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Such being the state of our relations with America, Sir Robert Peel's Government determined to send to Washington a special ambassador who should be clothed with full powers to effect an amicable adjustment of all the causes of dispute. The gentleman selected for this purpose was Lord Ashburton. A more judicious selection could not possibly have been made. Mr. Alexander Baring, who had been raised to the peerage in 1835, having been previously President of the Board of Trade and Master of the Mint, was known throughout the world as one of our merchant princes, and was the husband of an American lady, the daughter of Mr. William Bingham, of Philadelphia, a senator of the United States. The hopes which his mission excited were not disappointed. He sailed from England in February, 1842, and after a tedious and stormy passage, arrived at New York on the 1st of April. He immediately entered upon negotiations with Mr. Webster. They continued till the month of August, when a treaty was agreed upon and signed at Washington by the two plenipotentiaries, the mutual exchange of ratifications to take place in London within six months of that date. By that treaty the line of the north-eastern boundary was settled, concession on the St. John being purchased by the surrender of a strip of land to the States of New York and Vermont. It was stipulated that Great Britain and America should each maintain a sufficient squadron or naval force, carrying not less than eighty guns, for the purpose of enforcing, separately and respectively, the laws, rights, and obligations of each of the two countries for the suppression of the slave trade, and should use their joint influence for suppressing the slave markets. It also provided for the mutual delivery to justice of all persons charged with murder, or assault with intent to murder, or with piracy, robbery, forgery, and arson committed within the jurisdiction of either country, should they be found within the territories of the other; but the evidence of criminality should be sufficient to warrant the committal for trial of the fugitive according to the laws of the country in which he was apprehended. This was a distinct withdrawal of Lord Palmerston's pretensions with regard to the McLeod affair. The mission was thus eminently successful, but Lord Palmerston was of another opinion, and declaimed in the House of Commons against the "Ashburton surrender." But the Commons were unprepared to condemn the work, and the debate ended in a count-out. The House of Lords, on the motion of Brougham, passed a vote of thanks to Lord Ashburton.
The name proved prophetic. Provisions fell short from bad management in transportation, and the men grew hungry and discontented. September had begun; the place was unwholesome, and the malarious fever of Fort Frontenac infected the new encampment. The soldiers sickened rapidly. La Barre, racked with suspense, waited impatiently the return of Le Moyne. We have seen already the result of his mission, and how he and Lamberville, in spite of the envoy of the English governor, gained from the Onondaga chiefs the promise to meet Onontio in council. Le Moyne appeared at La Famine on the third of the month, bringing 105 with him Big Mouth and thirteen other deputies. La Barre gave them a feast of bread, wine, and salmon trout, and on the morning of the fourth the council began.
de la Chrtient Lettre au 7 Oct., 1665.
At this crisis George Grenville brought in and carried through a measure, which showed how useful he might have been, had he never been raised out of his proper element to rule and alienate colonies. He was now fast sinking into the grave, though but fifty-eight years of age. This measure was a bill to transfer the trial of controverted elections from the whole House of Commons to a select Committee of it. Ever since the famous Aylesbury case, the whole House had taken the charge of examining all petitions against the return of candidates and deciding them. This was a great obstruction of business; and Grenville now proposed to leave the inquiry and decision to the select Committee, which was to be composed of fifteen members of the House, thirteen of whom were to be chosen by the contesting claimants for the seat, out of a list of forty-five, elected by ballot from the whole House. The other two were to be named, one each, by the contesting candidates. The Committee was empowered to examine papers, call and swear witnesses, and, in fact, to exercise all the authority previously wielded by the whole House. It was opposed by Welbore Ellis, Rigby, Dyson, and Charles James Fox, not yet broken from his office shell into a full-fledged patriot. It was, however, carried, and being supported in the Lords by Lord Mansfield, who on this occasion manifested an unusual disregard of his party principles, it was passed there too.This style of verse was thought very magnificent by Anna Seward, of Lichfield, who was intimate with Darwin when he lived there in his earlier career, and who herself was a poetess of some pretension. Miss Seward, however, showed better judgment in being amongst the first to point out the rising fame of Southey and Scott. The verse of Darwin brought Pope's metre to the highest pitch of magniloquence; and the use of the c?sura gives it a perfectly Darwinian peculiarity.
Both the Government and people of Britain responded to these demands with enthusiasm. War with Spain was declared to be at an end; all the Spanish prisoners were freed from confinement, and were sent home in well-provided vessels. The Ministers, and Canning especially, avowed their conviction that the time was come to make an effectual blow at the arrogant power of Buonaparte. Sir Arthur Wellesley was selected to command a force of nine thousand infantry and one regiment of cavalry, which was to sail immediately to the Peninsula, and to act as circumstances should determine. This force sailed from Cork on the 12th of July, and was to be followed by another of ten thousand men. Sir Arthur reached Corunna on the 20th of the same month, and immediately put himself in communication with the junta of Galicia. All was confidence amongst the Spaniards. They assured him, as the deputies in London had assured the Ministers, that they wanted no assistance from foreign troops; that they had men to any amount, full of bravery; they only wanted arms and money. He furnished them with a considerable sum of money, but his experienced mind foresaw that they needed more than they imagined to contend with the troops of Buonaparte. They wanted efficient officers, and thorough discipline, and he felt confident that they must, in their overweening assurance, suffer severe reverses. He warned the junta that Buonaparte, if he met with obstructions in reaching them by land, would endeavour to cross into Asturias by sea, and he advised them to fit out the Spanish ships lying at Ferrol to prevent this; but they replied that they could not divert their attention from their resistance by land, and must leave the protection of their coasts to their British allies. Sir Arthur then sailed directly for Oporto, where he found the Portuguese right glad to have the assistance of a British force, and most willing to co-operate with it, and to have their raw levies trained by British officers. On the 24th of July he opened his communication with the town. The bishop was heading the insurrection, and three thousand men were in drill, but badly armed and equipped. A thousand muskets had been furnished by the British fleet, but many men had no arms except fowling-pieces. Wellesley made arrangements for horses and mules to drag his cannon, and convey his baggage, and then he sailed as far as the Tagus, to ascertain the number and condition of the French forces about Lisbon. Satisfied on this head, he returned, and landed his troops, on the 1st of August, at Figueras, in Mondego Bay. This little place had been taken by the Portuguese insurgents, and was now held by three hundred mariners from British ships. Higher up the river lay five thousand Portuguese regulars, at Coimbra. On the 5th he was joined by General Spencer, from Cadiz, with four thousand men; thus raising his force to thirteen thousand foot and about five hundred cavalry. The greatest rejoicing was at the moment taking place amongst the Portuguese from the news of General Dupont's surrender to Casta?os.