Goldsmith was in his poetry, as in his prose, simple, genuine, and natural. His "Deserted Village" and "Traveller" were in the metre of Pope, but they were full of the most exquisite touches of pathos, of truth, and liberty; they were new in spirit, though old in form. Charles Churchill, the satirist, was full of flagellant power. He has been said to have formed himself on Dryden; but it is more probable that his models were Lucian and Juvenal. He was a bold and merciless chastiser of the follies of the times. He commenced, in the "Rosciad," with the players, by which he stirred a nest of hornets. Undauntedly he pursued his course, attacking, in "The Ghost," the then all-powerful Dr. Johnson, who ruled like a despot over both literary men and their opinions. These satires, strong and somewhat coarse, were followed by "The Prophecy of Famine," an "Epistle to Hogarth," "The Conference," "The Duellist," "The Author," "Gotham," "The Candidate," "The Times," etc. In these Churchill not only lashed the corruptions of the age, but the false principles of nations. He condemned the seizure of other countries by so-called Christian powers, on the plea of discovery. It was only to be lamented that Churchill, who was a clergyman, in censuring his neighbour's vices did not abandon his own.

ARREST OF SIR FRANCIS BURDETT. (See p. 597.) George III. expired on the 29th of January, 1820. Although it was Sunday, both Houses of Parliament met according to the requisition of the statute, 6 Anne c. 7. Lord Eldon merely appeared on the woolsack; and, as soon as prayers were read, the House of Peers was adjourned. The same day a council was held at Carlton House, when the usual ceremonies were observed, as upon the commencement of a new reign, although George IV. had been virtually king during the period of the Regency. On this occasion the Ministers delivered up the emblems of their different offices, and were all graciously reappointed. Lord Eldon, in a letter to his daughter, felicitates himself on having been thus placed "in the very singular situation, that of a third Chancellorship." But Lord Campbell remarks that he was probably not aware that one of his predecessors had been Chancellor five times. His immediate successor had been four times Chancellor, and Lord Cottenham three times. "It is amusing," says Lord Campbell, "to observe how he enhances the delight he felt at the commencement of this third Chancellorship by protestations that he was reluctantly induced again to accept the worthless bauble, lest, by declining it, he should be chargeable with ingratitude." The Chancellor made similar protestations of reluctance and humility when George IV., grateful for his services in connection with the prosecution of the queen, pressed upon him accumulated honours; giving him, at the same time, two additional steps in the peerage, as Viscount Encombe and Earl of Eldonhonours which, he said, he had repeatedly declined to accept when offered by George III.

St. Clair had marched with such celerity that he reached, before the next night, Castleton, thirty miles from Ticonderoga. But the rear division under Colonel Warner halted at Hubberton, six miles short of Castleton. Early next morning, General Fraser found them on a hill. No sooner did they descry him, than one of the regiments turned and fled, leaving most of their officers to be taken prisoners. But the other two regiments, commanded by Warner and Francis, stood their ground stoutly. Fraser had with him only about eight hundred men, and the Americans were from one thousand two hundred to one thousand five hundred strong. But Fraser advanced up the hill and attacked them briskly. The Americans were protected by a sort of breastwork formed of logs and trees, and they gave Fraser a smart reception. But, calculating on the approach of Reisedel and the Germans, he fought on; and Reisedel soon after marching up with a full band of music, the Americans imagined that the whole body of the Germans was there, and fled on to Castleton as fast as they could.

The statutory provision for all who cannot support themselves had now existed for upwards of 280 years. There was no considerable increase of population in England from the period when the Poor Laws were established up to the middle of the eighteenth century. Its people have been distinguished for their industry, thrift, and forethought. No other nation has furnished such unquestionable proofs of the prevalence of a provident and independent spirit. From the year 1601, when the Act 43 Elizabeth, the foundation of the old code of Poor Laws, was put in force, to the commencement of the war with Napoleon, there had been scarcely any increase of pauperism. In 1815 there were 925,439 individuals in England and Wales, being about one-eleventh of the then existing population, members of friendly societies, formed for the express purpose of affording protection to the members in sickness and old age, and enabling them to subsist without resorting to the parish fund. It may be asked, How was this state of things compatible with the right to support at the expense of the parish which the law gave to the destitute? The answer is, that the exercise of that right was subjected to the most powerful checks, and restricted in every possible way. In 1723 an Act was passed authorising the church-wardens and overseers, with the consent of the parishioners, to establish a workhouse in each parish; and it was at the same time enacted that the overseers should be entitled to refuse relief to all who did not choose to accept it in the workhouse, and to submit to all its regulations. In consequence of this Act workhouses were erected in many parishes, and they had an immediate and striking effect in reducing the number of paupers. Many who had previously received pensions from the parish preferred depending on their own exertions rather than take up their abode in the workhouse. These mischiefs it was proposed wholly to remove by enacting that "the charge for primary distributionthat is to say, the postage on all letters received in a post town, and delivered in the same or in any other post town in the British Islesshall be at the uniform rate of one penny for each half-ounce; all letters and other papers, whether single or multiple, forming one packet, and not weighing more than half an ounce, being charged one penny, and heavier packets to any convenient limit being charged an additional penny for each additional half-ounce." And it was further proposed that stamped covers should be sold to the public at such a price as to include the postage, which would thus be collected in advance. By the public generally, and preeminently by the trading public, the plan was received with great favour. By the functionaries of the Post Office it was at once denounced as ruinous, and ridiculed as fanciful. Lord Lichfield, then Postmaster-General, said of it in the House of Lords, "Of all the wild and visionary schemes I ever heard, it is the most extravagant." On another occasion, he assured the House that if the anticipated increase of letters should be realised, "the mails will have to carry twelve times as much in weight, and therefore the charge for transmission, instead of 100,000, as now, must be twelve times that amount. The walls of the Post Office would burst; the whole area in which the building stands would not be large enough to receive the clerks and the letters." In the course of the following year (1838) petitions were poured into the House of Commons. A select Committee was appointed, which held nearly seventy sittings, and examined nearly eighty-three witnesses in addition to the officers of the department. Its report weakly recommended the substitution of a twopenny for a penny rate, but this was overruled by the Cabinet. During the Session of Parliament that followed the presentation of[465] this report, about 2,000 petitions in favour of penny postage were presented to both Houses, and at length the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought in a Bill to enable the Treasury to carry it into effect. The measure was carried in the House of Commons by a majority of 100, and became law on the 17th of August, 1839. A new but only temporary office under the Treasury was created, to enable Mr. Hill to superintend (although, as it proved, with very inadequate arrangements) the working out of his plan. The first step taken was to reduce, on the 5th of December, 1839, the London district postage to one penny, and the general inland postage to fourpence, the half ounce, except as respected places to which letters were previously carried at lower rates, these rates being continued. On the 10th of January, 1840, the uniform penny rate came into operation throughout the United Kingdom; the scale of weight advancing from one penny for each of the first two half-ounces, by gradations of twopence for each additional ounce or fraction of an ounce, up to sixteen ounces. The postage was to be prepaid, or charged at double rates, and Parliamentary franking was abolished. Postage stamps were introduced on the 6th of May following. The facilities of despatch were soon afterwards increased, especially by the establishment of day mails. But on the important points of simplification in the internal economy of the Post Office, with the object of reducing its cost without diminishing its working power, very little was done. For the time being the loss incurred by the change was more than 1,000,000. Fox did not suffer the Session to close without another powerful effort to avoid war with France. A petition had been handed to him for presentation to the Commons, drawn up by Mr. Gurney of Norwich, and signed by the Friends and other inhabitants of that city, praying that peace with France might be concluded. Fox not only agreed to present it and support its prayer, but he earnestly exhorted Mr. Gurney and his friends to promote the sending of petitions from other places for this object, as the only means of influencing the House, bent determinedly on war. On the 17th of June, only four days before the close of the Session, Fox moved an Address to the Crown, praying that, as the French had been driven out of Holland, peace should be made. In pursuance of his objecta great one, if attainablehe did not spare his former favourite, the Empress of Russia, and the other royal robbers of Poland. Burke replied that Fox knew very well that the defence of Holland was but a very partial motive for the war. The real obstacles to peace were the avowed principles of the Frenchthose of universal conquest, of annexation of the kingdoms conquered, as already Alsace, Savoy, and Belgium; their attempts on the Constitution of Great Britain by insidious means; the murder of their own monarch held up as an example to all other nations. To make peace with France, he said truly, was to declare war against the rest of Europe, which was threatened by France; and he asked with whom in France should we[418] negotiate for peace, if so disposed? Should it be with Lebrun, already in a dungeon, or with Clavire, who was hiding from those who were anxious to take his head? or with Egalit, who had been consigned to a dungeon at Marseilles? Burke declared that you might as well attempt to negotiate with a quicksand or a whirlwind as with the present ever-shifting and truculent factions which ruled in France.

On the 8th of February was fought the great and decisive battle of Sobraon, the name of the tte du pont, at the entrenched camp of the Sikhs, where all the forces of the enemy were now concentrated. The camps extended along both sides of the river, and were defended by 130 pieces of artillery, of which nearly half were of heavy calibre, and which were all served by excellent gunners. The British troops formed a vast semicircle, each end of which touched the river, the village of Sobraon being in the centre, where the enemy were defended by a triple line of works, one within another, flanked by the most formidable redoubts. The battle commenced by the discharge of artillery on both sides, which played with terrific force for three hours. After this the British guns went up at a gallop till they came within 300 yards of the works, where it was intended the assault should be delivered. Halting there, they poured a concentrated fire upon the position for some time. After this the assault was made by the infantry, running. The regiment which led the way was the 10th, supported by the 53rd Queen's and the 43rd and 59th Native Infantry. They were repulsed with dreadful slaughter. The post of honour and of danger was now taken by the Ghoorkas. A desperate struggle with the bayonet ensued; the Sikhs were overpowered by the brigades of Stacey and Wilkinson; but, as the fire of the enemy was now concentrated upon this point, the brave assailants were in danger of being overwhelmed and destroyed. The British Commander-in-Chief seeing this, sent forward the brigades of Ashburnham, as well as Smith's division, against the right of the enemy, while his artillery played furiously upon their whole line. The Sikhs fought with no less valour and determination than the British. Not one of their gunners flinched till he was struck down at his post. Into every gap opened by the artillery they rushed with desperate resolution, repelling the assaulting columns of the British. At length the cavalry, which has so often decided the fate of the day in great battles, were instrumental in achieving the victory. The Sappers and Miners having succeeded in opening a passage through which the horses could enter in single file, the 3rd Queen's Dragoons, under Sir Joseph Thackwell, got inside the works, quickly formed, and galloping along in the rear of the batteries, cut down the gunners as they passed. General Gough promptly followed up this advantage by ordering forward the whole three divisions of the centre and the right. It was then that the fighting may be said to have commenced in earnest. The struggle was long, bloody, and relentless. No quarter was given or asked; the Sikhs fighting like men for whom death had no terrors, and for whom death in battle was the happiest as well as the most glorious exit from life. But they encountered men with hearts as stout and stronger muscle, and they were at length gradually forced back upon the river by the irresistible British bayonet. The bridge at length gave way under the enormous weight, and thousands were precipitated into the water and drowned. But even in the midst of this catastrophe the drowning fanatics would accept no mercy from the Feringhees. Our losses amounted to 320 killed and 2,063 wounded. Of the European officers, thirteen were killed and 101 wounded. The loss of the Sikhs in the battle of Sobraon was estimated at from 10,000 to 13,000 men, the greater number being shot down or drowned in the attempt to cross the bridge. They left in the hands of the victors sixty-seven guns, 200 camel swivels, nineteen standards, and a great quantity of ammunition.