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      The court then adjourned to the 15th of April. The case of the Begums was opened by Mr. Adams, and concluded the next day by Mr. Pelham. Then sixteen days were occupied by the evidence, and at length, on the 3rd of June, Sheridan began to sum up the evidence, and, in a speech which lasted three days, he kept the court in the highest state of excitement. The place was crowded to suffocation during the whole time, and as much as fifty guineas is said to have been paid for a single seat. Greatly as this speech of Sheridan's was admired, it was felt to be too ornate and dramatic: there was not the deep and genuine feeling of Burke in it, and the effect was so evidently studied, that, on concluding, Sheridan fell back into the arms of Burke, as if overcome by his own sensations. The prorogation of Parliament was now at hand, and only two out of the twenty charges had been gone through: neither of them had yet been replied to, and yet other causes of engrossing interest arising, the trial was entirely suspended till the 20th of April of the following year! Then it was taken up languidly and at uncertain intervals, and rapidly became a mere exhibition of rhetoric. Further, Burke's unlawyer-like style and intemperance of language drew upon him the censure of the Lord Chancellor, and even of the House of Commons. A revulsion of public feeling took place, and was seen in the acquittal of Stockdale who was tried for libelling the promoters of the trial. Three years afterwards Burke himself renounced sixteen of his charges, and all popular interest in the trial gradually disappeared.


      It is true that George II. was also a brave and staunch commander, prepared to die on the spot rather than yield, as he had shown at Dettingen. But the greater part of his forces at Finchley were raw levies, and might not have stood better than the troops had done in Scotland. There was a terror of the Highlanders, even in the army; and as for London itself, the panic, when it was heard that they had got between the duke's army and the capital, was, according to Fielding, who was then in London, incredible. There was a frantic rush upon the Bank of England, and it is said that it must have closed had it not gained time by paying in sixpences. The shops were shut, business was at a stand, the Ministers were in the utmost terror, and the Duke of Newcastle was said to have shut himself up for a day, pondering whether he should declare for the Pretender or not. The king himself was by no means confident of the result. He is said to have sent most of his precious effects on board a yacht at the Tower quay, ready to put off at a minute's warning. The day on which the news of the rebels being at Derby reached London was long renowned as Black Friday. In such a state of terror, and the army at Finchley inferior in numbers, and infinitely inferior in bravery, who can doubt that Charles would for a time have made himself master of the metropolis?

      He rode away at once after they had lunched. And Felipa went to her room, and dropped down shivering beside the little red-hot iron stove, moaning between her clenched teeth.

      To approach Ferdinand's forces, the French were obliged to pass a narrow ground between a river and a marsh, and were so cramped that they committed the very error which cost them the battle of Blenheim. They placed the cavalry in the centre, and made wings of their infantry. The cavalry made a succession of furious charges on Ferdinand's centre, but this stood compact and immovable, till the French horse, being discouraged, the Allies charged in their turn, and the centre of the army, the cavalry, being thus driven back, the whole line gave way. At this moment Ferdinand sent orders to Lord George Sackville to charge with the cavalry, which had been kept in reserve, and thus complete the destruction of the flying French. But Lord George, who had been constantly quarrelling with Ferdinand, as well as his own second in command, the Marquis of Granby, now did not appear to comprehend a succession of orders, and sat still. But Ferdinand, having lost patience, sent word to the Marquis of Granby to advance, and he promptly obeyed, but it was now too late; the French had got half an hour's start. Thus the English cavalry was deprived of all share in the victory; but the English foot had borne the chief brunt of the attack, being in the centre. Six British regiments, in fact, for a time maintained the whole shock of the French. Sackville was tried by court martial, and dismissed from all his military appointments. The battle of Minden was fought on the 1st of August, 1759.It struck even through Landor's pain-blurred brain that it was odd. But the few faculties he could command still were all engaged in keeping himself in the saddle until he could reach his own house, where Ellton and Felipa were waiting to get him to his room.


      CAPTURE OF WOLFE TONE. (See p. 464.)

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      "Geronimo does not want that any more. He has[Pg 271] tried to do right. He is not thinking bad. Such stories ought not to be put in the newspapers."

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      Bolingbroke was now Prime Minister, and he hastened to arrange his Cabinet entirely on Jacobite principles. So far as he was concerned, the country was to be handed over to the Pretender and popery on the queen's death. He would not run the risk of a new antagonist in the shape of a Lord Treasurer, but put the Treasury in commission, with Sir William Wyndham at its head. The Privy Seal was given to Atterbury; Bromley was continued as the other Secretary of State; and the Earl of Mar, the rankest of Jacobites, was made Secretary of State for Scotland. Ormonde, long engaged in the Pretender's plot, was made Commander-in-Chiefa most significant appointment; Buckingham was made Lord President, and Harcourt Lord Chancellor. As for the inferior posts, he found great difficulty in filling them up. "The sterility of good men," wrote Erasmus Lewis to Swift, "is incredible." Good men, according to the unprincipled Bolingbroke's notions, were not to be found in a hurry. There were plenty of candidates ready, but it may give an impressive notion of the state of that party, that there was scarcely a man beyond those already appointed whom Bolingbroke could trust. The Cabinet never was completed. What his own notions of moral or political honesty were, may be imagined from the fact that he did not hesitate to attempt a coalition with the Whigs. He gave a dinner-party at his house in Golden Square to Stanhope, Walpole, Craggs, General Cadogan, and other leaders; but though Walpole, when Minister himself, boasted that every man had his price, Bolingbroke had not yet discovered Walpole's price nor that of his colleagues. They to a man demanded, as a sine qua non, that the Pretender should be compelled to remove to Rome, or to some place much farther off than Lorraine, and Bolingbroke assured them that the queen would never consent to such a banishment of her brother. Nothing but the lowest opinion of men's principles could have led Bolingbroke to expect any other result from these Whig leaders. Perhaps he only meant to sound their real views; perhaps only to divert public attention from his real designs, which the very names of his coadjutors in the Ministry must have made patent enough to all men of any penetration. The very same day that he thus gave this Whig dinner he assured Gualtier that his sentiments towards "the king" were just the same as ever, provided his Majesty took such measures as would suit the people of England. Time only was wanting for this traitor-Minister to betray the country to its old despotisms and troubles; but such time was not in the plans of Providence. The end of Anne was approaching faster than was visible to human eyes; but the shrewd and selfish Marlborough had a pretty strong instinct of it, and was drawing nearer and nearer to the scene of action, ready to secure himself whichever way[22] the balance inclined. He was at Ostend, prepared to pass over at an hour's notice, and to the last moment keeping up his correspondence with the two Courts of Hanover and Bar-le-duc. Both despised and suspected him, but feared him at the same time. Such was still his influence, especially with the army, that whichever party he adopted was considered pretty sure to succeed. That it was likely to succeed was equally certain before Marlborough did adopt it. Lockhart of Carnwath, one of the most active and sagacious Jacobites, and likely to be in the secrets of the Jacobite party, says that the Pretender, to test the sincerity of Marlborough, asked the loan of one hundred thousand pounds from him, as a proof of his fidelity. He did not abide the test, but soon afterwards offered twenty thousand pounds to the Electoral Prince, to enable him to come over to England. The moment that Marlborough was prepared, with his deep-rooted love of money, to do that, it might be certainly pronounced that he was confident of the success of the Hanoverians.The feelings of the constituencies were undergoing a speedy change, and the fact was now being rapidly proved. For three months, whilst the Opposition in the House of Commons were exulting on their majority, the majority amongst the people was sliding from them; and, whilst they were straining every nerve to prevent the dissolution of Parliament, they were only more securely preparing their own fall, for Pitt and the Government had been zealously at work undermining them. The nation was pleased at his bravery, and at his disinterestedness in refusing the sinecure of the Clerkship of the Pells, though his private means were scarcely 300 a year.


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