Planting begins with arrival of springtime weather

But Pitt was already doing his own work and paving his own way. He wrote to the king on the 25th of April, informing him of the determined opposition he felt himself called upon to make to Addington's mode of administration, but assuring him that he would never attempt to force Fox upon him. This was saying, as plainly as he could speak to the king, that he was ready to resume the helm himself, and that, with the opposition that he could exert, the Government of Addington could not go on. Accordingly, Pitt received a notice that his Majesty would soon call for him to attend on him. On the 30th of April the Marquis of Stafford, in the House of Lords, gave notice of a motion identical with that of Fox in the Commonsnamely, for inquiry into the national defences. Lord Hawkesbury immediately entreated the marquis to postpone his motion, for reasons which, he assured the House, it would deem fully satisfactory if he were at liberty to state them. It was at once understood that negotiations were on foot for a change of Administration. Lord Grenville, who was a relative of Pitt, but at the same time pledged to include Fox in any offers to himself of entering the Ministry, called upon Lord Hawkesbury to be more explicit; but he declined, and after some discussion the motion was postponed. Pitt, in fact, had received a message from the king, and on the 2nd of May, through Lord Chancellor Eldon, presented a letter sketching a plan of a new Cabinet, in which he included not only Lord Grenville but Fox also. On the 7th he had, for the first time, an interview with the king, which lasted three hours, and Pitt then more fully stated his views, and recommended a mixed Cabinet on the ground that there was every prospect of a long war, and that it was desirable that they should have a strong administration. Whether such a coalition would have been strong is more than doubtful, opposed as the views and tempers of Fox and Pitt were. But the king would not allow the name of Fox to be in the list. On the other hand, Lord Grenville refused to become part of an Administration from which Fox was excluded. He said he could not accept office in a Cabinet formed on the basis of exclusion, being convinced that an effective government could only be secured by uniting in it as large a proportion as possible of the weight, talents, and character to be found in public men of all descriptions. Pitt was thus forced to form a Government on a narrow Tory basis. On the 11th of May the Marquis of Stafford said, in the House of Lords, that he understood that a certain right honourable gentleman, who had turned his great abilities to the subject of the national defences, was about to take the management of public affairs, and that he therefore withdrew his motion. The next day the public announcement was made that Addington had resigned, and that Pitt had accepted the Chancellorship of the Exchequer. Of the Addington Ministry Pitt retainedLord[496] Chancellor Eldon; the Duke of Portland, President of the Council; the Earl of Westmoreland, Lord Privy Seal; his own brother, the Earl of Chatham, Master-General of the Ordnance; and Lord Castlereagh, President of the Board of Control. To these he added Dundas, now Lord Melville, as First Lord of the Admiralty; Lord Harrowby as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, in place of Lord Hawkesbury; and Lord Camden as Secretary of the Colonies, in place of Lord Hobart. Lord Mulgrave became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in place of Lord Pelham. George Canning, now becoming a marked man, was made Treasurer of the Navy, in place of Tierney, but this gave him no seat in the Cabinet. Huskisson was Secretary to the Treasury, and Mr. Perceval remained Attorney-General.

In September the Americans in Fort Erie, being strongly reinforced, and elated by their repulse of General Drummond, marched out and made an attack on the British lines. General de Watteville received them with such effect that they rapidly fell back on Fort Erie and, no longer feeling themselves safe even there, they evacuated the fort, demolished its works, and retreated altogether from the shore of Upper Canada. When the news of peace, which had been concluded in December of this year, arrived in the spring, before the commencement of military operationsthough thirty thousand men at a time had invaded the Canadian frontiers, and Hampton, Wilkinson, and Harrison had all been marching in the direction of Kingston and Montreal simultaneously, the British were in possession of their fortress of Niagara, and of Michilimakinac, the key of the Michigan territory; and they had nothing to give in exchange but the defenceless shore of the Detroit. They had totally failed in their grand design on Canada, and had lostin killed, wounded, and prisonersnearly fifty thousand men, besides vast quantities of stores and ammunition. In short, they had incurred an expenditure quite heavy enough to deter them from lightly attacking the Canadas again. But Ministers were too sensible of the unconstitutional character of their deeds to rest satisfied with the mere justification of an accepted report. A Bill of Indemnity was introduced to cover "all persons who had in 1817 taken any part in apprehending, imprisoning, or detaining in custody persons suspected of high treason, or treasonable practices, and in the suppression of tumultuous and unlawful assemblies." Thus Ministers were shielded under general terms, and to avoid all appearance of personal movement in this matter by those in the Cabinet the most immediately active, the Bill was introduced by the Duke of Montrose, the Master of the Horse. [See larger version]

In all those arts which increase the prosperity of a nation England made the most remarkable progress during this reign. A number of men, springing chiefly from its working or manufacturing orders, arose, who introduced inventions and improvements in practical science, which added, in a most wonderful degree, to the industrial resources of the country. Agriculture at the commencement of the reign was in a sluggish and slovenly condition, but the increase of population, and the augmented price of corn and cattle, led to numerous enclosures of waste lands, and to improvements both in agricultural implements and in the breeds of sheep and cattle. During the thirty-three years of the reign of George II. the number of enclosures averaged only seven per annum, but in the first twenty-five years of the reign of George III. they amounted to forty-seven per annum. During that period the number of enclosures was one thousand one hundred and eighty-six, the number each year rapidly increasing. The value of the produce also stimulated the spirit of improvement in tillage as well as enclosure. Many gentlemen, especially in Northumberland, Kent, Norfolk, and Suffolk, devoted themselves to agricultural science. They introduced rotation of crops instead of fallows, and better manuring, and also cultivated various vegetables on a large scale in the fields which before had generally been confined to the garden, as turnips, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, parsnips, etc. Their example began to be followed by the ordinary class of farmers, and the raising of rents greatly quickened this imitation. At the opening of the reign the rental of land did not exceed ten shillings per acre on an[188] average; the rental of the whole kingdom in 1769 being sixteen million pounds, according to Arthur Young, but in a few years it was nearly doubled. This gentleman, who has left us so much knowledge of the agricultural state of the kingdom in his "Tours of Survey," tells us that, northward especially, the old lumbering ploughs and other clumsy instruments were still in use, instead of the improved ones, and that there was, therefore, a great waste of labour, both of man and beast, in consequence. But still improvement was slowly spreading, and already Bakewell was engaged in those experiments which introduced, instead of the old large-headed and ill-shaped sheep, a breed of superior symmetry, which at once consumed less food and yielded a heavier carcase. It was at first contemptuously said by the old race of farmers and graziers, that Bakewell's new herd of sheep was too dear for any one to purchase and too fat for any one to eat. As he was pursuing his improvements in Leicestershire, Culley prosecuted similar ones in Northumberland in both sheep and cattle.

On the 12th of April Wellington entered Toulouse amid the acclamations of the people. But Lord Wellington was accused by the French of fighting the battle five days after the abdication of Buonaparte, and therefore incurring a most needless waste of life. The fact was, that it was not till the afternoon of the 12th of April that Colonel Cooke and the French Colonel, St. Simon, arrived at Toulouse, bringing the official information that Buonaparte had abdicated at Fontainebleau on the 4th. Thus it happened that the battle was fought a week before the knowledge of the peace was received. Moreover, we have the evidence of Soult's own correspondence, that on the 7th of April, after he had heard of the entrance of the Allies into Paris, he was determined to fight another battle, and for the very reason that the Allies had entered Paris. When the English and French colonels arrived at Soult's camp with the same news that they had communicated to Wellington, Soult refused to submit to the Provisional Government until he received orders from Napoleon; nor did he acknowledge this Government till the 17th, when Wellington was in full pursuit of him towards Castelnaudary. On the 18th a convention was signed between Wellington and Soult, and on the following day a like one was signed between Wellington and Suchet. On the 21st Lord Wellington announced to his army that hostilities were at an end, and thanked them "for their uniform discipline and gallantry in the field, and for their conciliatory conduct towards the inhabitants of the country."

The deaths of monarchs, however, were peculiarly fatal to this ambitious man; that of Queen Anne had precipitated him from power, and rescued his country from the ruin he prepared for it; that of George now came as opportunely to prevent the national calamity of his ministry. George set out for Hanover on the 3rd of June, accompanied, as usual, by Townshend and the Duchess of Kendal. Just before his departure the youthful Horace Walpole saw him for the first and last time. When the king was come down to supper, Lady Walsingham took Walpole into the Duchess's ante-room, where George and his favourite were alone. Walpole knelt and[57] kissed the king's hand. George appeared in his usual health.