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the right, pursued by Grouchy; but on his left Ney failed to dislodge the English from Quatre Bras ; and Wellington, after arranging with Blücher for a new junction on the field of the approaching battle, fell back on the 17th to a position which he had long marked and caused to be surveyed, and wbich is said to have attracted the notice also of Marlborough, on the ridge of Mont St. Jean, in front of WATERLOO. Napoleon took up his position on the opposite ridge of La Belle Alliance; and here, on Sunday, June 18th, 1815, was fought one of the most obstinate and decisive battles of all history. Napoleon had about 78,000 men, and Wellington 72,720; but the emperor was vastly superior in artillery, and he commanded his own veteran troops, while only half of Wellington's were British, most of them raw recruits ; and the rest were Hanoverians, Dutch, and Belgians, some disaffected, and some cowards who fled at the first volley. But the Duke's iron will maintained the position against Napoleon's fiercest efforts, while the Prussians strained every nerve to reach the field. Leaving his rear engaged with Grouchy at Wavre, Blücher made a cross march against Napoleon's right, which his van began to threaten early in the afternoon, and he arrived in force upon the field just as the column of French guards had reeled back broken from their last attempt to charge, and Wellington had given the signal for the advance of his whole line. It was about seven o'clock when Napoleon exclaimed Sauve qui peut, and rode off the field to Charleroi. The Prussians took up the pursuit throughout the night; while Wellington returned, after meeting Blücher, to his quarters at Waterloo, and recorded in one of his letters the conviction that “no amount of glory could compensate for the losses of such a day :" a use of the word glory even more significant than its supposed absence from his despatches. The loss of the French from the 16th to the 18th was about 30,000; and that of the allies 15,000.
Napoleon reached Paris on the 21st; and, after a brief struggle with the Chambers, he abdicated in favour of his son, Napoleon II., and fled to Rochefort, intending to embark for America (June 29). Thus ended the HUNDRED Days of his second empire (March 21 - June 29). Louis XVIII. re-entered Parison July 8; and Napoleon, after writing to the prince regent that “he came, like Themistocles, to throw himself on the hospitality of the British people," embarked for England on board the Bellerophon (July 15). By the decision of the allies, he was conveyed to the island of St. Helena, where he died on May 5, 1821. A new Peace of Paris was signed by the allies, Nov. 20. The affairs of Europe were regulated by the Congress of Vienna, which parcelled out kingdoms regardless of the wishes of their inhabitants ; and a second congress,
at Aix-la-Chapelle, arranged for the withdrawal of the allied troops from France (Sept. 1818). The duke of Wellington, who had remained as generalissimo, returned home in November. The war had raised the English national debt from a little less than 228 millions to nearly 800 millions, involving an annual charge of 28 millions. In 1816 the piracy of the Algerines was suppressed by sir Edward Pellew (lord ExMOUTH), who bombarded Algiers (Aug. 27), and compelled the Dey to release 1083 Christian slaves.
The war was succeeded by much distress and discontent. Trade languished, and the high price of bread was aggravated by the mistaken policy of a corn-law, closing the ports till the price of wheat reached 80s. a quarter. The prohibition was afterwards modified by a sliding-scale, lowering the duty with the rise of the price (1829). The reform agitation was renewed, with its adjuncts of political clubs, mob orators, and government prosecutions. The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended in 1817, on account of an attack on the prince regent as he returned from opening parliament. A reform meeting at Manchester, in Aug. 1819, at which the yeomanry were called out and some lives lost, was long remembered as “ the Peterloo Massacre.” Amidst the general alarm the home secretary, lord Sidmouth (formerly Mr. Addington), carried the “Six Acts " for suppressing seditious meetings and writings and the use of arms. A more wholesome measure was the act passed by Mr. Secretary (afterwards sir Robert) PEEL, for the resumption of cash payments and the regulation of the currency (1819).
The unhappy death of sir SAMUEL ROMILLY, by his own hand, deprived the country of a leader in the reform of the criminal law; but the work of its mitigation was steadily carried on from this time, against much opposition from lords Eldon and Ellenborough.
The last years of George III. were clouded with mournful events in the royal family, in addition to the king's continued illness. The princess CHARLOTTE, only daughter of the prince regent, formed a marriage of affection with prince LEOPOLD, of Saxe-Coburg, now king of the Belgians (May 16, 1816); and, on Nov. 6, 1817, she died in childbirth, amidst a grief even more intense than that we have lately witnessed. Marriages were now contracted by the dukes of Clarence, Kent, Cumberland, and Cambridge. The duke of Kent espoused the princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, who gave birth to our present queen, May 24, 1819; but the duke died on Jan. 23, 1820. In less than a week he was followed to the tomb by his father, George III., who expired Jan. 29, 1820, in the 82nd year of his age and the 60th of his reign; the longest in our annals. Queen Charlotte had already died in November 1818.
The reigns of the first and third sons of George III. may be regarded as a period of transition, during which the great political questions that had been postponed by the war received their solution. The accession of the prince regent to the throne as GEORGE IV. (1820-1830) involved little more than a change of title. He was in his 58th year, having been born Aug. 12, 1762. His accomplished manners had gained him the character of the “first gentleman in Europe," and he was a patron of literature and art. But he was vain, selfish, and insincere. His nature, originally amiable, had been spoilt by a life of dissipation. His domestic relations were most unhappy. In 1795, he was forced, as a condition of the payment of his debts, to abandon Mrs. Fitzherbert, and to marry the princess CAROLINE of Brunswick, to whom he took a deep disgust. After the birth of the princess Charlotte (Jan. 7, 1796), they separated, and the princess of Wales lived abroad, giving colour by her imprudence to charges against her chastity. On her
return to England (June 6, 1820) to claim her rank as queen, a bill of pains and penalties against her was brought into the House of Lords, and passed its third reading by a majority of only 9. As there was no hope of success in the commons, and the popular agitation was extreme, the bill was abandoned. But the queen's name remained excluded from the liturgy, and she was repulsed from the door of Westminster Abbey at the coronation (July 19, 1821). She died, broken down by her troubles, on Aug. 7, 1821, at the age of 52. Her remains were conveyed to Brunswick for interment, by way of Harwich; and the passage of the funeral cortège through London was attended with serious riots. The trial of queen Caroline was the death-blow to George IV.'s popularity in England ; but Ireland and Scotland were rejoiced at receiving visits from the only king whom they had seen since the Revolution. Meanwhile the Tory government were alarmed by the radical agitation, and by the Cato Street Conspiracy to assassinate the ministers and change the form of government, for which Thistlewood and four others were executed (May 1, 1820).
In 1822 lord Sidmouth was succeeded as home secretary by Mr. Peel, and the suicide of lord Londonderry (lord Castlereagh) called Canning to the post of foreign secretary. He devoted all his energy to resisting the “Holy Alliance,” which had been formed, after the Peace of Paris, between France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, for the maintenance of despotism on the continent. At the Congress of Verona they resolved on an armed intervention against the constitutional party in Spain, which was executed under the duc d'Angoulême in the following year (1823). Unable to resist this movement, Canning formed treaties of commerce with the American colonies which had revolted from Spain, and boasted that he “ had called the new world to redress the balance of the old ” (1824). In the House of Commons, the splendid eloquence of Canning and HENRY BROUGHAM was called forth by these foreign questions, and by debates on parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation. In 1825 occurred a terrible commercial crisis ; and the failure of many banks led to new laws to regulate the paper currency. The systematic adoption of emigration as a remedy for distress gave a new impulse to the colonies of Canada and Australia.
Great changes occurred on the thrones of Europe. In France and Russia Louis XVIII. and Alexander I. were succeeded by their brothers CHARLES X. (1824) and NICHOLAS I. (1825). In 1825, John VI. of Portugal erected Brazil into an independent empire under his brother Dom PEDRO, who, on John's death (March 1826), abdicated the throne of Portugal in favour of his daughter, DONNA MARIA, at the same time giving the people a constitution. The usurpation of the throne by Dom Pedro's brother, Dom Miguel, a
ferocious tyrant (1827), led to a civil war, which lasted till May 1832. England declared in favour of Donna Maria, who was ultimately established on the throne ; and commodore CHARLES NAPIER distinguished himself as commander of Dom Pedro's fleet. In the east of Europe Russia pursued a course of aggrandisement at the expense of Turkey, and the Greeks took up arms for their independence. The combined fleets of England, France, and Russia, under sir Edward Codrington, destroyed the Turkish and Egyptian fleet at NAVARINO (Oct. 20, 1827). This blow decided the war, and Greece was erected into a kingdom, the crown of which was ultimately accepted by prince Otho of Bavaria.
Meanwhile the Catholic question had become pressing. In 1824 DANIEL O'CONNELL, a barrister of great eloquence, organized the “ Catholic Association,” and collected a “ Rent" from the Irish people. In 1825 a relief bill, brought in by sir Francis Burdett, passed the commons, but was lost in the lords, where the duke of York uttered a solemn oath that, if he came to the throne, he would never consent to the repeal of the Catholic disabilities. The duke, however, died on Jan. 5, 1827, and in February the long administration of lord Liverpool was ended by his seizure with paralysis. The king, who disliked Canning for his opposition in the affair of queen Caroline, as well as for his former advocacy of the Catholic claims, felt nevertheless obliged to receive him as premier (April 1, 1827). But Canning had already contracted a mortal disease at the funeral of the duke of York. He was regarded by the aristocracy as an upstart. He was deserted by the duke of Wellington, Mr. Peel, lord Eldon, and the old Tory party. He was harassed by his false position between the opposition, who called on him to redeem his professions in favour of the Catholics, and the king, who declared that he should break his coronation oath if he consented to emancipation. In four short months Canning died (Aug. 8, 1827). He was buried privately in Westminster Abbey, and his widow was made a viscountess. The title descended to his son, who raised it to an earldom by his signal services in India, and has just died, like his father, a martyr to the public service (June, 1862).
The short administration of viscount GOVERICH, now earl of Ripon (Aug. 1827-Jan. 1828), was again succeeded by that of the duke of Wellington, with Mr. Peel as home secretary. The friends of Mr. Canning-namely, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Grant, and lord Palmerston-afterwards left the ministry. It was under this Tory government that the disabilities both of the Protestant Dissenters and of the Roman Catholics were removed. Lord John RUSSELL (b. Aug. 18, 1792), the younger son of the duke of Bedford, and the faithful inheritor of the principles for which lord William Russell suffered under Charles II., moved the Repeal of the Test and Cor