Such was Massena's situation, so early as the commencement of Novemberhaving to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of PortugalOporto, Coimbra, Abrantesand all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena's army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: "It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial expos as the whole expense of the entire French army."

There were three or four more of these utterly unequal fights, in which the Americans succeeded in capturing small British vessels when at the point of sinking. Such was the case with the Macedon, which, with a crew of two hundred and sixty-two men and thirty-four boys, fought the United States, with more and heavier guns, and with a crew of four hundred and seventy-seven men and one boy. The Macedon was a complete wreck before she struck. Similar cases were those of the Java frigate, Captain Lambert, which struck to the Constitution, and the British eighteen-gun brig-sloop the Frolic, which struck to the American brig-sloop Wasp, of eighteen guns. Here the arms were equal, but the crews most unequal, for the Frolic had a small crew, very sickly from five years' service in the West Indies, and the ship itself was in bad condition. Within a very few hours the Frolic was re-captured by the British seventy-four gun-ship, the Poictiers, which carried off the American vessel too. In none of these cases was there anything like an equal fight, the Americans being too shrewd to risk that if they[38] could avoid it. In all cases a large proportion of the crews was made up of British deserters. The accounts, however, which the Americans published of these affairs were as usual of the most vaunting character.

In architecture the first place is due to the patriarch of the science, Sir John Soane, who was[434] employed in erecting or improving numerous public edifices in the metropolis and elsewhere. The atrocious law-courts, which he added to Westminster Hall, were happily removed in 1883. In 1826 he built the Freemasons' Hall, in Great Queen Street, having been chosen grand superintendent of works to the fraternity of Freemasons some years before. In 1833 he completed the State Paper Office in St. James's Park. He was now in his eightieth year, and he retired from the active labours of the profession in which he had been engaged for sixty years, during forty-five of which he had been in the service of the Bank of England. At his death, which occurred on January 20th, 1837, his house and museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields became the property of the public.

In the Bill which was founded on the resolutions the term of apprenticeship was limited to six years for the plantation negroes, and four for all others. The Bill passed the House of Lords with slight opposition; and on the 28th of August, 1833, it received the Royal Assent. It does not appear that William IV. urged any plea of conscience against signing this Act of Emancipation, although in his early days he had been, in common with all the Royal Family, except the Duke of Gloucester, opposed to the abolition of the slave trade. The Act was to take effect on the 1st day of August, 1834, on which day slavery was to cease throughout the British colonies. All slaves who at that date should appear to be six years old and upwards were to be registered as "apprentice labourers" to those who had been their owners. All slaves who happened to be brought into the United Kingdom, and all apprentice labourers who might be brought into it with the consent of their owners, were to be absolutely free. The apprentices were divided into three classes. The first class consisted of "predial apprentice labourers," usually employed in agriculture, or the manufacture of colonial produce, on lands belonging to their owners, and these were declared to be attached to the soil. The second class, consisting of the same kind of labourers, who worked on lands not belonging to their owners, were not attached to the soil. The third class consisted of "non-predial apprenticed labourers," and embraced mechanics, artisans, domestic servants, and all slaves not included in the other two classes. The apprenticeship of the first was to terminate on the 1st of August, 1840; and of the "non-predial" on the same day in 1838. The apprentices were not obliged to labour for their employers more than forty-five hours in any one week. Voluntary discharges were permitted; but, in that case, a provision was made for the support of old and infirm apprentices. An apprentice could free himself before the expiration of the term, against the will of his master, by getting himself appraised, and paying the price. No apprentices were to be removed from the colony to which they belonged, nor from one plantation to another in the same colony, except on a certificate from a justice of the peace that the removal would not injure their health or welfare,[368] or separate the members of the same family. Under these conditions the apprentices were transferable with the estates to which they were attached. Their masters were bound to furnish them with food, clothing, lodging, and other necessaries, according to the existing laws of the several colonies, and to allow them sufficient provision ground, and time for cultivating it, where that mode of maintenance was adopted. All children under six years of age when the Act came into operation, and all that should be born during the apprenticeship, were declared free; but if any children were found destitute, they could be apprenticed, and subjected to the same regulations as the others. The Act allowed governors of colonies to appoint stipendiary magistrates, with salaries not exceeding 300 a year, to carry the provisions of the law into effect. Corporal punishment was not absolutely abolished, but it could be inflicted only by the special justices, who were authorised to punish the apprentices by whipping, beating, imprisonment, or addition to the hours of labour. The corporal punishment of females was absolutely forbidden in all circumstances. The quantity of punishment was restricted, and the hours of additional labour imposed were not to exceed fifteen in the week.

[584]

LORD COLLINGWOOD.

Pitt, though he remained determined against our continuing to send soldiers to Germany, was so elated at the success of Frederick that, on the meeting of Parliament, on the 1st of December, he supported the vote of six hundred and seventy thousand pounds as a subsidy to Prussia, George having entered into a new convention with Frederick to defend his Electorate. Pitt, on the same occasion, pronounced a glowing eulogium on Clive's proceedings in India. This great Minister had, in fact, formed the most extensive designs for the colonial aggrandisement of England, and the repulse of France in those quarters. At his suggestion, Lord Loudon had been sent to North America, and as he had failed to render any service, General Abercrombie had gone out to supersede him. Pitt already, however, had his eye on a young officer, Wolfe, whom he deemed the true hero for that service; whilst, on the opposite side of the globe, he was watching the proceedings of another young officer with immense pleasurenamely, Clive. These two remarkable men, under the fostering genius of Pitt, were destined to destroy the ascendency of France in those regions, and to lay the foundations of British power on a scale of splendour beyond all previous conception.

Cumberland was now appointed to command the troops in Hanover intended to co-operate with Prussia against France and Austria; but he had an intuitive dread of Pitt, and was very unwilling to quit the kingdom whilst that formidable man was Paymaster of the Forces. He therefore never rested till the king dismissed him from office. George himself required little urging. He had always hated Pitt for his anti-Hanoverian spirit; nor had his conduct in office, however respectful, done away with his dislike. George, therefore, was desirous to get rid of the able Pitt and recall the imbecile Newcastle. He complained that Pitt made harangues, even in the simplest matters of business, which he could not comprehend; and as for Lord Temple, his brother-in-law, he declared him to be pert and insolent. George therefore sent Lord Waldegrave to Newcastle to invite him to return to office, saying, "Tell him I do not look upon myself as king whilst I am in the hands of these scoundrels, and am determined to be rid of them at any rate." Newcastle longed to regain his favour, but he was afraid of a notice made in the House of Commons for an inquiry into the causes of the loss of Minorca. The king, nevertheless, dismissed Temple and Pitt, and Legge and others resigned. Cumberland, in great delight, then embarked for Hanover, thinking the main difficulty over; but, in fact, it had only just begun. The inquiry into the Minorca affair was, indeed, so managed that it did not absolutely condemn the Ministry of Newcastle, neither did it fully acquit them; whilst, at the same time, the public were highly incensed at the dismissal of Pitt, whom they rightly deemed the only man in the two Houses with abilities capable of conducting the affairs of the nation successfully. Addresses and presentations of the freedom of their cities came pouring in on Pitt from all the great towns of the kingdom. Horace Walpole said it literally rained gold boxes. Legge, as the firm ally of Pitt, received also his share of these honours.