It was thought time to put a stop to such[559] proceedings, and several of the leaders were arrested, namely, Messrs. Ernest Jones, John Fussell, J. Williams, A. Sharpe, and Y. Vernon. They were committed for sedition, but bail was accepted. At Ashton-under-Lyne, Birmingham, Liverpool, and other places, Chartist and confederate disturbances took place. The police hunted up their leaders, and in some towns seized the papers of the clubs as well as the pikes and fire-arms which they had concealed. There had, in fact, been an extensively ramified conspiracy, the headquarters of which were in the metropolis. On the 11th of August the police, acting upon information they had received, assembled at the station in Tower Street, 700 strong, and suddenly marched to the Angel Tavern in Webber Street, Blackfriars. Surrounding the house, Inspector Butt entered, and found fourteen Chartist leaders in deliberation. In a few minutes they were all quietly secured, and marched to Tower Street. On searching the place the police found pistols loaded to the muzzle, swords, pikes, daggers, and spear-heads, also large quantities of ammunition. Upon one man were found seventy-five rounds of ball cartridge. Some of the prisoners wore iron breastplates. Similar visits were paid to houses in Great Ormond Street, Holborn, and York Street, Westminster, with like results. In the last place the party got notice and dispersed before the police arrived. One man, leaping out of a window, broke his leg. Tow-balls were found amongst them; and from this and other circumstances it was believed they intended to fire the public buildings and to attack the police in every part of London. The whole of the military quartered in London were under arms on the night of the threatened attack, and an unbroken line of communication was kept up between the military and the different bodies of police. Twenty-five of the leaders were committed for felony, bail being refused; their principal leader being a man named Cuffey. As for the poems of Ossian, he made a violent attack upon them in his "Tour to the Western Isles."

The poets who most retained the robes of the past, without disguising the divine form within, were the Rev. George Crabbe and Cowper. The poetry of Crabbe, all written in the metre of Pope, is, nevertheless, instinct with the very soul of nature. It chooses the simplest, and often the least apparently lofty or agreeable topics, but it diffuses through these, and at the same time draws from them, a spirit and life that are essentially poetry. Nothing at the time that it appeared could look less like poetry. The description of a library, the dirty alleys, the pothouses, the sailors, and monotonous sea-shores in and about a maritime borough, struck the readers of the assumed sublime with astonishment and dismay. "Can this be poetry?" they asked. But those who had poetry in themselvesthose in whom the heart of nature was strong, replied, "Yes, the truest poetry." Nature smiles as the rude torch flickers past, and shows its varied forms in its truest shape. In his "Tales of the Hall" Crabbe entered on scenes which are commonly deemed more elevated; he came forward into the rural village, the rectory,[184] and the manor-house; but everywhere he carried the same clear, faithful, analytical spirit, and read the most solemn lessons from the histories and the souls of men. Crabbe has been styled the Rembrandt of English poetic painting; but he is not merely a painter of the outward, he is the prober of the inward at the same time, who, with a hand that never trembles, depicts sternly the base nature, and drops soothing balm on the broken heart.

The Government of Spain was sunk into the very deepest degradation and imbecility. Charles IV. was one of the weakest of Bourbon kings. He was ruled by his licentious wife, Maria Luiza, and she by Manuel de Godoy, a young and handsome man, who, about the year 1784, had attracted her eye as a private in the Royal Guards. By her means he was rapidly promoted, and at the age of twenty-four was already a general. He was soon created a Grandee of Spain, and the queen married him to a niece of the king. He was made Generalissimo of all the Spanish Forces, and, in fact, became the sole ruling power in the country. He was styled the Prince of the Peacea title acquired by his having effected the pacification of Basle, which terminated the Revolutionary War between France and Spain. By the subsequent Treaty of St. Ildefonso he established an offensive and defensive alliance with France, which, in truth, made Spain entirely subservient to Napoleon. [121] FATHER MATHEW AND THE FAMINE-STRICKEN POOR. (See p. 537.)

The paper was communicated to the king by the Duke of Wellington, who wrote, on the 17th of January, that he entirely concurred in the sentiments and opinions contained in it; and, referring to Mr. Peel's request to be allowed to retire from the Government, the Duke said:"I tell you fairly, I do not see the smallest chance of getting the better of these difficulties, if you should not continue in office. Even if I should be able to obtain the king's consent to enter upon the course which it will probably be found the wisest to adoptwhich it is almost certain that I shall not if I should not have your assistance in office,the difficulties in Parliament will be augmented tenfold in consequence of your secession, while the means of getting the better of them will be diminished in the same proportion. I entreat you, then, to reconsider the subject, and to give[295] us and the country the benefit of your advice and assistance in this most difficult and important crisis." THE BASTILLE.

The Christmas holidays necessarily postponed the plans of the conspirators by the Ministers going out of town, and the deaths of the king and of the Duke of Kent produced further impediments by preventing the regular Cabinet meetings. At one moment the plan appeared to be in jeopardy from the Ministers being in danger of dismissal for their refusal to procure the new king a divorce; but all these hindrances only the more enabled Edwards to ply his arts, and stimulate his victims to their destruction. So thoroughly had he brought them to this point, that, on the 19th of February, they came to the resolution to assassinate the Ministers each at his own house, as they could not get them all together; but at this moment Edwards brought them word that the Ministers were going to have a Cabinet dinner the next day. To make sure, they sent out for a newspaper, and finding that it was so, Thistlewood remarked that as there had not been a Cabinet dinner for a long time, there would be fourteen or sixteen there, and it would be a fine haul to murder them all together. The dinner was to be at the house of Lord Harrowby, and it was planned that one of the conspirators should call with a note, and then the rest should rush in and put the Ministers all to death, and bring away the heads of Sidmouth and Castlereagh in bags provided for that purpose. They were then to fire the cavalry barracks by throwing fire-balls into the straw-sheds, and the people rising, as they hoped, on the spread of the news, they were to take the Bank and the Tower. THE MANSION HOUSE, LONDON, 1891.

Here he heard his faithful servants, Duroc and Daru, whispering, as they thought he slept, of their critical situation, and caught the words "prisoner of State." On this, he started up, and demanded whether the reports of his Ministers were yet burnt, and being answered in the negative, he had both them and all documents which could give information of his affairs to the enemy put into the fire. Segur says that amongst these were materials for writing his life, for, like C?sar, he had determined to be his own historian. In tracing the map for a passage over the Beresina, his eye caught the word Pultowa, and he said, "Ah! Charles XII.Pultowa!"