It was arranged that the coronation should take place early in the summer of 1821, and the queen, who in the interval had received an annuity of 50,000, was resolved to claim the right of being crowned with the king. She could hardly have hoped to succeed in this, but her claims were put forth in a memorial complaining that directions had not been given for the coronation of the queen, as had been accustomed on like occasions, and stating that she claimed, as of right, to celebrate the ceremony of her royal coronation, and to preserve as well her Majesty's said right as the lawful right and inheritance of others of his Majesty's subjects. Her memorial was laid before the Privy Council, and the greatest interest was excited by its discussion. The records were brought from the Tower: the "Liber Regalis" and other ancient volumes. The doors continued closed, and strangers were not allowed to remain in the adjoining rooms and passages. The following official decision of the Privy Council was given after some delay:"The lords of the committee, in obedience to your Majesty's said order of reference, have heard her Majesty's Attorney- and Solicitor-General in support of her Majesty's said claim, and having also heard the observations of your Majesty's Attorney- and Solicitor-General thereupon, their lordships do agree humbly to report to your Majesty their opinions, that as it appears to them that the Queens Consort of this realm are not entitled of right to be crowned at any time, her Majesty the queen is not entitled as of right to be crowned at the time specified in her Majesty's memorials. His Majesty, having taken the said report into consideration, has been pleased, by and with the advice of the Privy Council, to approve thereof." The queen's subsequent applications, which included a letter to the king, were equally unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the publication of Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution" had caused an immense sensation. It went through edition after edition, and elicited a warm and wide response in hearts already convinced of, or beginning to see, the real tendency of the French outbreak. On[383] the other hand, it greatly exasperated the ultra-admirers of French republicanism, and produced a number of vindications of it by men who, for the most part, were exceedingly bitter against Burke, and denounced him as an apostate, a renegade, and a traitor to liberty. Amongst the most conspicuous of those who took the field against Burke in books were Sir James Mackintosh, Thomas Paine, Dr. Price, and Dr. Priestley, the two latter of whom also made free use of the pulpit for the propagation of their political ideas. Ladies also distinguished themselves in this contest, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mrs. Macaulay, the historian. And he celebrates the compass in equally imposing heroics

On the 27th of April Pitt introduced a message from the king, recommending the settlement of a suitable provision on the Prince of Wales on his marriage. The Prince expected that Pitt would propose and carry, by means of his compliant majority, which had readily voted away millions to foreign monarchs, a vote for the immediate discharge of his debts. His astonishment may therefore be imagined, when Pitt proposed that Parliament should grant him such an income as should enable him, by decent economy, to defray these debts by instalments through a course of years. Having stated these debts at six hundred and thirty thousand pounds, he proposed to increase the Prince's allowance from seventy-five thousand to one hundred and forty thousand pounds, an increase of sixty-five thousand pounds a-year. Twenty-five thousand pounds of this were to be set apart every year for the liquidation of the debts in the course of twenty-seven years. This was, in fact, only giving him an increase on his marriage of forty thousand pounds per annum; but so unpopular was the Prince that not even that amount of money could be obtained. The question was warmly debated during two months, and it was not till the 27th of June that it was finally settled in still worse terms for the Prince, namely, that his allowance should be one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds per annum, with the income of the Duchy of Cornwall, about fifteen thousand pounds more, thus making up the one hundred and forty thousand pounds; but out of this seventy-five thousand pounds per annum were appropriated to the payment of his debts, leaving him only sixty-seven thousand pounds a year clear for his own expenditure, or eight thousand pounds per annum less than his previous allowance. With the grant to the Prince this Session closed, namely, on the 27th of June.

Nor did these terms contain anything like the extent of tyranny imposed on the conscience of the nation by these monarchs. By the 29 Elizabeth it was provided that what right or property any person might dispose of, or settle on any of his[162] family, should still be liable to these penalties if the proprietor and disposer of them neglected to go to church. So that a son might be deprived of lands or other property settled upon him at his marriage, or at any other time, if his father ceased to attend church, though he himself went punctually; and by the 21 James I. the informers were stimulated by great rewards to lay complaints against all whom they could discover offending. And, moreover, any person was to be considered an absentee from church, and liable to all the penalties, who did not remain in church during the whole time of the service; and, also, not only on Sundays, "but upon all the other days ordained and used to be kept as holidays." All these odious enactments were left in force by the Toleration Act, except that they did not compel every one to go to church, but to some licensed place of worship. [See larger version]

The next month Pitt despatched a smaller fleet and force to destroy the port of Cherbourg, which the French had constructed under Cardinal Fleury, and, as they stated by an inscription, "for all eternity." This time the command was given to General Bligh. Howe was admiral, and on board with him went Prince Edward, afterwards Duke of York. On the 8th of August the troops were landed at Cherbourg, which was[131] deserted by the garrison, and they destroyed the forts and harbour, demolished a hundred and seventy pieces of iron cannon, and carried off twenty-two fine brass ones. After re-embarking and returning to Portsmouth, Bligh was ordered to pay another visit to St. Malo, but still found it too strong for him; yet he landed his men in the bay of St. Lunaire, about two leagues westward of St. Malo; and the weather immediately driving Howe to sea, the army was marched overland to St. Cast, some leagues off. The soldiers were allowed to rove about and plunder, till Bligh heard that the Duke of Aiguillon was advancing against them at the head of a strong force. Bligh then, but in no hurry, marched for the port of St. Cast, followed by Aiguillon, who waited till he had embarked all but one thousand five hundred men, when he fell upon them, and slaughtered a thousand of them in a hollow way amongst the rocks leading down to the shore.

If the French had been by no means successful in Germany, they had been much less so in other quarters of the globe. In the East Indies we had taken Pondicherry, their chief settlement, from them, and thus remained masters of the whole coast of Coromandel, and of the entire trade with India. In the West Indies, the French had been fortifying Dominica, contrary to treaty, and Lord Rollo and Sir James Douglas were sent thither, and speedily reduced it. France, indeed, was now fast sinking in exhaustion. Louis XV. was a man of no mark or ability, inclined to peace, and leaving all affairs to his Ministers, and still more to his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Choiseul was a man of talent, but of immense vanity, and little persistent firmness. He was now anxious for peace, but, too proud to make the proposal directly, he induced the Courts of Russia and Austria to do it. It was suggested that a congress should be held at Augsburg for settling the peace of Europe. England and Prussia readily consented. But the Duke of Choiseul, anxious to have a clear understanding of the terms on which England and France were likely to treat, proposed a previous exchange of views, and dispatched M. Bussy to London, whilst Mr. Pitt sent to Paris Mr. Hans Stanley.

In the West Indies a small squadron and some land troops took the islands of Tobago, St. Pierre, and Miquelon. At the invitation of the planters, we also took possession of the western or French portion of St. Domingo; but in Martinique, where we had had the same invitation, the Royalist French did not support our efforts according to promise, and the enterprise failed from the smallness of the force employed. Besides these transactions, there occurred a severe fight between Captain Courteney, of the frigate Boston, with only thirty-two guns and two hundred men, and the Ambuscade, a French frigate of thirty-six guns and four hundred picked men, in which both received much damage, and in which Captain Courteney was killed, but in which the Frenchman was compelled to haul off. In the East Indies we again seized Pondicherry, and all the small factories of the French.