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During the recess of Parliament, a dispute occurred with Spain regarding the Falkland Islands, which led to the very verge of war. In 1764 the French, under Bougainville, made a settlement on Falkland Sound; but Spain putting in a claim that these isles were part of her South American territory, Choiseul, the French Minister, abandoned the settlement, and the Spaniards changed its name from Port Louis to Port Soledad. The very next year, 1765, Commodore Byron was sent to form a settlement on another of the islands, which he named Port Egmont, in honour of Lord Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty. Such were the distant islets to which, in 1769, Spain began to assert her claim. The Governor of Port Soledad sent repeated messages to Captain Hunt, of the Tamar, stationed at Port Egmont, requiring the abandonment of the place. When the notices were succeeded by threats, Captain Hunt sailed home to lay the matter before his Government. He landed at Portsmouth in June, 1770, and made known the Spanish interference to the Cabinet. Meanwhile, the Spaniards, taking advantage of Hunt's absence, had, about the time that he arrived in England, dispatched to the Falklands Buccarelli, the Governor of Buenos Ayres, with five frigates and one thousand six hundred men. Having entered the port on pretence of wanting water, and finding the Tamar absent, and only two armed sloops there, and a mere handful of soldiers, Buccarelli landed his force, and, after the firing of a few shots for form's sake, the English surrendered, and were permitted to depart with all the honours of war.
On the 8th of May, 1777, Ministers moved for more money for the insatiable Landgrave of Hesse, whose troops were at this very time exhibiting the most scandalous state of defiance of discipline, of consequent inefficiency, and of plunder of the inhabitants of America. This grant, though violently opposed, was carried, but only by a majority of eight. All parties now began to denounce the shameless rapacity of these German princes. Nor did Chatham, ill as he was, allow the Session to pass without making one more energetic protest against the continuance of the war with America. On the 30th of May he moved an address to his Majesty for the immediate cessation of hostilities. Notwithstanding all that had been said on our successes over the Americans, Chatham contended as positively as ever that we could never conquer them. "You have," he said, "ransacked every corner of Lower Saxony, but forty thousand German boors never can conquer ten times the number of British freemen. You may ravage, you cannot conquerit is impossibleyou cannot conquer America. You talk of your numerous funds to annihilate the Congress, and your powerful forces to disperse their army; I might as well talk of driving them before me with my crutch! But what would you conquer? The map of America? I am ready to meet any general officer on the subject" (looking at Lord Amherst)"What will you do out of the protection of your fleet? In the winter, if together, they are starved; and if dispersed, they are taken off in detail. I am experienced in spring hopes and vernal promises. I know what Ministers throw out; but at last will come your equinoctial disappointment. You have got nothing in America but stations. You have been three years teaching them the art of war. They are apt scholars; and I will venture to tell your lordships that the American gentry will make officers enough fit to command the troops of all the European Powers." Chatham's motion was rejected by ninety-nine votes against twenty-eight. Parliament was prorogued by the king on the 6th of June, in a speech in which he indulged the fallacious hope that the American insurrection would be terminated in the present campaign. But Chatham's prophecies were at the very time realising themselves. Had the Howes had the necessary qualities of commanders in such an important causehad they pursued and dispersed the American army, as they ought to have done on defeating it, and as they might readily have done; and had the British Government instantly, whilst in this favourable position, repealed all the obnoxious statutes, they would have thrown Congress and Washington so completely into the wrong, that it would have been impossible for them to have made head again. But neither the Generals nor the Government of that day had the capacity for such strategic and statesmanlike policy. The Generals went comfortably into winter quarters, leaving the embers of war to rekindle and spread; and Government, deaf to the warnings of Chatham, still stolidly refused justice whilst rigorously enforcing their injustice. And, indeed, when Chatham gave his last Cassandra-like remonstrance, it was already too late. We had indeed taught the Americans the art of war. Washington was no longer contented to stand on the defensive, happy if he could preserve his soldiers from running off without fighting at all. His circumstances were desperate, and the energy which springs from despair now urged him to measures of daring and wakefulness just as the English Generals, like northern bears, were entering on their winter's sleep. Benedict Arnold had paid him a visit in his wretched camp beyond the Delaware, and probably from their united counsels sprang a new style of movement, which confounded his unsuspecting enemies. Boissons, 1678.
[See larger version] chateau was then a long low building roofed with shingles.
Amongst the foremost of the promoters of science, and the most eloquent of its expounders, was Sir David Brewster, who died full of years and of honours in 1868. Arrived at manhood at the opening of the present century, having been born in 1781, he continued his brilliant course during fifty years, pursuing his investigations into the laws of polarisation by crystals, and by the reflection, refraction, and absorption of light, in which he made important discoveries. The attention of the British public was forcibly arrested by an able treatise on "Light," contributed by Sir John Herschel, in 1827, to the "Encyclop?dia Metropolitana." Its excellent method and lucid explanations attracted to the theory of Young and Fresnel men of science who had been deterred by the fragmentary and abstruse style of the former. This was followed four years later by a most able and precise mathematical exposition of the theory, and its application to optical problems, by Professor Airy, who became Astronomer-Royal in 1835.
FATHER MATHEW.But, in the first place, he announced to the Queen of Etruria, whom he had hitherto allowed to retain her Italian territory in right of her infant son, that she must give that up and accept the kingdom of Northern Lusitania in Portugal. This princess had an ominous persuasion that her son would never possess, or, if he possessed, would never retain this Northern Lusitania; but she had no alternative and, in the month of June following, the kingdom of Etruria was converted into three new departments of France. This having been arranged, this setter-up and puller-down of kingdoms proceeded to compel the Pope to adopt his system. Pius VII. did not seem disposed to comply. He had no quarrel with Britain; had no advantage, but much the contrary, in depriving his subjects of articles of British manufacture; besides that, amongst the numerous adherents of the Church in Ireland he would create great prejudice. But all these reasons had no more weight with the haughty egotism of Buonaparte than so much air. He forced his troops into the Papal territories; threw a strong body into Ancona on the Adriatic, and another into Civita Vecchia, and at the mouth of the Tiber. The Pope protested against the violent invasion of his principality, but in vain; Buonaparte insisted that he should declare war against Britain. Pius then consented to close his ports, but this did not satisfy Napoleon; he demanded that war should be declared, pronouncing himself the heir of Charlemagne, and therefore suzerain of the Pope, and he demanded compliance. On the Pope continuing obstinate, Buonaparte forced more troops into his States, and sent General Miollis to take possession of Rome. This accordingly was done in February, 1808. The Pope shut himself up in the Quirinal palace, and the French surrounded him with troops and cannon, and held him prisoner to compel him to comply. The Pope, though shut up in the Quirinal and deprived of his cardinals, remained unshaken, and protested solemnly against this violent usage and robbery by the man whom he had consented to crown and to make a concordat with. When the magistrates and priests of the Marches were called on to take the oath of allegiance to Napoleon, they refused almost unanimously, and were driven out of the States, or shut up in prisons and fortresses in the Alps and Apennines.