This proposal, which, at an earlier stage of the dispute, might have been listened to, was one at this stage which was sure to be rejected, and was only one of those miserable half measures which commonplace minds so frequently put forth only to demonstrate their inability to grasp the amplitude of the occasion. It was supposed that the measure had been intended to be larger, but that the Bedford party had fallen on it in Council, and reduced it to these pitiable dimensions. Yet when it was introduced into the Commons by Lord North, the Bedford party looked at each other in consternation, and soon the tempest broke loose on the Treasury benches.

The crisis of extreme difficulty to which Peel referred was occasioned by the power acquired by the Catholic Association, which had originated in the following manner. Early in 1823 Mr. O'Connell proposed to his brother barrister, Mr. Sheil, and a party of friends who were dining with Mr. O'Mara, at Glancullen, the plan of an association for the management of the Catholic cause. At a general meeting of the Roman Catholics, which took place in April, a resolution with the same design was carried, and on Monday, the 12th of May, the first meeting of the Catholic[250] Association was held in Dempsey's Rooms, in Sackville Street, Dublin. Subsequently it met at the house of a Catholic bookseller named Coyne, and before a month had passed it was in active working order. From these small beginnings it became, in the course of the year, one of the most extensive, compact, and powerful popular organisations the world had ever seen. Its influence ramified into every parish in Ireland. It found a place and work for almost every member of the Roman Catholic body; the peer, the lawyer, the merchant, the country gentleman, the peasant, and, above all, the priest, had each his task assigned him: getting up petitions, forming deputations to the Government and to Parliament, conducting electioneering business, watching over the administration of justice, collecting "the Catholic rent," preparing resolutions, and making speeches at the meetings of the Association, which were held every Monday at the Corn Exchange, when everything in the remotest degree connected with the interests of Roman Catholics or of Ireland was the subject of animating and exciting discussion, conducted in the form of popular harangues, by barristers, priests, merchants, and others. Voluminous correspondence was read by the secretary, large sums of rent were handed in, fresh members were enrolled, and speeches were made to a crowd of excited and applauding people, generally composed of Dublin operatives and idlers. But as the proceedings were fully reported in the public journals, the audience may be said to have been the Irish nation. And over all, "the voice of O'Connell, like some mighty minster bell, was heard through Ireland, and the empire, and the world."

It was towards the end of May before Marshal M?llendorf, the Prussian general, began the campaign. He then attacked the French, and drove them out of their entrenchments at Kaiserslautern with great slaughter. There, however, his activity seemed to cease; and on the 12th of July the French again fell upon him. He fought bravely for four whole days, supported by the Austrians; but both these Powers were compelled to retreat down the Rhine, the Prussians retiring on Mayence and the Austrians crossing the river for more safety. The French marched briskly after the Prussians, took Trves, and then sent strong detachments to help their countrymen to make a complete clearance of Belgium and to invade Holland. Clairfait, who was still hovering in Dutch Flanders, was attacked by overwhelming numbers, beaten repeatedly, and compelled to evacuate Juliers, Aix-la-Chapelle, and finally Cologne. The French were so close at his heels at Cologne that they shouted after him that "that was not the way to Paris." Coblenz, where the Royalist Emigrants had so long made their headquarters, though strongly fortified, soon after surrendered. The stout fortress of Venloo, on the Meuse, and Bois-le-Duc, as promptly surrendered, and the French marched on Nimeguen, near which the Duke of York lay, hoping in vain to cover the frontiers of Holland. The people of Holland, like those of Belgium, were extensively Jacobinised, the army was deeply infected by French principles, and to attempt to defend such a country with a mere handful of British was literally to throw away the lives of our men. Yet the duke stood stoutly in this hopeless defence, where half Holland ought to have been collected to defend itself. In March, 1796, Mr. Wickham, the British envoy to Switzerland, asked of M. Barthlemy, by direction of Pitt, whether the French Directory were desirous of entertaining the question of peace. Barthlemy replied that the Directory would enter into negotiations on the basis of France retaining all the Netherlands won from Austria, which were now annexed to the Republic, and which France would never restore. The reply was certainly insincere. France was as busy as ever by her emissaries undermining the loyalty of all the populations around her on pretence of liberating them. She had worked upon the Swiss, so that it was evident that they would soon fall into her net. She had entered into a treaty with the disaffected in Ireland, namely, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Wolfe Tone, Arthur O'Connor, and their fellow-conspirators, and the treaty was already signed, and a large fleet and force preparing for the invasion of Ireland. Not only was France on the very eve of invading Ireland, but she had issued a decree prohibiting the introduction of all British manufactures into Holland, Belgium, and the German states on the Rhine, as well as into any of the French colonies, on the severest penalties. Yet, in the face of all these hostile demonstrations, did Pitt send over Lord Malmesbury to endeavour to negotiate a peace. Lord Malmesbury arrived in Paris, on the 22nd of October, with a splendid retinue. The Directory received him haughtily, and commissioned M. Delacroix to discuss the matter with him. Lord Malmesbury insisted on the restoration of the Netherlands to Austria, a point on which the French Government had declared there could be no treaty, and which rendered the embassy, from the first moment, utterly absurd. Delacroix communicated the proposal to the Directory, and the Directory immediately published it, contrary to all the rules of diplomacy, in the Moniteur, Instead of proceeding further with Britain, the Directory immediately dispatched General Clarke, an officer of Irish extraction, and afterwards made Duke of Feltre, under Buonaparte, to Vienna, to treat separately with Austria. This failed, and, of course, with it all failed; though there was much talk between Malmesbury and the Directory on the subject of Britain restoring the French colonies in the East and West Indies, since the restoration of Belgium and Holland was a sine qua non. Thus, as might have been seen from the first, the negotiation was at a deadlock. The King of Sardinia was already in negotiation for peace for himself; and therefore British Ministers did not add to his difficulties by demanding the restoration of Savoy and Nice. THE CATHEDRAL, TUAM.

No sooner had Collot d'Herbois, Barrre, and that party triumphed over Robespierre than they summoned the members of the tribunal to their baray, on the very morning of the day of his executionand voted them honours amid much applause. The tribunal replied, that though a few traitors like Coffinhal and Dumas had found their way into the tribunal, the majority of them were sound and devoted to the Convention. Accordingly, the next day the Convention handed over to Fouquier-Tinville and his colleagues a list of fresh proscriptions of sixty-nine municipals, and a few days afterwardsnamely, the 12th of Thermidor, being the 30th of Julythey added twelve more, completing eighty-one victims! These were all executed within twenty-four hours. The Convention then fell into new divisions, some members contending for its being time to cease these tragedies, others insisting on maintaining them. Billaud-Varennes, Barrre, and Collot d'Herbois defended the guillotine and Fouquier-Tinville, but the greater number of the enemies of Robespierre denounced them, declared themselves the overthrowers of Robespierre, and assumed the name of Thermidorians, in honour of the month in which they had destroyed him. For the Thermidorians saw that the better part of the public had become sick of blood, and they set about contracting the Reign of Terror. They reduced the powers of the two governing Committees; they decreed that one-fourth of the members should go out every month; they reduced the revolutionary sections of Paris from forty-eight to twelve, and abolished the forty sous a day to the sansculotte patriots for their attendance. A month after the execution of Robespierre, Tallien made a fierce onslaught on the Terrorist system, and declared that there were numbers yet living who had been equally merciless with Robespierre, Couthon, and St. Just; and the next day Lecointre denounced by name Barrre, Billaud-Varennes, and Collot d'Herbois. To put an end to the Jacobin resistance, the Convention closed the Jacobin Club altogether, which had thus only survived the fall of Robespierre about four months. Thereupon the Jacobins began to denounce the Thermidorians as anti-Republicans, but they retorted that they were Republicans of the purest schoolthat of Marat.

The Marquis Wellesley was sent over to Ireland by Lord Liverpool in order to govern Ireland upon this principle; and he might have succeeded better if he had not been checked by Mr. Goulburn, the Chief Secretary, distinguished by his hostility to Catholic Emancipation, who was appointed "viceroy over him." In a letter which the Marquis wrote to the Duke of Buckingham (June 14th, 1824) he refers to some of the difficulties with which he had to contend in carrying out an impartial policy between the extreme parties, which were then very violent. His labours, however, in enforcing respect for the law and effecting improvements were not altogether in vain. "The situation of Ireland," he writes, "although very unsatisfactory, is certainly much improved, and foundations of greater improvement have been firmly laid. The committees of Parliament have done much good; and, if vigorously and fairly pursued, may effect a permanent settlement of this distracted country. The present violent collision of the two ultra parties, or rather factions, Orange and Papist, is a crisis of the disorder which was necessary to their mutual dissolution, an event which I think is fast approaching, and which must be the preliminary of any settlement of peace." Such was the battle of Dettingen, equally remarkable for the blunders of the generals and the valour of the men; still more so, as the last battle in which a King of England has commanded in[85] person. At Hanau, the army not only refreshed itself, but was joined by reinforcements, which rendered the Allies nearly equal in numbers to the French. Lord Stair, therefore, proposed to pass the Main, and make a second attack on the enemy. The king, however, would not consent. Stair, with all his bravery, had shown that he was very incautious. He was, moreover, of a most haughty temper, and had quarrelled violently with the Hanoverian officers, and displayed much contempt for the petty German princes. They were, therefore, by no means inclined to second his counsels, though they had fought gallantly at Dettingen. Stair complained loudly of the neglect to follow up the French, and resigned.