The force left to keep possession of Cabul and guard the protg of the Indian Government[495] was so situated as to tempt the aggression of a treacherous enemy. Sir William Macnaghten, the British Resident, and his suite, resided in the Mission Compound, which was badly defended, and commanded by a number of small forts, while the commissariat stores were placed in an old fort, detached from the cantonment and in such a state as to be wholly indefensible. Moreover, General Elphinstone, the commander of the troops, was old and inefficient. A conspiracy had been formed by the friends of Akbar Khan, son of the deposed sovereign, Dost Mahomed, who forged a document, and had it circulated amongst the principal men of Cabul, to the effect that it was the design of the British envoy to send them all to London, and that the king had issued an order to put the infidels all to death. The insurrection commenced by an attack on the dwellings of Sir Alexander Burnes, who was about to succeed Macnaghten, and Captain Johnson, who resided in the city. Sir Alexander addressed the party from the gallery of his house, thinking that it was a mere riot. The insurgents, however, broke in, killed him with his brother, Lieutenant Burnes, and Lieutenant Broadfoot, and set the house on fire. The Afghans then surrounded the cantonments, and poured in a constant fire upon them from every position they could occupy. They quickly seized the ill-defended commissariat stores, upon which the existence of the British depended. The garrison bravely defended itself with such precarious supplies as could be had from the country; but at length these supplies were exhausted. Winter set in, snow fell, and there was nothing before them but the prospect of starvation. They therefore listened to overtures for negotiation, and the British envoy was compelled to consent to these humiliating terms on the 11th of December, 1841:That the British should evacuate the whole of Afghanistan, including Candahar, Ghuznee, and Jelalabad; that they should be permitted to return unmolested to India, and have supplies granted on their road thither; that means of transport should be furnished to the troops; that Dost Mahomed Khan, his family, and every Afghan then detained within our territories should be allowed to return to their own country; that Shah Sujah and his family should receive from the Afghan Government one lac of rupees per annum; that all prisoners should be released; that a general amnesty should be proclaimed; and that no British force should ever be sent into Afghanistan without being invited by the Afghan Government. These terms having been agreed to, the chiefs took with them Captain Trevor as a hostage; but nothing was done to carry the agreement into effect, and Macnaghten and Elphinstone remained irresolutely at Cabul. Some of their staff attempted to bribe the Afghans, and Akbar Khan thereupon determined to withhold supplies. It soon became evident that the object was to starve out the garrison, and compel them to surrender unconditionally. At length, on the 22nd of December, they sent two persons into the cantonment, who made a proposal in the name of Akbar Khan, that the Shah should continue king, that Akbar should become his Prime Minister, and that one of the principal chiefs should be delivered up to the British as a prisoner. This was a mere trap, into which Sir William Macnaghten unfortunately fell with fatal credulity. On the 23rd of December the envoy, attended by Captains Lawrence, Trevor, and M'Kenzie, left the Mission Compound, to hold a conference with Akbar Khan in the plain towards Serah Sung. Crowds of armed Afghans hovering near soon excited suspicions of treachery. Captain Lawrence begged that the armed men might be ordered off; but Akbar Khan exclaimed, "No, they are all in the secret." At that instant Sir William and the three officers were seized from behind and disarmed. Sir W. Macnaghten was last seen on the ground struggling violently with Akbar Khan, consternation and terror depicted on his countenance. "His look of wondering horror, says Kaye, "will never be forgotten by those who saw it, to their dying day." The other three officers were placed on horses, each behind a Ghilzai chief, who galloped off with them to a fort in the neighbourhood. Captain Trevor fell off his horse, and was instantly murdered. The others were assailed with knives by the infuriated Afghans, and barely escaped to the fort with their lives. Meanwhile the head of the British Minister was cut off and paraded through the streets, while the bleeding and mangled trunk was exposed to the insults of the populace in the principal bazaar.

After contending with such difficultiesfor the Committee was, in truth, combating with all the powers of the Crownit was not likely that it would produce a very effective report. In fact, desirable as it was that a deep and searching inquiry should have been made, and the mysteries of that long reign of corruption thrown open, the fact that the Monarch and the Minister had gone hand in hand through the whole of it was, on the very surface, fatal to any hope of a successful issue, and what rendered this fatality greater was, that the Committee too obviously went into the question hotly to crush an old antagonist who had defeated and humiliated them for a long course of years, rather than to serve the nation. When, therefore, on the 30th of June, they presented their report, the feeling, on its perusal, was one of intense disappointment. It alleged that, during an election at Weymouth, a place had been promised to the Mayor if he would use his influence in obtaining the nomination of a retiring officer, and that a church living had been promised to the Mayor's brother-in-law for the same purpose; that some revenue officers, who refused to vote for the ministerial nominees, were dismissed; that a fraudulent contract had been given to Peter Burrell and John Bristow, two members of the House of Commons, for furnishing money in Jamaica for the payment of the troops, by which they had pocketed upwards of fourteen per cent. But what were these few trifling and isolated cases to that great system of corruption which the public were satisfied had spread through all Walpole's administration, and which abounded with far more wonderful instances than these? The very mention of them, and them alone, was a proclamation of defeat.

The war in Germany grew more and more bloody. Russia and Austria came down upon Frederick this year with great forces. Daun entered Saxony; Laudohn and Soltikow, Silesia. Laudohn defeated Fouqu at Landshut, and took the fortress of Glatz, and compelled Frederick, though hard pressed by Daun, to march for Silesia. The month was July, the weather so hot that upwards of a hundred of his soldiers fell dead on the march. Daun followed him, watching his opportunity to fall upon him when engaged with other troops, but on the way Frederick heard of the defeat of Fouqu and the fall of Glatz, and suddenly turned back to reach Dresden before Daun, and take the city by storm; but as Daun was too expeditious for him, and Maguire, the governor, an Irishman, paid no heed to his demands for surrender, Frederick, who had lately been so beautifully philosophising on the inhumanities of men, commenced a most ferocious bombardment, not of the fortress but of the town. He burnt and laid waste the suburbs, fired red-hot balls into the city to burn it all down, demolished the finest churches and houses, and crushed the innocent inhabitants in their flaming and falling dwellings, till crowds rushed from the place in desperation, rather facing his ruthless soldiers than the horrors of his bombardment.

The Tory Ministry was now in a most shattered condition, and it was believed that it could not repair itself. On the 23rd of September official letters were addressed to Lords Grey and Grenville to endeavour to form a coalition with the Tories, but they declined. The Tory Ministry was therefore readjusted by the introduction of Lord Wellesley (who had been replaced in his embassy in Spain by his brother Henry, afterwards Lord Cowley), who took the post of Canning in the Foreign Office, Perceval taking the Premiership, which Portland had only nominally held, as well as the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, which he held before. Lord Palmerston also made his first appearance in this Cabinet as Under-Secretary of State for the War Department, in place of Sir James Pulteney. Lord Liverpool took Castlereagh's place as Secretary at War; and the Hon. R. Ryder succeeded Lord Liverpool as Secretary of State for the Home Department.

During this brilliant campaign in Italy, Moreau, in Germany, had beaten General Kray in several engagements, advanced to Ulm, and there, crossing the Danube, had overrun a great part of Bavaria, and had made himself master of Munich and menaced Vienna. On hearing of the armistice in Italy, the Emperor demanded one for Austria, to continue till September; and Buonaparte, seeing that the Czar Paul had ceased to support Austria, recommended the Emperor to make peace with[478] France. The Emperor required that Britain should be included in it. But Napoleon demanded a separate negotiation, which Austria was afraid to grant. No sooner was this answer received in Paris than Buonaparte gave the word for renewed and vigorous action, both in Italy and Germany. Moreau advanced by Salzburg towards Vienna, whilst Brune drove the Austrians from the Mincio, and over the Adige and the Brenta to the very vicinity of Venice, whilst Macdonald occupied the passes of the Tyrol, ready to march to the support of the army either in Italy or Germany. The Archduke John met Moreau near Haag, and for a moment worsted him; but on the 2nd of December the two armies came to a general engagement at Hohenlinden, between the rivers Iser and Inn, in which the Austrians were routed, with a loss of ten thousand men. Moreau advanced and occupied Salzburg, and trembling for the safety of Vienna itself, the Emperor hastened to make peace. An armistice was signed on the 25th of December, and the treaty was concluded at Lunville on the 9th of February, 1801. By this treaty all the conditions of the Treaty of Campo Formio were renewed, and the frontier of the Rhine was again ceded to France. SIR DAVID BAIRD.

PARIS UNDER THE REIGN OF TERROR: A VAIN APPEAL. (After the Picture by Paul Svedomsky)

The Association had become so formidable, and was yet so carefully kept within the bounds of law by "Counsellor O'Connell," in whose legal skill the Roman Catholics of all classes had unbounded confidence, that the Government resolved to procure an Act of Parliament for its suppression. Accordingly, on the 11th of February, 1825, a Bill was brought into the House of Commons by the Irish Chief Secretary, Mr. Goulburn, under the title of Unlawful Societies in Ireland Bill. The plural form caused a great deal of debating. The Government declared they wished to include the Orange Society as well as the Catholic Association. But the Opposition had no faith in this declaration, and Mr. Brougham stated that they would put down the Catholic Association with one hand and pat the Orange Society on the back with the other. The debates on the subject were very animated, and touched upon constitutional questions of the widest interest to the public. The Irish Attorney-General said he did not deny that if a set of gentlemen thought fit to unite for those purposes, it was in their power to do so; but then came the question as to the means which they employed, and those means he denied to be constitutional. "They have," he said, "associated with them the Catholic clergy, the Catholic nobility, many of the Catholic gentry, and all the surviving delegates of 1791. They have established committees in every district, who keep up an extensive correspondence through the country. This Association, consisting originally of a few members, has now increased to 3,000. They proceeded to establish a Roman Catholic rent; and in every single parish, of the 2,500 parishes into which Ireland is divided, they appointed twelve Roman Catholic collectors, which make an army of 30,000. Having this their army of collectors, they brought to their assistance 2,500 priests, and the whole ecclesiastical body. And thus provided, they go about levying contributions on the peasantry." This Mr. Plunket pronounced to be unconstitutional, though not in the strict sense illegal; the Association was a representative and a tax-levying body. He denied that any portion of the subjects of this realm had a right to give their suffrages to others, had a right to select persons to speak their sentiments, to debate upon their grievances, and to devise measures for their removal. This was the privilege alone of the Commons of the United Kingdom. He would not allow that species of power to anybody not subjected to proper control. But to whom were those individuals accountable? Where was their responsibility? Who was to check them? Who was to stop their progress? By whom were they to be tried or rebuked if found acting mischievously? People not acquainted with Ireland were not aware of the nature of this formidable instrument of power, greater than the power of the sword. Individuals connected with it went into every house and every family. They mixed in all the relations of private life, and afterwards detailed what they heard with the utmost freedom. The Attorney-General could not conceive a more deadly instrument of tyranny than it was when it interfered with the administration of justice. Claiming to represent six millions of the people of Ireland, it denounced as a public enemy, and arraigned at the bar of justice, any individual it chose to accuse of acting contrary to the popular interest. Thus the grand inquest of the people were the accusers, and there was an unlimited supply of money to carry on the prosecution. The consequence was that magistrates were intimidated, feeling that there was no alternative but to yield, or be overwhelmed by the tide of fierce popular passions.