Not only in Parliament, but everywhere the cry for Reform rose with the distress. Hampden Clubs were founded in every town and village almost throughout the kingdom, the central one[121] being held at the "Crown and Anchor" in the Strand, London, its president being Sir Francis Burdett, and its leading members being William Cobbett, Major Cartwright, Lord Cochrane, Henry Hunt, and others. The object of these clubs was to prosecute the cause of Parliamentary reform, and to unite the Reformers in one system of action. With the spirit of Reform arose, too, that of cheap publications, which has now acquired such a vast power. William Cobbett's Political Register, on the 18th of November, 1816, was reduced from a shilling and a halfpenny to twopence, and thence-forward became a stupendous engine of Reform, being read everywhere by the Reformers, and especially by the working-classes in town and country, by the artisan in the workshop, and the shepherd on the mountain. The great endeavour of Cobbett was to show the people the folly of breaking machinery, and the wisdom of moral union.


The town of Charleston being now in his[274] possession, Sir Henry Clinton proceeded to reduce the whole province to obedience. He issued proclamations, calling on the well-affected young men to form themselves into military bodies, and to act in support of the king's troops, pledging himself that they should never be called upon to march beyond the frontiers of North Carolina on the one side, or those of Georgia on the other; and he assured the inhabitants at large of the utmost protection of person and property, so long as they continued peaceable and loyal subjects of the Crown. In the meantime, Lord Cornwallis continued to enforce these proposals by the movements of his troops. Could Sir Henry Clinton have remained in this quarter, he would without doubt have steadily carried his victorious arms northward till he had everywhere restored the rule of England. But he was completely crippled by the wretched management of the miserable Government at home, who seemed to expect to reconquer America without an army. At this crisis he received news that the Americans were mustering in strong force on the Hudson, and that a French fleet was daily expected on the coast of New England to co-operate with them. He was now compelled to embark for New York, leaving Lord Cornwallis to maintain the ground obtained in South Carolina as well as he could with a body of four thousand men. His second in command was Lord Rawdon, a young officer who had distinguished himself greatly at the battle of Bunker's Hill, and who, like Cornwallis, his chief, was destined, in after years, to occupy the distinguished post of Governor-General of India, with the successive titles of Earl Moira and Marquis of Hastings. The chief business of Cornwallis was to maintain the status gained in South Carolina, but he was at liberty to make a move into North Carolina if he thought it promising.

The king agreed to visit the Assembly in the morning; and he went, attended by his two brothers. He addressed them in a kind and conciliatory tone. He said, "You have been afraid of me; but, for my part, I put my trust in you." This avowal was received with applause, in one of those bursts of sentiment, so sudden and so soon over, which mark French history one moment with tearful emotions and the next with savage bloodshed. The deputies surrounded the monarch, and escorted him back to the palace with tears in their eyes. The queen, from a balcony, saw this enthusiastic procession. She stood with the little dauphin in her arms, and her daughter holding by her dress; and herself, greatly moved, was hailed for the moment also by the senators. For the time all seemed to be forgotten. The king consented to the recall of Necker. The Duke de Liancourt was appointed president of the Assembly, in the place of Bailly; and the nobles, who had hitherto absented themselves from the sittings, now attended and voted. Thus was the Assembly apparently amalgamated, and the revolution completed. A sudden fit of generosity seemed to seize the nobles in the Assemblywhich, in fact, was a fit of terrorfor they had come to the conclusion that no protection was to be expected from the Assembly against the fury and cupidity of the people. They saw that the Assembly was the slave of the people; that the army had fraternised with the people; and that they were at the mercy of the merciless populace. The Viscount de Noailles and the Duke d'Aiguillon declared that it would be wicked and absurd to employ force to quiet the people. They must destroy the cause of their sufferings, and all would be accomplished. The nobles hastened to renounce their privileges. They crowded round the table to enumerate what they surrendered. The Commons, having nothing of their own to give up, surrendered the privileges and charters of towns and provinces. Some offered up their pensions; and one deputy, having nothing else, surrendered his personal convenience, pledging himself to devote his energies to the public welfare. The whole Assembly was in a ferment and fever-heat paroxysm of renunciation, such as could only be witnessed in France. Lally Tollendal, unable to approach the tribunal, sent up a note to the President"Everything is to be apprehended, from the enthusiasm of the Assembly. Break up the sitting!" Lally moved that the king should be proclaimed the restorer of French liberty, which was carried by acclamation; that a Te Deum should be performed for this joyful event; and the Assembly broke up about midnight in a bewilderment of rapture and wonder at its own deed. Lord Goderich acted with great humility. In a letter to the Duke of Buckingham, shortly after his resignation, he expressed his willingness to serve under the Duke of Wellington, though it might certainly be a matter of doubt with him how far, in existing circumstances, he could with credit accept office. But as the Government was to rest upon a broad basis, and was not to oppose the principles he had always advocated, he was ready to consider favourably any offer that might be made to him. The task which Wellington had undertaken was a most[262] difficult one, considering the nature of the questions that agitated the public mind, and the course which he had adopted in reference to them. The new Government was announced on the 25th of January. It retained several members of the Goderich Ministrynamely, Lord Dudley, Mr. Huskisson, and Mr. Herries. The Duke of Wellington was Premier, Mr. Goulburn Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Aberdeen Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Lord Ellenborough Privy Seal. Mr. Canning's widow was created a viscountess, with a grant of 6,000 a year, to be enjoyed after her death by her eldest son, and, in case of his death, by her second son. The former was in the navy, and perished accidentally soon after his father's death. The second son, to whom the family honours descended, was the Governor-General of India during the most memorable crisis in the history of that empire. The grant was opposed by Lord Althorp, Mr. Hume, and Mr. Banks, but was carried by a majority of 161 to 54.