In Germany, Frederick of Prussia was hard put to it. A fresh army of Russians, under General Soltikow, advanced to the Oder, and another army of Austrians, under Laudohn, advanced to form a junction with them. To prevent this, Frederick sent General Wedel to encounter the Russians, but he was defeated by them on the 23rd of July, with heavy loss. Frederick himself then hastened against them, but, before his arrival, the Austrians had joined Soltikow, making a united force of sixty thousand, which Frederick attacked, on the 12th of August, with forty-eight thousand, at the village of Kunersdorf, close to Frankfort-on-the-Oder. At first he was successful; but, attempting to push his advantages, he was completely beaten, the whole of his army being killed or scattered to three thousand men. So completely did his ruin now seem accomplished, that, expecting the Russians, Austrians, Poles, Swedes, and Saxons to come down on him on all sides, he once more contemplated taking the poison that he still carried about him; wrote a letter to that effect to his Prime Minister, and directed the oath of allegiance to be taken to his nephew, and that his brother, Prince Henry, should be regent; but finding that the Russians, who had lost twenty thousand men, were actually drawing off, he again took courage, was soon at the head of thirty thousand men, and with these was hastening to the relief of Dresden, when he was paralysed by the news that General Finck, with twelve thousand men, had suffered himself to be surrounded at Maxen, and compelled to surrender. Despairing of relieving Dresden during this campaign, Frederick eventually took up his winter quarters at Freiberg, in Saxony, and employed himself in raising and drilling fresh soldiers; compelled, however, to pay his way by debasing both the Prussian coin, and the English gold which he received in subsidy, by a very large alloy. Scarcely was the Rockingham Administration formed when they determined to recall England's ablest admiral, Sir George Rodney, and they carried this into execution in May of this year, and appointed Admiral Pigott in his stead. Lord Keppel, who had shown himself so sensitive in his own case, now he was at the head of the Admiralty not only recalled Rodney because he was of another party, but he did it in the coldest and most direct manner, through his secretary, Mr. Stephen. However, before this order of recall was issuedthe 1st of MayRodney had fought one of the greatest and most decisive battles which adorn the history of our navy. He had gone in all haste to the West Indies, with fourteen ships of the line, to join Sir Samuel Hood, who was vainly contending against the fleet of De Grasse and a strong land force at St. Christopher's. But, as De Grasse had landed eight thousand men, under De Bouill, and Hood had no land troops, he could not save the island. After its capture Rodney fell in with him, and their united fleet amounted to thirty-six ships of the line. It was well, for Hood informed Rodney that De Grasse was intending to join the Spanish general, Galvez, at St. Domingo, where they were to sail for a grand attack on the chief of the British West India Islands, Jamaica, almost the only island, excepting Barbadoes and Antigua, which Britain now owned in that part of the globe. On the 8th of April he was signalled that the French fleet was unmoored and proceeding to sea. Rodney instantly put out, and the next morning discovered this fleet under Dominica. The wind being in favour of De Grasse, he stood away for Guadeloupe; but Rodney gave chase, and Hood's squadron getting far in advance, De Grasse veered round in the hope of beating him before the rest of Rodney's fleet could come up. Hood received the fire of three men-of-war in the Barfleur, his ship, for some time; but he stood bravely to the enemy, and the wind now favouring Rodney, he came up and joined in the engagement. Several ships on each side were so much damaged that they were almost useless, and Captain Bayne, of the Alfred, was killed. The next morning the French were nearly out of sight; but Rodney pressed after them, for he knew that if they succeeded in joining the Spaniards, he should have sixty sail, instead of thirty-six, to contend with.

Whilst our armies were barely holding their own in Spain, our fleets were the masters of all seas. In the north, though Sweden was nominally at war with us, in compliance with the arrogant demands of Buonaparte, Bernadotte, the elected Crown Prince, was too politic to carry out his embargo literally. The very existence of Sweden depended on its trade, and it was in the power of the British blockading fleet to prevent a single Swedish vessel from proceeding to sea. But in spite of the angry threats of Napoleon, who still thought that Bernadotte, though become the prince and monarch elect of an independent country, should remain a Frenchman, and, above all, the servile slave of his will, that able man soon let it be understood that he was inclined to amicable relations with Great Britain; and Sir James de Saumarez, admiral of our Baltic fleet, not only permitted the Swedish merchantmen to pass unmolested, but on various occasions gave them protection. Thus the embargo system was really at an end, both in Sweden and in Russia; for Alexander also refused to ruin Russia for the benefit of Buonaparte, and both of these princes, as we have seen, were in a secret league to support one another. Denmark, or, rather, its sovereign, though the nephew of the King of Great Britain, remained hostile to us, remembering not only the severe chastisements our fleets had given Copenhagen, but also the facility with which Napoleon could, from the north of Germany, overrun Denmark and add it to his now enormous empire. In March of this year the Danes endeavoured to recover the small island of Anholt, in the Cattegat, which we held; but they were beaten off with severe loss, leaving three or four hundred men prisoners of war.

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The next morning, Wednesday, the 7th of June, the consternation was universal. The shops continued closed, and people barricaded their houses as well as they could, many of them chalking "No Popery!" on their doors, or hanging blue silk, the Protestant Association colour, from their windows. Dr. Johnson, in a walk from Fleet Street to see the ruins of the Old Bailey, describes the coolness and composure with which "the Protestants," men and boys, were employed in plundering and stripping houses, unmolested by soldiers, constables, or any one. Great numbers of the mob were going about, armed with iron bars torn from the railings in front of Lord Mansfield's, to levy contributions on the householders. Some went singly; three mere boys were observed thus engaged in company; and one man, mounted on horseback, refused to receive anything less than gold. With the same want of sagacity which was driving Ministers and Parliament to the loss of America, they were still persecuting Wilkes into popularity. On the 14th of November, 1768, Sir Joseph Mawby, member for Southwark, presented a petition from Wilkes, reciting all the proceedings of Government against him, and praying for his being heard at the bar of the House. Wilkes appeared before the House on the 31st of January, where he took exception to the word "blasphemous" as applied to the "Essay on Woman." Thurlow, afterwards Lord Chancellor, a most swearing, blaspheming man, protested that if the House did not declare it blasphemous, it would be a disgrace to it. However, the words "impious" and "obscene" were substituted. On the 1st of February the House determined that his petition was frivolous. The next day the House went into another charge against Wilkes. In the preceding April Lord Weymouth, previous to the riots in St. George's Fields, had issued a letter, as Secretary of State, to the magistrates of Lambeth, warning them of the danger of riots taking place in the endeavour to free Wilkes from prison, and offering them the aid of the military. Wilkes, while in the King's Bench, had obtained a copy of this letter, and sent it to the St. James's Chronicle with his own comments, styling it a "hellish project," and as the direct cause of that "horrid massacre." Weymouth complained to the House of Lords that this was a breach of privilege. A conference was had with the Commons; Wilkes was brought to the Bar, where Baldwin, the printer, had acknowledged the letter to be his, and then, so far from denying it, claimed the thanks of the country for having exposed that "bloody scroll." The Commons decided that he was guilty of an insolent and seditious libel, and on the following day, February 3rd, on the motion of Lord Barrington, he was expelled the House, by a majority of two hundred and nineteen to one hundred and thirty-seven. The king had directly asked for such a verdict by a letter to Lord North, declaring that Wilkes's expulsion was "highly expedient and must be effected."

Sir John F. W. Herschel, son of Sir William Herschel, conversant with almost every branch of science, also devoted himself with remarkable success to the cultivation of sidereal astronomy. He evinced very early a taste for mathematics, but did not devote himself to astronomy until after his father's death in 1822. He then gave himself up to it without reserve. At that period the Southern Hemisphere was to astronomers little more than an unknown region. For the purpose of exploring it, he visited the Cape of Good Hope in 1834, where, making use of his father's method, he continued his observations for more than four years, examining with great care, among other things, the nebul? and double stars. On his return to Europe, he gave the results of his labours to the world in a work of deep interest, and of the highest importance; and the value of the services he had rendered to science was recognised, not only by the scientific world, but by his Sovereign also, who created him a baronet. After he was appointed Master of the Mint, in 1850, he took no further part in practical astronomy, but he published many excellent works, not only on that subject, but on science generally; and he displayed a thorough acquaintance with natural history, the belles-lettres, and the fine arts, and translated a portion of the "Iliad." This great astronomer and mathematician died in May, 1871. Lord Rosse's labours to improve the telescope commenced about 1828, and continued unremittingly until 1844. His masterpiece was of six feet aperture and 54 feet in focal length.


It might have been imagined that this magnificent and destructive repulse would have convinced the allies that the siege was hopeless, but they were pretty well informed that General Elliot had well nigh exhausted his ammunition in this prodigal death-shower, and they had still their great combined fleet, snug in the narrow bay, with scouts in the Strait to prevent the carrying in of supplies. But on the 24th of September news arrived at Madrid that the fleet of Lord Howe was under weigh for Gibraltar. Howe's fleet of thirty-four sail-of-the-line, six frigates, and three fire-ships, though in the neighbourhood of one of fifty sail-of-the-line, besides a number of frigates and smaller vessels, managed to get into the bay of Gibraltar all safe, amid the wildest acclamations of soldiers and inhabitants. By the 18th of October all the store-ships had discharged their cargoes, and had passed through the Strait, and on the 19th Lord Howe followed them with his fleet. The enemy's fleet then came out after him, and the next day they were in the open ocean, and Howe proceeded to their leeward to receive them. Some of their vessels had suffered[296] in the late gales, but they had still at least forty-four sail to Howe's thirty-four, and, having the weather-gauge, had every advantage. But after a partial firing, in which they received great damage from Howe, they hauled off and got into Cadiz bay. Howe, then dispatching part of his fleet to the West Indies and a second squadron to the Irish coast, returned home himself. The news of the grand defence of Gibraltar produced a wonderful rejoicing in England; thanks were voted by Parliament to the officers and privates of the brave garrison; General Elliot was invested with the Order of the Bath on the king's bastion in sight of the works which he had preserved, and on his return, in 1787, at the age of seventy, he was created a Peer as Lord Heathfield of Gibraltar.

Lord Oxford's case was brought at length to a termination also in his favour. His friends having complained of the hardship of keeping him without a hearing for nearly two years, the 24th of June was appointed for the trial to take place in Westminster Hall. The Commons again met in committee to complete the evidence against him; but it was now found that Walpole, who was the chairman, and who had formerly pursued the inquiry with all eagerness, had suddenly cooled, and seldom came near the Committee; and they therefore appointed a new one. In fact, he and Townshend, out of opposition, were doing that secretly which they could not do openly without loss of characterthey were exerting themselves in favour of their old antagonist, and they soon hit on a scheme for bringing him off without any trial at all. The Lords were persuaded to listen to any evidence in support of the charge of[39] misdemeanour before they heard that on the grave charge of treason, and the result foreseen by the Opposition took place when the resolution was reported to the Commons. They immediately determined that it was an infringement of their privileges, and declined compliance with it. This was what Walpole and the then partisans, secret or open, of Lord Oxford, had foreseen. The Commons refusing to attend in Westminster Hall on the day fixed, the Lords returned to their own House, and passed a resolution declaring the Earl of Oxford acquitted, an announcement received by the people with acclamation. The Commons then demanded that Oxford should be excepted from the Act of Grace; but, notwithstanding, he was released from the Tower, and the Commons never renewed the impeachment.

Lord Boyle, son of Lord Shannon, father and son received each 15,000 for their boroughs.