George had much difficulty in restraining his indignation, but he kept it down, and only bowed the duke silently out of his presence. No sooner had he departed than he flew to Cumberland, and declared he would bear this no longer. Again overtures were made to Pitt, again Pitt expressed himself willing to take office, but again declined, because Temple still refused. Foiled in these attempts to engage Pitt, and equally foiled in an endeavour to engage some of the heads of the leading Whig houses, who would enter no administration without Pitt, a heterogeneous cabinet was at length cobbled up, through the management of the old Duke of Newcastle, who was hankering after office. The Marquis of Rockingham was put forward as First Lord of the Treasury and Premier. Grafton and Conway were to be Secretaries of State; and the latter, lately dismissed with ignominy from the army, was to lead the Commons. The Earl of Northington was made Chancellor, the old Duke of Newcastle Privy Seal; another old and almost superannuated nobleman, Lord Winchelsea, President of the Council. Charles Townshend retained his post of Paymaster of the Forces. Such materials, it was clear, could never long hold together. "It is a mere lute-string administration," said Townshend himself; "it is pretty summer wear, but it will never stand the winter!"

The great financial questions of 1786 were the Duke of Richmond's plan of fortifying Portsmouth and Plymouth, and Pitt's proposal of a sinking fund to pay off the national debt, an excise duty on wines, and Pitt's commercial treaty with France. During the previous Session the Duke of Richmond, Master-General of the Ordnance, had proposed a plan of fortifying these large arsenals, so that, in the supposed absence of our fleet on some great occasion, they would be left under the protection of regiments of militia, for whom enormous barracks were to be erected. A board of officers had been appointed to inquire into the advantages of the plan, and their report was now brought up on the 27th of February, and introduced by Mr. Pitt, who moved that the plan be adopted. This scheme was strongly opposed by General Burgoyne, Colonel Barr, and others. Mr. Bastard moved an amendment declaring the proposed fortifications inexpedient. He said the militia had been called the school of the army, but to shut them up in these strongholds, separate from their fellow-subjects, was the way to convert them into universities for pr?torian bands. He protested against taking the defence of the nation from our brave fleet and conferring it on military garrisons; tearing the ensign of British glory from the mast-head, and fixing a standard on the ramparts of a fort. The Bill was rejected, Fox, Sheridan, Windham, and all the leading Oppositionists declaiming against it.

"The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," by Gibbon, began to appear in 1776, a few months before the death of Hume, and was not completed till 1788. It consisted of six ponderous quarto volumes, and now often occupies double that number of octavos. It is a monument of enormous labour and research, filling the long, waste, dark space between ancient and modern history. It traces the history of Rome from its Imperial splendour; through its severance into East and West; through its decadence under its luxurious and effeminate emperors; through the ravages of the invading hordes of the North, to the period when the nations of Europe began, in the dawn of a new morning, to rise from the depth of barbarism into life, form, and power. The faults of this great work are, that it is written, like Hume's "History of England," in the sceptical spirit of the period; and that it marches on, in one high-sounding, pompous style, with a monotonous step, over every kind of subject. The same space and attention are bestowed on the insignificance of the feeblest emperors, and the least important times, as on the greatest and most eventful. It is a work which all should read, but a large part of it will be waded through rather as a duty than a pleasure. Still, Gibbon holds his own indispensable position; no other man has yet risen to occupy it better.

MURAT (KING OF NAPLES). (After the Portrait by Gerard.)

THE CORONATION OF NAPOLEON IN NOTRE DAME. (See p. 499.)

The Queen did not disturb the Administration which she found in office. The Premier, Lord Melbourne, who was now fifty-eight years old, had had much experience of public life. He had been Chief Secretary for Ireland, Home Secretary, and Prime Minister, to which position he had been called the second time, after the failure of Sir Robert Peel's Administration in the spring of 1835. The young Queen seems to have looked to his counsel with a sort of filial deference; and from the time of her accession to the close of his career he devoted himself to the important task of instructing and guiding his royal mistress in the discharge of her various official dutiesa task of great delicacy, which he performed with so much ability and success as not only to win her gratitude, but to secure also the approbation of the country, and to disarm the hostility of political opponents. No royal pupil, it may be safely said, ever did more credit to a mentor than did Queen Victoria. For the time being, Lord Melbourne took up his residence at Windsor, and acted as the Queen's Secretary.

The whole army now crossed the river at leisure, and marched towards Lahore. Lord Hardinge issued a proclamation, in which he stated that the war was the result of the wanton and unprovoked incursion of the Sikhs; that the British Government wanted no acquisition of territory, but only security for the future, indemnity for the expenses of the war, and the establishment of a government at Lahore, which should afford a guarantee against such aggressions in the time to come. The Ranee and her durbar, or council, now saw the necessity of prompt submission, which was tendered by plenipotentiaries sent to the British camp, who threw the whole blame of the war on the[600] uncontrollable troops. They were well received by the Governor-General, and a treaty was without difficulty concluded on the 15th of February at a place called Kussoor. By the terms of the treaty, all the territory lying between the river Beas and the Sutlej was ceded to the British Government. The sum of one million sterling was to be paid for the expenses of the war; but the sum was found too heavy, and instead Gholab Singh was rewarded for his fidelity to the British by the grant of a large tract of territory between the Beas and the Indus. Peace having been thus concluded, the young Maharajah, Dhuleep Singh, was received by the Governor-General at his camp with Oriental pomp; and on the 22nd of February Sir Henry Hardinge entered Lahore at the head of his victorious army, taking possession of the gates, the citadel, and the Royal palace.

GEORGE III.

But, gloomy as was the aspect of affairs at home, they were far more so in America. There, the insane conduct of the Government had gone on exasperating and alienating the colonists. True, the Cabinet, on the close of Parliament, held a meeting to consider what should be done regarding America. Grafton proposed to repeal the obnoxious duties at the commencement of the next session, but he was overruled on the motion of Lord North, and it was agreed to repeal all but the tea duties. Within a few days after the close of the session, therefore, Lord Hillsborough wrote this news in a circular to the governors of the American colonies. As was certain, the partial concession produced no effect, the principle being still retained in the continued tea duty. Moreover, Hillsborough's circular was composed in such harsh and uncourteous terms, that it rather augmented than assuaged the excitement.