But there was no rest for Frederick. Daun was overrunning Saxony; had reduced Leipsic, Wittenberg, and Torgau. Frederick marched against him, retook Leipsic, and came up with Daun at Torgau on the 3rd of November. There a most sanguinary battle took place, which lasted all day and late into the night. Within half an hour five thousand of Frederick's grenadiers, the pride of his army, were killed by Daun's batteries of four hundred cannon. Frederick was himself disabled and carried into the rear, and altogether fourteen thousand Prussians were killed or wounded, and twenty thousand of the Austrians. This scene of savage slaughter closed the campaign. The Austrians evacuated Saxony, with the exception of Dresden; the Russians re-passed the Oder, and Frederick took up his winter quarters at Leipsic.
Napoleon, however, called his Champ-de-Mai together for the electors to this anomalous document; but, to add to the incongruity, the assembly was held in the Champ-de-Mars, and not in May at all, but on the 1st of June. There he and his brothers, even Lucien, who had been wiled back to his assistance, figured in fantastic robes as emperor and princes of the blood, and the electors swore to the Constitution; but the whole was a dead and dreary fiasco. On the 4th the two Chambers, that of Peers and that of Representatives, met. The Peers, who were his own officers and picked men, readily agreed to the Constitution; but not so the Chamber of Representatives. They chose Lanjuinais president, who had been a zealous advocate of Louis XVI., and who had drawn up the list of crimes under which Buonaparte's forfeiture had been pronounced in 1814. They entered into a warm discussion on the propriety of abolishing all titles of honour in that Chamber. They rejected a proposition to bestow on Napoleon the title of Saviour of his Country, and they severely criticised the "additional Act," declaring that "the nation would entertain no plans of aggrandisement; that not even the will of a victorious prince should lead them beyond the boundaries of self-defence." In this state of things Buonaparte was compelled to depart, leaving the refractory chamber to discuss the articles of his new Constitution.
Much inconvenience and misery were caused during the year by the trades unions and their strikes. In several places the workmen combined in order to enforce a rise of wages, and a more equitable distribution of the profits derived from their labour. The striking commenced on the 8th of March, when the men employed by the London gas companies demanded that their wages should be increased from twenty-eight shillings to thirty-five shillings a week, with two pots of porter daily for each man. On the refusal of this demand they all stopped working; but before much inconvenience could be experienced their places were supplied by workmen from the country. On the 17th of March an event occurred which caused general and violent excitement among the working classes. At the Dorchester Assizes six agricultural labourers were tried and convicted for being members of an illegal society, and administering illegal oaths, the persons initiated being admitted blindfold into a room where there was the picture of a skeleton and a skull. They were sentenced to transportation for seven years. Their case excited the greatest sympathy among the working population throughout the kingdom. In London, Birmingham, and several other large manufacturing towns immense meetings were held to petition the king in favour of the convicts. In the midst of this excitement the manufacturers of Leeds declared their determination not to employ any persons in their factories who were members of trades unions. The consequence was that in that town three thousand workmen struck in one day. On the 15th of April there was a riot at Oldham, where, in consequence of the arrest of two members of a trade union, a factory was nearly destroyed, and one person killed, the mob having been dispersed by a troop of lancers. Several of the rioters were arrested and sentenced to terms of imprisonment varying from six to eighteen months. On the 21st of April a meeting of the trades unions took place at Copenhagen Fields, to adopt a petition to the Home Secretary praying for a remission of the sentence on the Dorchester convicts. They marched to the Home Office through the leading thoroughfares, numbering about 25,000, in order to back up their deputation, which, however, Lord Melbourne refused to receive, though he intimated to them that their petition should be laid before the king if presented in a proper manner. The multitude then went in procession to Kennington Common. On the 28th 13,000 London journeymen tailors struck for higher wages. The masters, instead of yielding, resolved not to employ any persons connected with trades unions, and after a few weeks the men submitted and returned to their work.
Bute made overtures to France through the neutral Court of Sardinia. Louis XV. and his Ministers caught at the very first whisper of such a thing with the eagerness of drowning men; a sufficient intimation to an able and cautious minister, that he might safely name his own terms. The ambassadors, however, soon found that the real business of the treaty was transacted between Bute, on the part of Britain, and the Duke de Choiseul, on that of France; and that not through ambassadors, but through Sardinian envoys. No sooner had the insurrection of Aranjuez taken place, and Ferdinand been proclaimed king, than, so early as April the 8th, General Casta?os informed Sir Hew Dalrymple, the governor of Gibraltar, that there was an end of the policy of Godoy, which had made Spain the slave of France and the foe of Britain. Sir Hew sent a prompt dispatch to England with the news, and, till he could receive instructions from the British Government, he maintained friendly relations with the Spaniards. When the junta of Seville was formed, and there was every reason to believe that Spain would make a determined resistance, on his own responsibility he encouraged the merchants of Gibraltar to make a loan of forty thousand dollars to the junta without premium; and Captain Whittingham, an officer well acquainted with Spain, went to Seville to assist in planning the best means of preventing the French from passing the Sierra Morena. On the 8th of June Sir Hew received a dispatch from Lord Castlereagh, informing him that the British Government had determined to send ten thousand men immediately to the assistance of the Spanish patriots. But this was preceded four days by a proclamation which had outstripped Lord Castlereagh's dispatch, stating that his Majesty had ordered all hostilities towards Spain to cease, and all Spanish ships at sea to be unmolested. Admiral Collingwood took the command of the whole British fleet on the coast of Spain, ready to co-operate. He landed Mr. Cox to proceed to Seville as confidential agent, and about the middle of June General Spencer arrived at Cadiz with five thousand British soldiers. About the same time, the junta of Seville declared themselves at peace with Great Britain, and sent four commissioners to England to settle diplomatic relations between the countries. GEORGE CANNING.
"Believe me, ever yours most sincerely,