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He was proceeding in all apparent safety when, approaching the village of Tarrytown, three militiamen suddenly sprang forward, and, seizing his bridle, demanded who he was. Andr, being on neutral ground, exceeded his former incaution, and instead of ascertaining whether the men were Americans, in which case Arnold's pass was his security, he asked the men who they were, and being answered "From below," which was the pass for New York, replied, "And so am I." By this, discovering that he was a British officer, the men began to search him, and soon made prize of his fatal papers. Warned in time, Arnold escaped on board a British man-of-war. But very different was the fate of Major Andr. General Clinton, the moment he was aware of his arrest, sent a letter to Washington, stating that Andr had gone on shore under a flag of truce, and, at the time of his arrest, was travelling under a pass from Arnold, the commander of the district. Clinton therefore requested Washington to liberate Andr immediately. To this letter Washington did not reply till after a lapse of four days, and after the board of officers appointed for the purpose had declared Andr a spy. He even rejected the last prayer of the gallant soldier that he might be spared the gibbet, and had him hanged.

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While this was going on, the town of San Sebastian was stormed by the British. Sir Thomas Graham conducted the assault, which was led on by the brigade of General Robinson, bravely supported by a detachment of Portuguese under Major Snodgrass. The place was captured; the French were driven through it to the castle standing on a height, in which they found refuge. Seven hundred prisoners were taken. The British lost two thousand men in the assaulta loss which would have been far greater had a mine, containing one thousand two hundred pounds of gunpowder, exploded, but which was fortunately prevented by the falling in of a saucisson. Many less would have fallen, however, had General Graham allowed shells to be thrown into the town, which he would not, on account of the inhabitants. But the French had not only prepared this great mine, but exploded various other appliances for setting the town on fire. In fact they showed no care for the people or the town. When driven to the castle, after a murderous street fightin which they picked off our men from behind walls and windows, killing Sir Richard Fletcher, the commanding engineer, and wounding Generals Robinson, Leith, and Oswald, besides slaughtering heaps of our menthey continued to fire down the streets, killing great numbers of the inhabitants besides our soldiers. Yet, after all, they charged Lord Wellington with not only throwing shells into the town, but with[61] setting it on fire, and plundering it. His lordship indignantly repelled these accusations in his letter to his brother, Sir Henry Wellesley. He declares that he himself had been obliged to hasten to his headquarters at Lezaco, on the morning of the 31st of August, but that he saw the town on fire in various places before our soldiers entered it; in fact, the French had set it on fire in six different places, and had their mine exploded scarcely a fragment of the town would have been left, or a single inhabitant alive. The lenity shown to the town by Wellington and Graham, who acted for him, was not used towards their calumniators in the castle. It was stoutly bombarded, and being soon almost battered to pieces about the ears of the defenders, the French surrendered on the 8th of September, two thousand five hundred in number; but the siege of both town and fort had cost the allies four thousand men in killed and wounded. Had the town been, as the French represented, bombarded like the castle, some thousands of English and Portuguese lives would have been spared, but at the expense of the inhabitants. On the 24th of June Parliament was prorogued by commission. The Royal Speech expressed thanks for the attention that had been given to the affairs of Ireland, and the settlement of the Catholic question, which the king hoped would tend to the permanent tranquillity of that country, and to draw closer the bonds of union between it and the rest of the empire. It was announced that diplomatic relations had been renewed with the Porte, for which ambassadors from England and France had taken their departure. But it was with increased regret that his Majesty again adverted to the condition of the Portuguese monarchy. He repeated his determination to use every effort to reconcile conflicting interests, and to remove the evils which pressed so heavily on a country the prosperity of which must ever be an object of his solicitude. The condition of that country was, indeed, most deplorable under the lawless despotism of Dom Miguel, who, on the abdication of his brother Dom Pedro in favour of Do?a Maria da Gloria, had been appointed regent, but had subsequently assumed the royal title, and driven his niece from the country. He overruled the decisions of the courts of justice regarding political prisoners, and inflicted the punishment of death by his own mere arbitrary order, when only transportation had been decreed by the judges. He crowded the prisons with the most distinguished supporters of constitutional government, confiscated their property, and appropriated it to his own use. Yet this monster would have been acknowledged by the Duke of Wellington. Had the Duke been free to follow the dictates of his own judgment, he would have at once resumed the diplomatic relations which had been broken off between the two states. But Britain was committed to the young queen by the policy of the preceding Administration; and the Duke, though he believed that policy to be unwise, could not break through it in a moment. It was not without difficulty, however, that Britain maintained her neutrality between the contending parties. The Portuguese refugees endeavoured, under various false pretences, to avail themselves of British hospitality, for the purpose of conveying arms and ammunition, and bodies of troops into Portugal, to restore the queen. They asserted that they were sending them to Brazil, but really conveyed them to Terceira, one of the Azores, where Do?a Maria had been proclaimed. The consequence was that 4,000 Portuguese troops, which were lying at Plymouth, were ordered to disband, and Captain Walpole, with a squadron, was sent to watch the Portuguese ships in the Atlantic, in order to avoid the imputation of violating the neutrality. His orders were to proceed to the Azores, to intercept any vessels arriving at those islands, and "should they persist, notwithstanding, in hovering about or making any attempt to effect a landing, you are then to use force to drive them away from the neighbourhood." Walpole intercepted four vessels, containing a force of 650 men under the command of the Duke of Saldanha. They declined to bring-to, whereupon he fired a shot which killed one man and wounded another. Saldanha thereupon declared that he considered himself Walpole's prisoner, and turned his vessels towards Europe. Walpole, in great perplexity, followed him, until he was within 500 miles of Scilly, when they parted company and Saldanha went to Havre. These proceedings were regarded with indignation in Great Britain, the enemies of the Government asserting that, in spite of their declarations of neutrality, they had proved themselves partisans of Dom Miguel. Debates were raised in both Houses, Lord Palmerston in the Commons making his first great speech in condemnation of the Duke's foreign policy. It is significant that Wellington should have written to Lord Aberdeen in a private letter: "In respect to Portugal you may tell Prince Polignac that we are determined that there shall be no revolutionary movement from England or any part of the world."

The House of Commons received the speech with enthusiasm, and carried up an address of thanks in a body. Very different, however, was the reception of the speech in the House of Lords. Lord Wharton proposed that in the address they should declare themselves against a separate peace, and the Duke of Marlborough supported that view. He said that for a year past the measures pursued were directly opposed to her Majesty's engagement with the Allies, had sullied the glories of her reign, and would render our name odious to all nations. Lord Strafford, who had come over from the Hague purposely to defend the Government policy, and his own share in it at Utrecht, asserted that the opposition of the[6] Allies would not have been so obstinate had they not been encouraged by a certain member of that House who corresponded with them, and stimulated them by assurances that they would be supported by a large party in England. This blow aimed at Marlborough called up Lord Cowper, who directed his sarcasm against Strafford on the ground of his well-known illiterate character, observing that the noble lord had been so long abroad that he had forgotten not only the language but the constitution of his country; that according to our laws it could never be a crime in an individual to correspond with its allies, but that it was a crime to correspond, as certain persons did, with the common enemy, unknown to the allies, and to their manifest prejudice. The amendment of Lord Wharton, however, was rejected, and the protest, entered against its rejection by twenty peers and bishops, was voted violent and indecorous, and erased from the journal.

Wellington acquitted himself as well as could be expected in the circumstances. Austria was induced to acknowledge an old debt to Britain, and to pay an instalment. The utmost which she could obtain from the Allies on the slave trade was a reissue of the joint condemnation of the traffic which had been pronounced in 1815 at Vienna, and a special assurance from France that as soon as public feeling would admit, steps would be taken to carry out the treaty with Great Britain. In the discussion of the affairs of Italy the Duke took no part; but the peace which he had urged upon Russia and Turkey was happily concluded, on terms honourable to both. With regard to the struggles for freedom in Spain and other countries, the Duke found the Allied Sovereigns in the worst possible temper. They had no patience with Britain on account of her dissent, however mild, from their policy. "Hence, though England never expressed her approval of the military revolts in Spain and Italy, or even in South America, still, because she declined to be a party to the suppression of the free institutions in which they issued, Austria, Prussia, and Russia spoke of her as the champion of revolutionary principles all over the world."

Murray, afterwards Lord Mansfield, as we have said, of a decided Jacobite house, was a rising young lawyer, who had won great fame for his speech in a case of appeal before the House of Lords, was now Solicitor-Generalaccomplished and learned in the law, a man of pleasing person, and a fine orator, bold, persevering in his profession, yet, with all the caution of a Scotsman, plodding his way towards the benchthe real and almost the only object of his ambition. Murray, indeed, let Newcastle know that such was his ambition; and therefore, as Pitt was passed over from the royal dislike and Newcastle's own jealousy, and Murray, too, for this reason, Henry Fox alone was the man for the leadership of the Commons. Newcastle told him that he proposed him for that post; but when they met, Fox soon found that he was expected to play the r?le without the essential power. Fox, of course, demanded to be informed of the disposal of the secret-service money, but Newcastle replied that his brother never disclosed that to any one, nor would he. Fox reminded him that Pelham was at once First Lord of the Treasury and leader of the Commons, and asked how he was to "talk to members when he did not know who was in pay and who was not?" And next he wished to know who was to have the nomination to places? Newcastle replied, Himself. Who was to recommend the proper objects?Still himself. Who to fill up the ministerial boroughs at the coming elections?Still Newcastle himself. Fox withdrew in disgust, and Newcastle gave the seals of the Secretaryship to a mere toolSir Thomas Robinson, a dull, uncouth man, who had been some years ambassador at Vienna, and had won the favour of the king by his compliance with all his German desires. Robinson, according to Lord Waldegrave, was ignorant even of the language of the House of Commons, and when he attempted to play the orator, threw the members into fits of merriment. Newcastle, says Lord Stanhope, had succeeded in a very difficult attempthe[118] "had found a Secretary of State with abilities inferior to his own."

In all these transactions Carteret showed the most facile disposition to gratify all the Hanoverian tendencies of the king, in order to ingratiate himself and secure the Premiership at home. But in this he did not succeed; he was much trusted by George in foreign affairs, and in them he remained. Lord Wilmington, Prime Minister, had died two months before the signing of the treaty at Worms, and the competitors for his office were Pelham, brother of the Duke of Newcastle, and Pulteney. Pelham was supported by Newcastle, Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, and still more powerfully by the old Minister under whom he had been trainedLord Orford, who, though out of office, was consulted in everything relating to it. Pulteney and Pelham had both, according to their friends, neglected the necessary steps for succeeding Wilmington. Pulteney had declined any office, vainly hoping that his great popularity would enable him to guide public affairs. His friends reminded him that had he taken the Treasury on Walpole's resignation, he would now have been still at the helm. Pelham's great adviser, Lord Orford, said to him, "If you had taken my advice, and held the Exchequer under Wilmington, the whole had dropped into your mouth." Pelham, however, received the appointment from the king, and this was communicated in a letter from Carteret, who candidly told him that, as the old friend and colleague of Pulteney, Lord Bath, he had done all in his power to secure the office for him, but now he would support Pelham cordially, notwithstanding. Pelham was at this period forty-seven years of age, of far inferior talent to Orford, but pursued his cautious principles and acted under his advice.

Fox, on this occasion, also introduced the subject of the Prince of Wales's allowance, who, he contended, had far less than had been granted to a Prince of Wales since the accession of the House of Hanover, that allowance being one hundred thousand pounds a-year; and the present parsimony towards the prince being grossly aggravated by the royal Civil List having been raised, in this reign, from six hundred thousand pounds to nine hundred thousand pounds, and the Privy Purse from six thousand pounds to sixty thousand pounds. Fox's remarks were rendered all the more telling because, when the House went into committee on the finances, Pitt had made a most flourishing statement of the condition of the Exchequer. He took off the taxes which pressed most on the poorer portion of the populationnamely, on servants, the late augmentations on malt, on waggons, on inhabited houses, etc.,to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds and appropriated four hundred thousand pounds towards the reduction of the National Debt. Still blind to the storm rising across the strait of Dover, he declared that these were mere trifles compared with what he should be able to do shortly, for never was there a time when a more durable peace might be expected!

The year 1839 will be always memorable for the establishment of the system of a uniform penny postage, one of those great reforms distinguishing the age in which we live, which are fraught with vast social changes, and are destined to fructify throughout all time with social benefits to the human race. To one mind pre-eminently the British Empire is indebted for the penny postage. We are now so familiar with its advantages, and its reasonableness seems so obvious, that it is not easy to comprehend the difficulties with which Sir Rowland Hill had to contend in convincing the authorities and the public of the wisdom and feasibility of his plan. Mr. Rowland Hill had written a pamphlet on Post Office Reform in 1837. It took for its starting-point the fact that whereas the postal revenue showed for the past twenty years a positive though slight diminution, it ought to have shown an increase of 507,700 a year, in order to have simply kept pace with the growth of population, and an increase of nearly four times that amount in order to have kept pace with the growth of the analogous though far less exorbitant duties imposed on stage coaches. The population in 1815 was 19,552,000; in 1835 it had increased to 25,605,000. The net revenue arising from the Post Office in 1815 was 1,557,291; in 1835 it had decreased to 1,540,300. At this period the rate of postage actually imposed (beyond the limits of the London District Office) varied from fourpence to one and eightpence for a single letter, which was interpreted to mean a single piece of paper, not exceeding an ounce in weight. A second piece of paper or any other enclosure, however small, constituted a double letter. A single sheet of paper, if it at all exceeded an ounce in weight, was charged with fourfold postage. The average charge on inland general post letters was nearly ninepence for each letter. In London the letter-boxes were only open from eight in the morning to seven p.m., and a letter written after that hour on Friday did not reach Uxbridge earlier than Tuesday morning.