resumed the post of foreign secretary, and from that time
was the master spirit of the government, leader of the House of Commons,
the most powerful orator of his day, and the most popular man in
England. He had now become more liberal, showing a sympathy with reform,
acknowledging the independence of the South American colonies, and
virtually breaking up the Holy Alliance by his disapprobation of the
policy of the Congress of Vienna, which aimed at the total overthrow of
liberty in Europe, and which (under the guidance of Metternich and with
the support of Castlereagh) had already given Norway to Sweden, the
duchy of Genoa to Sardinia, restored to the Pope his ancient
possessions, and made Italy what it was before the French Revolution.
The most mischievous thing which the Holy Alliance had in view was
interference in the internal affairs of all the Continental States,
under the guise of religion. England, under the leadership of
Castlereagh, would have upheld this foreign interference of Russia,
Prussia, and Austria; but Canning withdrew England from this
intervention,--a great service to his country and to civilization. In
fact, the great principle of his political life was non-intervention in
the internal affairs of other nations. Hence he refused to join the
great Powers in re-seating the king of Spain on his throne, from which
that monarch had been temporarily ejected by a popular insurrection. But
for him, the great Powers might have united with Spain to recover her
lost possessions in South America. To him the peace of the world at that
critical period was mainly owing. In one of his most famous speeches he
closed with the oft-quoted sentence, "I called the New World into
existence to redress the balance of the Old."

Canning, like Peel,--and like Gladstone in our own time,--grew more and
more liberal as he advanced in years, in experience, and in power,
although he never left the Tory ranks. His commercial policy was
identical with that of his friend Huskisson, which was that commerce
flourished best when wholly unfettered by restrictions. He held that
protection, in the abstract, was unsound and unjust; and thus he opened
the way for free-trade,--the great boon which Sir Robert Peel gave to
the nation under the teachings of Cobden. He also was in favor of
Catholic emancipation and the repeal of the Test Act, which the Duke of
Wellington was compelled against his will ultimately to give to
the nation.

At the head of all this array of brilliant statesmen stood the king, or
in this case the regent, who was a man of very different character from
most of the ministers who served him.

It was in January, 1811, that the Prince of Wales became regent in
consequence of the insanity of his father, George III.; it was during
the Peninsular War, when Wellington, then Sir Arthur Wellesley, was
wearing out the French in Spain. But the reign of this prince as regent
is barren of great political movements. There is scarcely anything to
record but riots and discontent among the lower classes, and the
incendiary speeches and writings of demagogues. Measures of relief were
proposed in Parliament, also for parliamentary reform and the removal of
Catholic disabilities; but they were all alike opposed by the Tory
government, and came to nothing. Four years after the beginning of the
regency saw the overthrow of Napoleon, and the nation was so wearied of
war and all great political excitement that it had sunk to inglorious
repose. It was the period of reaction, of ultra conservatism, and hatred
of progressive and revolutionary ideas, when such men as Cobbett and
Hunt (Henry) were persecuted, fined, and imprisoned for their ideas.
Cobbett, the most popular writer of the day, was forced to fly to
America. Government was utterly intolerant of all political agitation,
which was chiefly confined to men without social position.

But of all the magnates who were opposed to reform, the prince regent
was the most obstinate. He was wholly devoted to pleasure. His court at
the Carleton palace was famous for the assemblage of wits and beauties
and dandies, reminding us of the epicureanism which marked Versailles
during the reign of Louis XV. It was the most scandalous period in
England since the times of Charles II. The life of the regent was a
perpetual scandal, especially in his heartless treatment of women, and
the disgraceful revels in which he indulged.

The companions of the prince were mostly dissipated and ennuied
courtiers, as impersonated in that incarnation of dandyism who went by
the name of Beau Brummell,--a contemptible character, who yet, it seems,
was the leader of fashion, especially in dress, of which the prince
himself was inordinately fond. This boon companion of royalty required
two different artists to make his gloves, and he went home after the
opera to change his cravat for succeeding parties. His impertinence and
audacity exceeded anything ever recorded of men of fashion,--as when he
requested his royal master to ring the bell. Nothing is more pitiable
than his miserable end, deserted by all his friends, a helpless idiot in
a lunatic asylum, having exhausted all his means. Lord Yarmouth,
afterward the Marquis of Hertford, infamous for his debaucheries and
extravagance, was another of the prince's companions in folly and
drunkenness. So was Lord Fife, who expended L80,000 on a dancer; and a
host of others, who had, however, that kind of wit which would "set the
table on a roar,"--but all gamblers, drunkards, and sensualists, who
gloried in the ruin of those women whom they had made victims of their

But I pass by the revelries and follies of "the first gentleman" in the
realm, as he was called, to allude to one event which has historical
importance, and which occupied the attention of the whole country,--and
that was the persecution of his wife, who was also his cousin, Caroline
Amelia Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Brunswick. He drove her from
the nuptial bed, and from his palace. He sought also to get a divorce,
which failed by reason of the transcendent talents and eloquence of
Brougham and Denman, eminent lawyers whom she employed in her defence,
and which brought them out prominently before the eyes of the
nation,--for the great career of Brougham, especially, began with the
trial of Caroline of Brunswick, the unhappy woman whom the Prince of
Wales married to get relief from his pecuniary necessities, and whom he
insulted as soon as he saw her, although she was a princess of
considerable accomplishments, and as amiable as she was beneficent. The
only palliation of his infamous treatment of this woman was that he
never loved her, and was even disgusted with her. No sooner was the
marriage solemnized, than she was treated on every occasion with studied
contumely, and scarcely had she recovered from illness incident to the
birth of the Princess Charlotte, when the "first gentleman of the age"
was pleased to intimate that it suited his disposition that they should
hereafter live apart. Never allowed to be crowned as queen, driven from
the shelter of her husband's roof, surrounded with spies, accused of
crimes of which there was no proof, even excluded from the public
prayers, and finally forced into exile, she sank under her accumulated
wrongs, and was carried off by a fatal illness at the age of

On the death of the old king in 1820, the Prince of Wales became George
IV., after having been regent for nine years. As he was inflexibly
opposed to all reforms, no great measures had been carried through
Parliament except from urgent necessity and fear of revolution. But the
State was being prepared for reforms in the next reign. In 1820 the
agitation, which finally ended in the Reform Bill, set in with great
earnestness. Henry Brougham had become a great power in the House of
Commons, and poured out the vials of his wrath on the Tory government.
Lord John Russell busily employed himself in forging the weapons by
which he, more than any other man, afterward broke the power of the
Tories. The voice of Wilberforce was also heard in demanding the
abolition of negro slavery. Romilly was advocating a reform in criminal
law. Macaulay was making those brilliant speeches which would have
elevated him to the highest rank among debaters had he not cherished
other ambitions.

The only things which stand out as memorable and of political importance
in this reign were a change in the foreign policy of England, the
discontents and agitations of the people, the removal of Catholic
disabilities, and the repeal of the Test Acts.

On the first I shall not dwell, since I have already alluded to it as
the great work of Canning. As foreign minister he divorced England from
the Holy Alliance, and insisted on maintaining non-intervention in the
internal affairs of other nations, and a peace policy which raised his
country to the highest pinnacle of power she ever attained, and brought
about a development of wealth and industry entirely unprecedented. Had
he lived he would have carried out those reforms that later were the
glory of Lord John Russell and Sir Robert Peel, for he was emancipated
from the ideas which made the Tories obnoxious. His spirit was liberal
and progressive, and hence he incurred bitter hostilities. The
government, however, could not be carried on without him, and the king
was forced unwillingly to accept him as minister. His magnificent
services as foreign secretary had mollified the hostilities of George
IV., who became anxious to retain him in power at the head of the
foreign department, after the retirement of Lord Liverpool. But Canning
felt that the premiership was his due, and would accept nothing short of
it, and the king was forced to give it to him in spite of the howl of
the Tory leaders. He enjoyed that dignity, however, but two months,
being worn out with labors, and embittered by the hostilities of his
political enemies, who hounded him to death with the most cruel and
unrelenting hatred. His sensitive and proud nature could not stand
before such unjust attacks and savage calumnies. He rapidly sank, in the
prime of his life and in the height of his fame. Canning's death in 1827
was a marked event in the reign of George IV.; it filled England with
mourning, and never was grief for a departed statesman more sincere and
profound. He was buried with great pomp in Westminster Abbey. The
sculptor Chantry was intrusted with the execution of his statue,--a
memorial which he did not need, for his fame is imperishable. The day
after the funeral his wife was made a peeress, an annuity was granted to
his sons, and every honor that it was possible for a grateful nation to
bestow was lavished on his memory.

Canning left only L20,000,--a less sum than he had received from his
wife upon his marriage. His domestic life was singularly happy. He was
also happy in the brilliant promises of his sons, one of whom became
governor-general of India, and was created a peer for his services. His
only daughter married the Marquis of Clanricarde. His children thus
entered the ranks of the nobility,--a distinction which he himself did
not covet. It was his chief ambition to rule the nation through the
House of Commons.

Some authorities have regarded Canning as the greatest of English
parliamentary orators; but his speeches to me are disappointing,
although elaborate, argumentative, logical, and full of fancy and wit.
They were too rhetorical to suit the taste of Lord Brougham. Rhetorical
exhibitions, however brilliant, are not those which posterity most
highly value, and lose their charm when the occasions which produced
them have passed away. Canning's presence was commanding and dignified,
his articulation delicate and precise, his voice clear and musical;
while the curl of his lip and the glance of his eye would silence almost
any antagonist. In cabinet meetings he was habitually silent, having
already made up his mind. He could not gracefully bear contradiction,
and made many enemies by his pride and sarcasm. In private life he was
courteous and gentlemanly, fond of society, but fonder of domestic life,
pure in his moral character, devoted to his family,--especially to his
mother, whom he treated with extraordinary deference and affection.

The next subject of historical importance in the reign of George IV. was
the perpetual agitation among the people growing out of their misery and
discontent. There were no great insurrections to overturn the throne, as
in Spain and Italy and France; but there was a fierce demand for the
removal of evils which were intolerable; and this was manifested in
monster petitions to Parliament, in incendiary speeches like those made
by "Orator Hunt" and other agitators, in such political tracts as
Cobbett wrote and circulated in every corner of the land, in occasional
uprisings among agricultural laborers and factory operatives, in angry
mobs destroying private property,--all impelled by hunger and despair.
To these discontents and angry uprisings the government was haughty and
cold, looking upon them as revolutionary and dangerous, and putting them
down by sheriffs and soldiers, by coercion bills and the suspension
of the Act of _habeas corpus_. Some speeches were made in
Parliament in favor of education, and some efforts in behalf of law
reforms,--especially the removal of the death penalty for small
offences, more than two hundred of which were punishable with death.
Numerous were the instances where men and boys were condemned to the
gallows for stealing a coat or shooting a hare; but the sentences of
judges were often not enforced when unusually severe or unjust.
Moreover, large charities were voted for the poor, but without
materially relieving the general distress.

On the whole, however, the country increased in wealth and prosperity in
consequence of the long and uninterrupted peace; and the only great
drawback was the mercantile crisis of 1825, resulting from the mania of
speculation, and followed by the contraction of the currency,--the
effect of which was the failure of banks and the ruin of thousands who
had calculated on being suddenly enriched. Alison estimates the
shrinkage of property in Great Britain alone as at least L100,000,000.
Men worth L100,000 could not at one time raise L100. The banks were
utterly drained of gold and silver. Nothing prevented universal
bankruptcy but the issue of small bills by the Bank of England. There
was a lull of political excitement after the trial of Queen Caroline,
and Parliament confined itself chiefly to legal, economical, and
commercial questions; although occasionally there were grand debates on
the foreign policy, on Catholic emancipation, and on the
disfranchisement of corrupt boroughs. Ireland obtained considerable
parliamentary attention, owing to the failure of the potato crop and its
attendant agricultural distress, which produced a state bordering on
rebellion, and to the formation of the Catholic Association.

But the great event in the political history of England during the reign
of George IV. was unquestionably the removal of Catholic
disabilities,--ranking next in importance and interest with the Reform
Bill and the repeal of the Corn Laws. Catholic disability had existed
ever since the reign of Elizabeth, and was the standing injustice under
which Ireland labored. Catholic peers were not admitted to the House of
Lords, nor Catholics to a seat in the House of Commons,--which was a
condition of extremely unequal representation. In reality, only the
Protestants were represented in Parliament, and they composed only about
one tenth of the whole population.

In addition to this injustice, the Irish, who were mostly Roman
Catholics, were ground down by such oppressive laws that they were
really serfs to those landlords who owned the soil on which they toiled
for a mere pittance,--about fourpence a day,--resulting in a general
poverty such as has never before been seen in any European country, with
its attendant misery and crime. The miserable Irish peasantry lived in
mud huts or cabins, covered partially with thatch, but not enough to
keep out the rain. No furniture and no comforts were to be seen in these
huts. There were no chairs or tables, only a sort of dresser for laying
a plate upon; no cooking utensils but a cast-metal pot to boil
potatoes,--almost the only food. There were no bedsteads, and but few
blankets. The people slept in their clothes, the whole family generally
in one room,--the only room in the cabin. For fuel they burned peat. In
order to pay their rent, they sold their pigs. Beggars infested every
road and filled every village. No one was certain of employment, even at
twopence a day. Everybody was controlled by the priests, whose power
rested on their ability to stimulate religious fears, and who were
supported by such contributions as they were able to extort from the
superstitious and ignorant people,--by nature brave and generous and
joyous, but improvident and reckless. It was the wonder of O'Connell how
they could remain cheerful amid such privations and such wrongs, with
the government seemingly indifferent, with none to pity and few to help.
Nor could they vote for the candidates for any office whatever unless
they had freeholds, or life-rent possessions, for which they paid a rent
of forty shillings. The landlords of this wretched tenantry, unable to
face the misery they saw and which they could not relieve, or fearful of
assassination, left the country to spend their incomes in the great
cities of Europe, not being united with their people by any ties, social
or religious.

What wonder that such a wretched people, urged by the priests, should
form associations for their own relief, especially when famine pressed
and landlords exacted the uttermost farthing,--when the crimes to which
they were impelled by starvation were punished with the most inexorable
severity by Protestant magistrates in whose appointment they had
no hand!

The result was the rise of the Catholic Association, the declared object
of which was to forward petitions to Parliament, to support an
independent Press, to aid emigration to America,--all worthy, and
unobjectionable on the surface, but with the real intent (as affirmed by
the Tories and believed by a large majority of the nation) of securing
the control of elections, of bringing about the repeal of the Union with
England (which, enacted in 1801, had done away with the separate Irish
parliament), the resumption of the Church property by the Catholic
clergy, and the restoration of the Catholic faith as the dominant
religion of the land. Such an Association, embracing most of the Roman
Catholic population, was regarded with great alarm by the government;
and they determined to put it down as seditious and dangerous, against
the expostulation of such men as Brougham, Mackintosh, and Sir Henry
Parnell. Then arose the great figure of O'Connell in the history of
Ireland (whose eloquence, tact, and ability have no parallel in that
country of orators), defending the cause of his countrymen with masterly
power, leading them like a second Moses according to his will,--in fact,
uniting them in a movement which it was hopeless to oppose except with
an army bent on the depopulation of the country; so that George IV. is
reported to have said, with considerable bitterness, "Canning is king of
England, O'Connell is king of Ireland, and I am Dean of Windsor."

Such, however, was the hostility of Parliament to the Irish Catholics
that a bill was carried by a great majority in both Houses to suppress
the Association, supported powerfully by the Duke of York as well as by
the ministers of the crown, even by Canning himself and Sir Robert Peel.

Then followed renewed disturbances, riots, and murders; for the
condition of the Roman Catholics in Ireland was desperate as well as
gloomy. The Association was dissolved, for O'Connell would do nothing
unlawful; but a new one took its place, which preached peace and unity,
but which meant the repeal of the Union,--the grand object that from
first to last O'Connell had at heart. Of course, this scheme was utterly
impracticable without a revolution that would shake England to its
centre; but it was followed by an immense emigration to America,--so
great that the population of Ireland declined from eight and a half to
four and a half millions. The Irish Catholics, however, were
comparatively quiet during the administration of Mr. Canning, whose
liberal tendencies had given them hope; but on his death they became
more restive. The coalition ministry under Lord Goderich was much
embarrassed how to act, or was too feeble to act with vigor,--not for
want of individual abilities, but by reason of dissensions among the
ministers. It lasted only a short time, and was succeeded by that of the
Duke of Wellington, with Sir Robert Peel for his lieutenant; both of
whom had shown an intense prejudice and dislike of the Irish Catholics,
and had voted uniformly for their repression. On the return of the
Tories to power, the Irish disturbances were renewed and increased.
Hitherto the landlords had directed the votes of their tenantry,--the
forty-shilling freeholders; but now the elections were determined by the
direction of the Catholic Association, which was controlled by the
priests, and by O'Connell and his associates. In addition, O'Connell
himself was elected to represent in the English Parliament the County of
Clare, against the whole weight of the government,--which was a bitter
pill for the Tories to swallow, especially as the great agitator
declared his intention to take his seat without submitting to the
customary oath. It was in reality a defiance of the government, backed
by the whole Irish nation. The Catholics became so threatening, they
came together so often and in such enormous masses, that the nation was
thoroughly alarmed. The king and a majority of his ministers urged the
most violent coercive measures, even to the suspension of
_habeas corpus_.

O'Connell was not admitted to Parliament; but his case precipitated an
intense turmoil, which settled the question forever; for then the great
general who had defeated Napoleon, and was the idol of the nation,
seeing the difficulties of coercion as no other statesman did, and
influenced by Sir Robert Peel (for whom he had unbounded respect), made
one of his masterly retreats, by which he averted revolution and
bloodshed. Wellington hated the Catholics, and was a most loyal member
of the Church of England; moreover, he was a Tory and an
ultra-conservative. But at last even his eyes were opened, not to the
injustices and wrongs which ground Ireland to the dust, but to the
necessity of conciliation. Like Peel, he could face facts; and when his
path was clear he would walk therein, whatever kings or ministers or
peers or people might think or say. He resolved to emancipate the
Catholics, as Sir Robert Peel afterward repealed the Corn Laws, against
all his antecedents and affiliations and sympathies, and more than all
against the declared wishes and resolutions of the monarch whom he
nominally served, yet whom he controlled by his iron will. Sir Robert
Peel, as obstinate a Tory as his chief, had been for some time convinced
of the necessity of conciliation, and at once resigned his seat as the
representative of Oxford University, which he felt he could no longer
honorably hold. In March, 1829, he brought forward his bill for the
removal of Catholic disabilities, which was read the third time, and
passed the Commons by a majority of 178. In the House of Peers, it was
carried by a majority of 104,--so great was the influence of Wellington
and Peel, so impressed at last were both Houses of the necessity for
the measure.

The difficulty now was to obtain the signature of the king, although he
had promised it as the probable alternative of revolution,--a great
State necessity, which his ministers had made him at last perceive, but
to which he reluctantly yielded. He was somewhat in the position of Pope
Clement XIV. when obliged, against his will and against the interests of
the Catholic Church, to sign the bull for the revocation of the charter
of the Jesuits. _Compulsus feci! compulsus feci!_ he exclaimed, with
mental agony. George IV. could have said the same. He procrastinated; he
lay all day in bed to avoid seeing his ministers; he talked of his
feelings; he threatened to abdicate, and go to Hanover; he would not
violate his conscience; he would be faithful to the traditions of his
house and the memory of his father,--and so on, until the patience of
Wellington and Peel was exhausted, and they told him he must sign the
bill at once, or they would immediately resign. "The king could no
longer wriggle off the hook," and surrendered. O'Connell was instantly
re-elected, and took his seat in Parliament,--a position which he
occupied for the rest of his life. George IV. was the last of the
monarchs of England who attempted to rule by personal government.
Henceforward the monarch's duty was simply to register the decrees of

But the admission of Catholics to Parliament did not heal the disorders
of Ireland as had been hoped. The Irish clamored for still greater
privileges. The cry for repeal of the Union succeeded that for the
removal of disabilities. Their poverty and miseries remained, while
their monster meetings continued to shake the kingdom to its centre.

The historical importance of Catholic emancipation consists in
this,--that it was the first great victory over the aristocratic powers
of the empire, and was an entrance wedge to the reform of Parliament
effected in the next reign. It threw forty or fifty members of the House
of Commons into the ranks of opposition to the Tory side, which with a
few brief intervals had governed England for a century. "The reform
movement was the child of Catholic agitation; the anti-corn law league
that of the triumph of reform." Brougham was the legitimate successor of
O'Connell. A foresight of such consequences was the real cause of the
movement being so bitterly opposed by the king and Lord Eldon. It was
not jealousy of the Catholics that moved them,--that was only the
pretence; it was really fear of the blow aimed against Toryism. They had
sagacity enough to see the inevitable result,--the advancing power of
the Liberal party, and the impossibility of longer ruling the country
without ceding privileges to the people. The repeal of the Test Act by
the previous administration, which removed the disabilities of
Dissenters from the Established Church to hold public office, was only
another act in the great drama of national development which was to give
ascendency to the middle class in matters of legislation, rather than to
the favored classes who had hitherto ruled. The movement was political
and not religious, whatever might be the hatred of the Tories for both
Catholics and Dissenters.

Nothing further of political importance marked the administration of the
Duke of Wellington except the increasing agitations for parliamentary
reform, which will be hereafter considered. Wellington was elevated to
his exalted post from the influence and popularity which followed his
military achievements. His fame, like that of General Grant, rests on
his military and not on his civil services, although his great
experience as a diplomatist and general made him far from contemptible
as a statesman. It was his misfortune to hold the helm of state in
stormy times, amid riots, agitations, insurrections, and party
dissensions, amid famines and public distresses of every kind; when
England was going through a transition state, when there was every shade
of opinion among political leaders. The duke, like Canning before him,
was isolated, and felt the need of a friend. He was not like a
commander-in-chief surrounded with a band of devoted generals, but with
ministers held together by a rope of sand. He had no real colleagues in
his cabinet, and no party in the House of Commons. The chief troubles in
England were financial rather than political, and he had no head for
finance like Huskisson and Sir Robert Peel.

In the midst of the difficulties with which the great duke had to
contend, George IV. died, June 26, 1830. He was in his latter days a
great sufferer from the gout and other diseases brought about by the
debaucheries of his earlier days; and he was a disenchanted man, living
long enough to see how frail were the supports on which he had
leaned,--friends, pleasures, and exalted rank.

All authorities are agreed as to the character of George IV., though
some in their immeasurable contempt have painted him worse than he
really was, like Brougham and Thackeray. All are agreed that he was
selfish and pleasure-seeking in his ordinary life, though courteous in
his manners and kind to those who shared his revels. As dissipated
habits obtained the mastery over him, and the unbounded flattery of his
boon companions stultified his conscience, he became heartless and even
brutal. He was proud and overbearing; was fond of pomp and ceremony, and
ultra-conservative in all his political views. He was outrageously
extravagant and reckless in his expenditures, and then appealed to
Parliament to pay his debts. He liked to visit his favorites, and
received visits from them in return so long as his physical forces
remained; but when these were hopelessly undermined by self-indulgence,
he buried himself in his palaces, and rarely appeared in public. Indeed,
in his latter days he shunned the sight of the people altogether. His
character appears better in his letters than in the verdicts of
historians. Those written to his Chancellor Eldon, to the Duke of
Wellington, to Lord Liverpool, to Sir William Knighton, keeper of the
privy purse, and others, show great cordiality, frankness, and the utter
absence of the stiffness and pride incident to his high rank. They
abound in expressions of kindness and even affection, whether sincere or
not. They are all well written, and would do credit, from a literary
point of view, to any private person. His talents and conversation, his
wit and repartee, and his felicitous description of character are
undeniable. He is said to have had the talent of telling stories to
perfection. His powers of mimicry were remarkable, and he was fond of
singing songs at his banquets. Had he been simply a private person or an
ordinary nobleman, he would have been far from contemptible.

The latter days of George IV. were sad, and for a king he was left
comparatively alone. He had neither wife nor children to lean upon and
to cheer him,--only mercenary courtiers and physicians. His tastes were
refined, his manners affable, and his conversation interesting. He was
intelligent, sagacious, and well-informed; yet no English monarch was
ever more cordially despised. The governing principle of his life was a
love of ease and pleasure, which made him negligent of his duties; and
there never yet lived a man, however exalted his sphere, who had not
imperative duties to perform, without the performance of which his life
was a failure and a reproach. So it was with this unhappy king, who died
like Louis XV. without any one to mourn his departure; and a new king
reigned in his stead.

And yet the reign of the fourth George as king was marked by returning
national prosperity,--owing not to the efforts of statesmen and
legislators, but to the marvellous spread of commerce and manufactures,
resulting from the establishment of peace, thus opening a market for
British goods in all parts of the world.

This period of the fourth George's rule, as regent and king, was also
remarkable for the appearance of men of genius in all departments of
human thought and action. As the lights of a former generation sank
beneath the horizon, other stars arose of increased brilliancy. In
poetry alone, Byron, Scott, Rogers, Coleridge, Southey, Wordsworth,
Moore, Campbell, Keats, would have made the age illustrious,--a
constellation such as has not since appeared. In fiction, Sir Walter
Scott introduced a new era, soon followed by Bulwer, Dickens, and
Thackeray. In the law there were Brougham, Eldon, Lyndhurst,
Ellenborough, Denman, Plunkett, Erskine, Wetherell,--all men of the
first class. In medicine and surgery were Abernethy, Cooper, Holland. In
the Church were Parr, Clarke, Hampden, Scott, Sumner, Hall, Arnold,
Irving, Chalmers, Heber, Whately, Newman. Sir Humphry Davy was
presiding at the Royal Society, and Sir Thomas Lawrence at the Royal
Academy. Herschel was discovering planets. Bell was lecturing at the new
London University, and Dugald Stewart in the University of Edinburgh.
Captain Ross was exploring the Northern Seas, and Lander the wilds of
Africa. Lancaster was founding a new system of education; Bentham and
Ricardo were unravelling the tangled web of political economy; Hallam,
Lingard, Mitford, Mills, were writing history; Macaulay, Carlyle, Smith,
Lockhart, Jeffrey, Hazlitt, were giving a new stimulus to periodical
literature; while Miss Edgeworth, Jane Porter, Mrs. Hemans, were
entering the field of literature as critics, poets, and novelists,
instead of putting their inspired thoughts into letters, as bright women
did one hundred years before. Into everything there were found some to
cast their searching glances, creating an intellectual activity without
previous precedent, if we except the great theological discussions of
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Even shopkeepers began to read
and think, and in their dingy quarters were stirred to discuss their
rights; while William Cobbett aroused a still lower class to political
activity by his matchless style. All philanthropic, educational, and
religious movements received a wonderful stimulus; while improvements in
the use of steam, mechanical inventions, chemical developments and
scientific discoveries, were rapidly changing the whole material
condition of mankind.

In 1820, when the regent became George IV., a new era opened in English
history, most observable in those popular agitations which ushered in
reforms under his successor William IV. These it will be my object to
present in another volume.


Croly's Life of George IV.; Thackeray's Four Georges; Annual Register;
Life of the Duke of Wellington; Life of Canning; Life of Lord Liverpool;
Life of Lord Brougham; Miss Martineau's History of England; Life of
Mackintosh; Life of Sir Robert Peel; Alison's History of Europe; Life of
Lord Eldon; Life of O'Connell; Molesworth's History of England.



When Napoleon was sent to St. Helena, the European nations breathed more
freely, and it was the general expectation and desire that there would
be no more wars. The civilized world was weary of strife and
battlefields, and in the reaction which followed the general peace of
1815, the various States settled down into a state of dreamy repose. Not
only were they weary of war, but they hated the agitation of those ideas
which led to discontent and revolution. The policy of the governments of
England, France, Germany, and Russia was pacific and conservative. There
was a universal desire to recover wasted energies and develop national
resources. Visions of military glory passed away for a time with the
enjoyment of peace. Nations reflected on their follies, and resolved to
beat their swords into ploughshares.

Then began a period of philanthropy as well as of rest and reaction.
Societies were organized, especially in England, to spread the Bible in
all lands, to send missionaries to the heathen, and proclaim peace and
good-will to all mankind, A new era seemed to dawn upon the world,
marked by a desire to cultivate the arts, sciences, and literature; to
develop industries, and improve social conditions. War was seen to be
barbaric, demoralizing, and exhausting. Peace was hailed with an
enthusiasm scarcely less than that which for twenty years had created
military heroes. The Holy Alliance was not hypocritical. Although a
political compact made under a religious pretext, it was formed by
monarchs deeply impressed by the horrors of war, and by the necessity of
establishing a new basis for the happiness of mankind on the principles
of Christianity, when peace should be the law of nations; at the same
time it was formed no less to suppress those ideas which it was supposed
led logically to rebellions and revolutions, and to disturb the reign of
law, the security of established institutions, and the peaceful pursuit
of ordinary avocations. This was the view taken by the Czar Alexander,
by Frederick William of Prussia, by Francis I. of Austria, by Louis
XVIII. of France, as well as by leading statesmen like Talleyrand,
Nesselrode, Hardenberg, Chateaubriand, Metternich, Wellington, and

But these views were delusive. The world was simply weary of fighting;
it was not impressed with a sense of the wickedness, but only of the
inexpediency of war, except in case of great national dangers, or to
gain what is dearest to enlightened people,--personal liberty and
constitutional government.

Consequently, scarcely five years passed away after the fall of Napoleon
before Europe was again disturbed by revolutionary passions. There were
no international wars. On the whole, England, France, Russia, Prussia,
and Austria put aside ambitious designs of further aggrandizement, and
were disposed to keep peace with one another; and this desire lasted for
a whole generation. But there were other countries in which the flames
of insurrection broke out. The Spanish colonies of South America were
impatient of the yoke of the mother country, and sought national
independence, which they gained after a severe struggle. The
disaffection in view of royal despotism reached Spain itself, and a
revolution in that country dethroned the Bourbon king, and was
suppressed only by the aid of France. All Italy was convulsed by
revolutionary ideas and passions growing out of the cruel despotism
exercised by the various potentates who ruled that fair but unhappy
country. Insurrections were violent in Naples, in Piedmont, and in the
papal territories, and were put down not by Italian princes, but by
Austrian bayonets. As it is my design to present these in another
lecture, I simply allude to them in this connection.

But the most important revolution which occurred at this period, taking
into view its ultimate consequences and its various complications, was
that of Greece. It was different from those of Spain and Italy in this
respect, that it was a struggle not to gain political rights from
oppressive rulers, but to secure national independence. As such, it is
invested with great interest. Moreover, it was glorious, since it was
ultimately successful, after a dreadful contest with Turkey for seven
years, during which half of the population was swept away. Greece
probably would have succumbed to a powerful empire but for the aid
tardily rendered her by foreign Powers,--united in this instance, not to
suppress rebellion, but to rescue a noble and gallant people from a
cruel despotism.

Had the armed intervention of Russia, England, and France taken place at
an earlier period, much suffering and bloodshed might have been averted.
But Russia was fettered by the Holy Alliance to suppress all
insurrection and attempts at constitutional liberty wherever they might
take place, and could not, consistently with the promises given to
Austria and Prussia, join in an armed intervention, even in a matter
dear to the heart of Alexander, whose religion was that of Greece. The
Czar was placed in an awkward position. If he gave assistance to the
Greeks, whose religious faith was the same as his own and whose foe was
also the traditionary enemy of Russia, he would violate his promises,
which he always held sacred, and give umbrage to Austria. The intolerant
hatred of Alexander for all insurrections whatever induced him to stand
aloof from a contest which jeoparded the stability of thrones, and with
which in a political view, as an absolute sovereign, he had no sympathy.
On the other hand, if Alexander remained neutral, his faith would be
trodden under foot, and that by a power which he detested both
politically and religiously,--a power, too, with which Russia had often
been at war. If Turkey triumphed in the contest, rebels against a
long-constituted authority might indeed be put down; but a hostile power
would be strengthened, dangerous to all schemes of Russian
aggrandizement. Consequently Alexander was undecided in his policy; yet
his indecision tore his mind with anguish, and probably shortened his
days. He was, on the whole, a good man; but he was a despot, and did not
really know what to do. England and France, again, were weakened by the
long wars of Napoleon, and wanted repose. Their sympathies were with the
Greeks; but they shielded themselves behind the principles of
non-intervention, which were the public law of Europe.

So the poor Greeks were left for six years to struggle alone and unaided
against the whole force of the Turkish empire before relief came, when
they were on the verge of annihilation. It was the struggle of a little
country about half the size of Scotland against an empire four times as
large as Great Britain and France combined; of a population less than a
million against twenty-five millions. It was more than this: it was, in
many important respects, a war between Asia and Europe, kindred in
spirit with the old Crusades. It was a war of races and religions,
rather than of political principles; and hence it was marked by inhuman
atrocities on both sides, reminding us of the old wars between Jews and
Syrians. It was a tragedy at which the whole civilized world gazed with
blended interest and horror. It was infinitely more fierce than any
contest which has taken place in Europe for three hundred years. To the
Greeks themselves it was, after the first successes, the most
discouraging contest that I know of in human history; and yet it had all
those elements of heroism which marked the insurrection of the
Hollanders under William the Silent against the combined forces of
Austria and Spain. It was grand in its ideas, like our own Revolutionary
War; and the liberty which was finally gained was purchased by greater
sacrifices than any recorded in any war, either ancient or modern. The
war of Italian independence was a mere holiday demonstration in
comparison with it. Even the Polish wars against Russia were nothing to
it, in the sufferings which were endured and the gallant feats which
were performed.

But as Greece was a small and distant country, its memorable contest was
not invested with the interest felt for battles on a larger scale, and
which more directly affected the interests of other nations. It was not
till its complications involved Turkey and Russia in war, and affected
the whole "Eastern Question," that its historical importance was seen.
It was perhaps only the beginning of a series of wars which may drive
the Ottoman Turks out of Europe, and make Constantinople a great prize
for future conquerors.

That is unquestionably what Russia wants and covets to-day, and what the
other great Powers are determined she shall not have. Possibly Greece
may yet be the renewed seat of a Greek empire, under the protection of
the Western nations, as a barrier to Russian encroachments around the
Black Sea. There is sympathy for the Greeks; none for the Turks.
England, France, and Austria can form no lasting alliance with
Mohammedans, who may be driven back into Asia,--not by Russians, but by
a coalition of the Latin and Gothic races.

It is useless, however, to speculate on the future wars of the world. We
only know that offences must needs come so long as nations and rulers
are governed more by interests and passions than by reason or
philanthropy. When will passions and interests cease to be dominant or
disturbing forces? To these most of the wars which history records are
to be traced. And yet, whatever may be the origin or character
of wars, those who stimulate or engage in them find plausible
excuses,--necessity, patriotism, expediency, self-defence, even religion
and liberty. So long then as men are blinded by their passions and
interests, and palliate or justify their wars by either truth or
sophistry, there is but little hope that they will cease, even with the
advance of civilization. When has there been a long period unmarked by
war? When have wars been more destructive and terrible than within the
memory of this generation? It would indeed seem that when nations shall
learn that their real interests are not antagonistic, that they cannot
afford to go to war with one another, peace would then prevail as a
policy not less than as a principle. This is the hopeful view to take;
but unfortunately it is not the lesson taught by history, nor by that
philosophy which has been generally accepted by Christendom for eighteen
hundred years,--which is that men will not be governed by the loftiest
principles until the religion of Jesus shall have conquered and changed
the heart of the world, or at least of those who rule the world.

The chapter I am about to present is one of war,--cruel, merciless,
relentless war; therefore repulsive, and only interesting from the
magnitude of the issues, fought out, indeed, on a narrow strip of
territory. What matter, whether the battlefield is large or small? There
was as much heroism in the struggles of the Dutch republic as in the
wars of Napoleon; as much in our warfare for independence as in the
suppression of the Southern rebellion; as much among Cromwell's soldiers
as in the Crimean war; as much at Thermopylae as at Plataea. It is the
greatness of a cause which gives to war its only justification. A cause
is sacred from the dignity of its principles. Men are nothing;
principles are everything. Men must die. It is of comparatively little
moment whether they fall like autumn leaves or perish in a storm,--they
are alike forgotten; but their ideas and virtues are imperishable,
--eternal lessons for successive generations. History is a record not
merely of human sufferings,--these are inevitable,--but also of the
stepping-stones of progress, which indicate both the permanent welfare
of men and the Divine hand which mysteriously but really guides
and governs.

When the Greek revolution broke out, in 1820, there were about seven
hundred thousand people inhabiting a little over twenty-one thousand
square miles of territory, with a revenue of about fifteen millions of
dollars,--large for such a country of mountains and valleys. But the
soil is fertile and the climate propitious, favorable for grapes,
olives, and maize. It is a country easily defended, with its steep
mountains, its deep ravines, and rugged cliffs, and when as at that time
roads were almost impassable for carriages and artillery. Its people
have always been celebrated for bravery, industry, and frugality (like
the Swiss), but prone to jealousies and party feuds. It had in 1820 no
central government, no great capital, and no regular army. It owed
allegiance to the Sultan at Constantinople, the Turks having conquered
Greece soon after that city was taken by them in 1453.

Amid all the severities of Turkish rule for four centuries the Greeks
maintained their religion, their language, and distinctive manners. In
some places they were highly prosperous from commerce, which they
engrossed along the whole coast of the Levant and among the islands of
the Archipelago. They had six hundred vessels, bearing six thousand
guns, and manned by eighteen thousand seamen. In their beautiful

"Where burning Sappho loved and sung,"--

abodes of industry and freedom, the Turkish pashas never set their foot,
satisfied with the tribute which was punctually paid to the Sultan.
Moreover, these islands were nurseries of seamen for the Turkish navy;
and as these seamen were indispensable to the Sultan, the country that
produced them was kindly treated. The Turks were indifferent to
commerce, and allowed the Greek merchants to get rich, provided they
paid their tribute. The Turks cared only for war and pleasure, and spent
their time in alternate excitement and lazy repose. They disdained
labor, which they bought with tribute-money or secured from slaves taken
in war. Like the Romans, they were warriors and conquerors, but became
enervated by luxury. They were hard masters, but their conquered
subjects throve by commerce and industry.

The Greeks, as to character, were not religious like the Turks, but
quicker witted. What religion they had was made up of the ceremonies and
pomps of a corrupted Christianity, but kept alive by traditions. Their
patriarch was a great personage,--practically appointed, however, by the
Sultan, and resident in Constantinople. Their clergy were married, and
were more humane and liberal than the Roman Catholic priests of Italy,
and about on a par with them in morals and influence. The Greeks were
always inquisitive and fond of knowledge, but their love of liberty has
been one of their strongest peculiarities, kept alive amid all the
oppressions to which they have been subjected. Nevertheless, unarmed, at
least on the mainland, and without fortresses, few in numbers, with
overwhelming foes, they had not, up to 1820, dared to risk a general
rebellion, for fear that they should be mercilessly slaughtered. So long
as they remained at peace their condition as a conquered people was not
so bad as it might have been, although the oppressions of tax-gatherers
and the brutality of Turkish officials had been growing more and more
intolerable. In 1770 and 1790 there had been local and unsuccessful
attempts at revolt, but nothing of importance.

Amid the political agitations which threw Spain and Italy into
revolution, however, the spirit of liberty revived among the hardy Greek
mountaineers of the mainland. Secret societies were formed, with a view
of shaking off the Turkish yoke. The aspiring and the discontented
naturally cast their eyes to Russia for aid, since there was a religious
bond between the Russians and the Greeks, and since the Russians and
Turks were mortal enemies, and since, moreover, they were encouraged to
hope for such aid by a great Russian nobleman, by birth a Greek, who was
private secretary and minister, as well as an intimate, of the Emperor
Alexander,--Count Capo d'Istrias. They were also exasperated by the
cession of Parga (a town on the mainland opposite the Ionian Islands) to
the Turks, by the treaty of 1815, which the allies carelessly

The flame of insurrection in 1820 did not, however, first break out in
the territory of Greece, but in Wallachia,--a Turkish province on the
north of the Danube, governed by a Greek hospodar, the capital of which
was Bucharest. This was followed by the revolt of another Turkish
province, Moldavia, bordering on Russia, from which it was separated by
the River Pruth. At Jassy, the capital, Prince Ypsilanti, a
distinguished Russian general descended from an illustrious Greek
family, raised the standard of insurrection, to which flocked the whole
Christian population of the province, who fell upon the Turkish soldiers
and massacred them. Ypsilanti had twenty thousand soldiers under his
command, against which the six hundred armed Turks could make but feeble
resistance. This apparently successful revolt produced an immense
enthusiasm throughout Greece, the inhabitants of which now eagerly took
up arms. The Greeks had been assured of the aid of Russia by Ypsilanti,
who counted without his host, however; for the Czar, then at the
Congress of Laibach, convened to put down revolutionary ideas, was
extremely angry at the conduct of Ypsilanti, and, against all
expectation, stood aloof. This was the time for him to attack Turkey,
then weakened and dilapidated; but he was tired of war. Among the Greeks
the wildest enthusiasm prevailed, especially throughout the Morea, the
ancient Peloponnesus. The peasants everywhere gathered around their
chieftains, and drove away the Turkish soldiers, inflicting on them the
grossest barbarities. In a few days the Turks possessed nothing in the
Morea but their fortresses. The Turkish garrison of Athens shut itself
up in the Acropolis. Most of the islands of the Archipelago hoisted the
standard of the Cross; and the strongest of them armed and sent out
cruisers to prey on the commerce of the enemy.

At Constantinople the news of the insurrection excited both
consternation and rage. Instant death to the Christians was the
universal cry. The Mussulmans seized the Greek patriarch, an old man of
eighty, while he was performing a religious service on Easter Sunday,
hanged him, and delivered his body to the Jews. The Sultan Mahmoud was
intensely exasperated, and ordered a levy of troops throughout his
empire to suppress the insurrection and to punish the Christians. The
atrocities which the Turks now inflicted have scarcely ever been
equalled in horror. The Christian churches were entered and sacked. At
Adrianople the Patriarch was beheaded, with eight other ecclesiastical
dignitaries. In ten days thousands of Christians in that city were
butchered, and their wives and daughters sold into slavery; while five
archbishops and three bishops were hanged in the streets, without trial.
There was scarcely a town in the empire where atrocities of the most
repulsive kind were not perpetrated on innocent and helpless people. In
Asia Minor the fanatical spirit raged with more ferocity than in
European Turkey. At Smyrna a general massacre of the Christians took
place under circumstances of peculiar atrocity, and fifteen thousand
were obliged to flee to the islands of the Archipelago to save their
lives. The Island of Cyprus, which once had a population of more than a
million, reduced at the breaking out of the insurrection to seventy
thousand, was nearly depopulated; the archbishop and five other bishops
were ruthlessly murdered. The whole island, one hundred and forty-six
miles long and sixty-three wide, was converted into a theatre of rapine,
violation, and bloodshed.

All now saw that no hope remained for Greece but in the most determined
resistance, which was nobly made. Six thousand men were soon in arms in
Thessaly. The mountaineers of Macedonia gathered into armed bands.
Thirty thousand rose in the peninsula of Cassandra and laid siege to
Salonica, a city of eighty thousand inhabitants, but were repulsed, and
fled to the mountains,--not, however, until thousands of Mussulmans were
slain. It had become "war to the knife, and the knife to the hilt." No
quarter was asked or given.

All Greece was now aroused to what was universally felt to be a death
struggle. The people eagerly responded to all patriotic influences, and
especially to war songs, some of which had been sung for more than two
thousand years. Certain of these were reproduced by the English poet
Byron, who, leaving his native land, entered heart and soul into the
desperate contest, and urged the Greeks to heroic action in memory of
their fathers.

"Then manfully despising
The Turkish tyrant's yoke,
Let your country see you rising,
And all her chains are broke.
Brave shades of chiefs and sages,
Behold the coming strife!
Hellenes of past ages
Oh, start again to life!
At the sound of trumpet, breaking
Your sleep, oh, join with me!
And the seven-hilled city seeking,
Fight, conquer, till we're free!"

Success now seemed to mark the uprising in Southern Greece; but in the
Danubian provinces, without the expected aid of Russia, it was far
otherwise. Prince Ypsilanti, who had taken an active part in the
insurrection, was dismissed from the Russian service and summoned back
to Russia; but he was not discouraged, and advanced to Bucharest with
ten thousand men. In the mean time ten thousand Turks entered the
Principalities and regained Moldavia. Ypsilanti fled before the
conquering enemy, abandoned Bucharest, and was totally defeated at
Dragaschan, with the loss of all his baggage and ammunition. Only
twenty-five of his hastily collected band escaped into Transylvania.

The intelligence of this disaster would have disheartened the Greeks but
for their naval successes among the islands of the Archipelago. Hydra,
Ipsara, and Samos equipped a flotilla which drove the Turkish fleet back
to the Dardanelles with immense losses. The Greeks having now the
command of the sea, made successful incursions, and hoisted their flag
at Missolonghi, which they easily fortified, it being situated in the
midst of lagoons, like Venice, which large ships could not penetrate.
But on the mainland they suffered severe reverses. Fifteen thousand
Greeks perished at Patras; but the patriots were successful at Valtezza,
where five thousand men repulsed fifteen thousand Turks, and drove them
to seek shelter in the strong fortress of Tripolitza. The Greeks
avoiding action in the open field, succeeded in taking Navarino and
Napoli di Malvasia, and rivalled their enemies in the atrocities they
committed. They lost Athens, whose citadel they had besieged, but
defeated the Turks in Thermopylae with great slaughter, which enabled
them to reoccupy Athens and blockade the Acropolis.

Then followed the siege of Tripolitza, in the centre of the Morea, the
seat of the Pasha, where the Turks were strongly intrenched. It was soon
taken by Kolokotronis, who commanded the Greeks. The fall of this
fortress was followed by the usual massacre, in which neither age nor
sex was spared. The Greek chiefs attempted to suppress the fury and
cruelty of their followers; but their efforts were in vain, and their
cause was stained with blood needlessly shed. Yet when one remembers the
centuries during which the Turks had been slaying the men, carrying off
the women to their harems, and making slaves of the children of the
Greeks, there is less to wonder at in such an access of blind fury and
vengeance. Nine thousand Turks were massacred, or slain in the attack.
The capture of this important fortress was of immense advantage to the
Greeks, who obtained great treasures and a large amount of ammunition,
with a valuable train of artillery.

But this great success was balanced by the failure of the Greeks, under
Ypsilanti, to capture Napoli di Romania,--another strong fortress,
defended by eight hundred guns, regarded as nearly impregnable,
situated, like Gibraltar, on a great rock eight hundred feet high, the
base of which was washed by the sea. It was a rash enterprise, but came
near being successful on account of the negligence of the garrison,
which numbered only fifteen hundred men. An escalade was attempted by
Mavrokordatos, one of the heroic chieftains of the Greeks; but it was
successfully repulsed, and the attacking generals with difficulty
escaped to Argos. The Greeks also met with a reverse on the peninsula of
Cassandra, near Salonica, which proved another massacre. Three thousand
perished from Turkish scimitars, and ten thousand women and children
were sold into slavery.

Thus ended the campaign of 1821, with mutual successes and losses,
disgraced on both sides by treachery and massacres; but the Greeks were
sufficiently emboldened to declare their independence, and form a
constitution under Prince Mavrokordatos as president,--a Chian by birth,
who had been physician to the Sultan. The seat of government was fixed
at Corinth, whose fortress had been recovered from the Turks. Seven
hundred thousand people threw down the gauntlet to twenty-five millions,
and defied their power.

The following year the Greek cause indirectly suffered a great blow by
the capture and death of Ali Pasha. This ambitious and daring rebel,
from humble origin, had arisen, by energy, ability, and fraud, to a high
command under the Sultan. He became pasha of Thessaly; and having
accumulated great riches by extortion and oppression, he bought the
pashalic of Jannina, in one of the richest and most beautiful valleys
of Epirus. In the centre of a lake he built an impregnable fortress,
collected a large body of Albanian troops, and soon became master of the
whole province. He preserved an apparent neutrality between the Sultan
and the rebellious Greeks, whom, however, he secretly encouraged. In his
castle at Jannina he meditated extensive conquests and independence of
the Porte. At one time he had eighty thousand half-disciplined Albanians
under his command. The Sultan, at last suspecting his treachery,
summoned him to Constantinople, and on his refusal to appear, denounced
him as a rebel, and sent Chourchid Pasha, one of his ablest generals,
with forty thousand troops, to subdue him. This was no easy task; and
for two years, before the Greek revolution broke out, Ali had maintained
his independence. At last he found himself besieged in his island
castle, impregnable against assault, but short of provisions. From this
retreat he was decoyed by consummate art to the mainland, to meet the
Turkish general, who promised an important command and a high rank in
the Turkish service. In the power now of the Turks, he was at once
beheaded, and his head sent to Constantinople.

Ali's death set free the large army of Chourchid Pasha to be employed
against the Greeks. Aided too by the enthusiasm which the suppression of
a dangerous enemy created, the Sultan made great preparations for a
renewed attack on the Morea. The contest now assumed greater
proportions, and the reconquest of Greece seemed extremely probable.
Sixty thousand Turks, under the command of the ablest general of the
Sultan, prepared to invade the Morea. In addition, a powerful squadron,
with eight thousand troops, sailed from the Dardanelles to reinforce the
Turkish fortresses and furnish provisions. In the meantime the
insurrection extended to Chios, or Scio, an opulent and fertile island
opposite Smyrna. It had eighty thousand inhabitants, who drove the Turks
to their citadel. The Sultan, enraged at the loss of this prosperous
island, sent thirty thousand fanatical Asiatic Mussulmans, and a fleet
consisting of six ships-of-the-line, ten frigates, and twelve brigs, to
reconquer what was regarded as the garden of the Archipelago. Resistance
was impossible against such an overwhelming array of forces, who
massacred nearly the whole of the male population, and sold their wives
and children as slaves. The consuls of France and Austria remonstrated
against this unheard-of cruelty; but nothing could appease the fanatical
fury of the conquerors. The massacre has no parallel in history since
the storming of Syracuse or the sack of Bagdad, Not only were the
inhabitants swept away, but the churches, the fine villas, the scattered
houses, and the villages were burned to the ground. When the slaughter
ceased, it was found that twenty-five thousand men had been slain, and
forty-five thousand women and children had become slaves to glut the
markets of Constantinople and Egypt, while fifteen thousand had fled to
the mainland.

This great calamity, however, was partially avenged by the sailors and
chiefs of Hydra, a neighboring island, under the command of one of the
greatest heroes that the war produced,--the intrepid and fearless
Andreas Miaulis, who with fire-ships destroyed nearly the whole of the
Turkish fleet. He was aided by Constantine Canaris and George Pepinis,
equal to him in courage, who succeeded in grappling the ships of the
enemy and setting them on fire. The Turks, with the remnant of their
magnificent fleet, took refuge in the harbor of Mitylene, while the
victors returned in triumph to Ipsara, and became the masters of the

The Greek operations were not so fortunate at first on the land as they
were on the sea. Mavrokordatos led in person an expedition into Epirus;
but he was no general, and failed disastrously. Even the brave Marco
Bozzaris was unable to cut his way to the relief of his countrymen, shut
up in their fortresses without an adequate supply of provisions; and all
that the Greeks could do in their great discouragement was to supply
Missolonghi with provisions and a few defenders, in anticipation of
a siege.

Epirus was now fallen, and nothing remained but a guerilla warfare.
Indeed, a striking feature of the whole revolution was "the absence of
any one great leader to concentrate the Greek forces and utilize the
splendid heroism of people and chieftains in permanent strategic
successes. The war was a succession of sporadic fights,--successes and
failures,--with small apparent mutual relations and effects." In
Macedonia, which had joined the insurrection, there were six thousand
brave mountaineers in arms; but they had to contend with fifteen

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