The treaty between Russia, Prussia, and Austria for the first division of Poland was signed at St. Petersburg on the 5th of August, 1772. The three robber powers now promised to rest satisfied with their booty; to respect the rights and remaining territories of Polandwords hollow and worthless as they who used them. The invaders divided at this time about one-third of Poland between them. Prussia appropriated the whole of Pomerania, part of Great Poland, the bishopric of Warmia, and the palatinates of Marienburg and Culm; with complete command of the lower part of the Vistula. The whole of this territory did not exceed eight hundred square miles, but it was a territory of vast importance to Prussia, as it united Pomerania with the rest of that kingdom. Russia and Austria acquired immensely more in extent. Russia took nearly the whole of Lithuania, with the vast country between the rivers Dwina and Dniester. Austria secured the country along the left bank of the Vistula from Wieliczka to the confluence of the Vistula and the Viroz. But Russia had Galicia, the palatinate of Belz, and a part of Volhynia. Unsupported by France, England had no course but to acquiesce in the arrangement.


Not one of these monarchs, whose subjects had shed their blood and laid down their lives by hundreds of thousands to replace them in their power, had in return given these subjects a recompense by the institution of a more liberal form of government. The German kings and princes had openly promised such constitutions to induce them to expel Buonaparte; and, this accomplished, they shamefully broke their word. As Lord Byron well observed, we had put down one tyrant only to establish ten. In Spain, where we had made such stupendous exertions to restore Ferdinand, that monarch entered about the end of March; and his arrival was a signal for all the old royalists and priests to gather round him, and to insist on the annihilation of the Constitution made by the Cortes. He went to Gerona, where he was joined by General Elio and forty thousand men. Thence he marched to Saragossa and Valencia. At that city Te Deum was sung for his restoration, and, surrounded by soldiers and priests, he declared that the Cortes had never been legally convoked; that they had deprived him of the sovereignty, and the nobles and clergy of their status; and that he would not swear to the Constitution which they had prepared. On the 12th of May he entered his capital, amid the most frantic joy of the ignorant populace, and proceeded at once to seize all Liberal members of the Cortes, and throw them into prison. Wellington hastened to Madrid, and with his brother, Sir Henry Wellesley, the British Ambassador, and General Whittingham, in vain urged on Ferdinand to establish a liberal constitution, and govern on liberal principles. It was clear there was a time of terrible and bloody strife before Spain between the old tyrannies and superstitions and the new ideas.

The discussion of the question, though it was so summarily dismissed as it regarded the Church, did not prevent a certain number of the Dissenters from coming forward to endeavour to relieve themselves of the yoke of these Articles. In the Toleration Act, passed after the Revolution, it had been stated that this toleration was conceded to those only who were willing to subscribe these Articles, with the exception of the first clause of the 20th, which asserts that the Church has power to decree rites and ceremonies, and to settle controversies of faith; the 34th, which relates to the traditions of the Church; the 35th, relating to the homilies; and the 36th, relating to the consecration of bishops and ministers. With these exceptions, the Articles had been little objected to by the Dissenters till the Presbyterians of England had, for the most part, embraced Unitarianism. It was chiefly from this class that the movement against these Articles now took its rise; but not altogether, for the subscription to the Articles included in the Toleration Act having for some time been little insisted on, some Dissenters, who had not subscribed them, were menaced with trouble on that account by officious clergymen. Amongst these Dr. Doddridge was mentioned as one who had been so disturbed. It was now thought fit to press the question on Parliament, and in April, 1772, Sir Henry Houghton moved for leave to bring in a Bill for that object, under the title of "A Bill for the further Relief of Dissenters." Sir Roger Newdigate, destined for so many years to be the champion of Church Toryism, led the way in opposition, as one of the members of the University of Oxford; and he was supported by two or three men of the same stamp. In this case, however, Burke voted for the Bill as only reasonable, and it passed by a majority of seventy against nine. But in the Lords, the Bishops came forward in full strength against it, and Barrington, Bishop of Llandaff, pointed it out as a Socinian movement, and quoted, with telling effect, some of the most objectionable passages from the writings of Dr. Priestley. There were cries of "Monstrous! Horrible! Shocking!" and, amongst the utterers of these, the loudest was Lord Chatham. The Bishop of London said that, so far from the Dissenters generally advocating this measure, he had been waited on by some of their ministers to inform him that they regarded it, not as a measure to relieve Dissenters from the Articles of the Church, but certain persons from the obligations of Christianity. It was thrown out by a hundred and two against twenty-nine.

Things being in this position on the arrival of Admiral Lord Howe, he determined still, notwithstanding the Proclamation of Independence, to make every effort to procure a last chance of peace. He deeply regretted the delays which had attended his fleet, and lost no time in sending on shore an intimation that he brought conciliatory overtures. His first act was to dispatch a letter to Franklin, who, in England, had expressed so earnest a desire for accommodation of all differences, informing him of his commission to seek reconciliation, and of his powers for the purpose. But the Declaration being now made, Franklin had no longer a motive to conceal his real sentiments, and he replied in terms which greatly astonished Howe, filling his letters only with complaints of "atrocious injuries," and of what America had endured from "your proud and uninformed nation." Howe next turned to Washington, to whom he dispatched a flag of truce, bearing a letter to the Commander-in-Chief. But as Washington could only be regarded as an insurgent leader, Lord Howe thought he could not officially recognise a title conferred only by the American Congress, and therefore did not address him as "General," but simply as "George Washington, Esquire." Washington refused to treat in any other character than that of Commander-in-Chief of the American forces. He instantly returned Howe's letter, and forwarded the other papers to Congress. One of these was a circular declaration to the late royal Governors, enclosing a copy of Lord Howe's commission, and stating that all who should submit would be pardoned; that any town or province which declared its adhesion to the Crown should at once be exempt from the provisions of all the late Acts of Parliament, especially as regarded their trade; and that, moreover, all such persons as were active in promoting the settlement of their districts should be duly rewarded. The moment Congress received this document they ordered it to be published in the newspapers, that "the people might see how the insidious Court of Great Britain had endeavoured to disarm and amuse them," and that "the few whom hopes of moderation and justice on the part of the British Government had still kept in suspense, might now at length be convinced that the valour alone of their country is to save its liberties." Lord Howe, undeterred by this spirited proceeding of Congress, on the 20th of July sent the Adjutant-General once more to Washington, with another letter, still addressed to "George Washington, Esquire," but adding a number of etceteras. Washington was not to be caught by so shallow an artifice. The proposed interview, like the last, therefore, came to nothing, except that Congress took advantage of these repeated efforts to insinuate that the British were afraid of fighting.

The fleet sailed from the Downs on the 28th of July, 1809, and on the 30th it touched at the islands of South Beveland and Walcheren. The orders of the Government were, "the capture or destruction of the enemy's ships, building or afloat at Antwerp and Flushing; the destruction of the arsenals at Antwerp, Terneuse, and Flushing; the reduction of the island of Walcheren, and, if possible, the rendering of the Scheldt no longer navigable for ships." Nelson, who had contemplated this enterprise, had calculated that it would require four or five thousand men, and could be accomplished in a week. But now Buonaparte had rendered the task more difficult, and there was no Nelson to do it. The most sagacious of the officers pointed out that the first rush should be for Antwerp, as the extreme point of the expedition, so as to destroy or capture the vessels there before the French could come to the rescue. The places nearer to the sea could be taken in returning. Had the troops landed at Blankenberg, they could have made a rapid march along a paved road through Bruges and Ghent, and captured Antwerp, only forty-five miles distant, whilst the fleet ascended the Scheldt to receive them on their return; but no such common-sense ideas found acceptance with the commanders. They determined to reduce Flushing first, and the other forts on the Scheldt, as Lillo and Liefkenshoek, in succession, by which time it was certain that the French would appear at Antwerp in numbers sufficient to protect it. Flushing was attacked on the 1st of August, and did not surrender till the 16th. Had this been the reduction of Antwerp, the rest of the objects of the expedition would have followed of course; but Lord Chatham and Rear-Admiral Strachan were in no hurry. They remained signing the capitulation, securing six thousand prisoners that they had taken, and reducing two small islands to the north of the eastern Scheldt, till the 21st (three whole weeks virtually wasted!), and on the 23rd they landed at Ter Goes, on the neighbouring island of South Beveland. Here, again, they delayed another precious fortnight, whilst the[582] French were planting batteries at every turn of the river between them and Antwerp; had drawn a boom-chain across the channel between Lillo and Liefkenshoek; and had sunk vessels to obstruct the narrowest part of the channel beyond. They still talked of forcing their way to Antwerp; but according to a satiric rhyme of the time