In the interval, the character and conduct of the Prince of Wales came prominently before the public. The two great friends of the prince were Fox and Sheridan. If the intellectual qualities of these two remarkable men had been equalled by their moral ones, no fitter companions for a young prince could have been found. But, unfortunately, they were as distinguished for their drinking and dissipation, and Fox for his reckless gambling, as for their talents. Pitt and they were in violent opposition, and as Pitt, with his cold, unimpulsive nature, stood firmly by the king, Fox and Sheridan were, as matters of party, warmly the advocates of the prince. Hence the king and his son, sufficiently at strife on the ground of the prince's extravagance and debauchery, were rendered doubly so by the faction fire of their respective adherents. Pitt, who might have softened greatly the hostile feeling between the royal father and son, by recommending less parsimony on the part of the king, and kindly endeavouring to induce the prince to exhibit more respect for his father, never displayed the slightest disposition to act so generous and truly politic a part. Sheridan and some others of the Whig party mentioned the prince's debts, and urged the propriety of something being done to save the honour of the Heir Apparent; but Pitt turned a deaf ear, and the king informed the prince that he could not sanction the payment of his debts by Parliament, nor was he disposed to[337] increase his allowance from the Civil List. On this the prince determined to break up his household, which had been appointed by the king, and cost the prince twenty thousand pounds, to sell his horses and carriages, and to live in a few rooms like a private gentleman. This he did; his fine horses were paraded through the streets on their way to Tattersall's to be sold, and he stopped the building of Carlton House. All this would have been admirable had it proceeded from a real desire to economise on the part of the prince, in order to satisfy his clamorous creditors, and to commence a real reform of his habits; but the whole was only a mode of mortifying the king and Court party by thus exhibiting the Heir Apparent as compelled, by the refusal of a proper allowance, to abandon the style befitting his rank, and sink himself into that of a mere lodger of scanty means. If this grand man?uvre did not accomplish its object at Court, it, however, told on his own party, who resolved in the next Session to make a grand effort for the liquidation of his debts. Such was the state of things with which the Duke of Wellington had to deal as British plenipotentiary when he left London on his mission early in September, taking Paris on his way. There he had some interesting conferences with the king and his Minister. The latter could hold out no hope that France would fulfil her engagements as to the slave trade. He spoke, indeed, of their African settlements as useless to the French people, and proposed to make them over to Britain in exchange for the Isle of France; but farther than this he declined to go, because there were too many interests, both public and private, engaged to thwart his efforts, should he be so unwise as to make any. His language with regard to South America was not less vague and unsatisfactory. He stated that France had not entered into relations with those provinces in any form, and did not intend to do so till they should have settled their differences with Spain one way or another. M. de Villele did not add, as he might have done, that France was feeling her way towards the severance of Spain from her colonies, and towards the establishment in the New World of one or two monarchies, with younger branches of the House of Bourbon at their head.

The confederates endeavoured to keep their plans profoundly secret till they were ready to burst at once on the devoted King of Prussia; but Frederick was the last man alive to be taken by surprise. The secret was soon betrayed to him, and, at once waiving his dislike of the King of England, he concluded a convention with him in January, 1756, and bound himself, during the disturbances in America, not to allow any foreign troops to pass through any part of Germany to those colonies, where he could prevent it. Having his treasury well supplied, he put his army in order, and in August of that year sent a peremptory demand to Vienna as to the designs of Austria, stating, at the same time, that he would not accept any evasive reply; but the reply being evasive, he at once rushed into Saxony at the head of sixty thousand men, blockaded the King of Saxony in Pirna, and secured the queen in Dresden. By this decisive action Frederick commenced what the Germans style "The Seven Years' War." In the palace of Dresden Frederick made himself master of the secret correspondence and treaties with France, Russia, and Austria, detailing all their designs, which he immediately published, and thus fully justified his proceedings to the world. In 1821, 7,250,000 lbs. of coffee were consumed by fourteen millions of people in Great Britain. In 1824 the consumption of coffee in the United Kingdom was 8,250,000 lbs., and the duties wereon foreign coffee, 2s. 6d. per lb.; East India, 1s. 6d.; British West India, 1s. per lb. In the same year the consumption wasof foreign coffee, 1,540 lbs.; East India, 313,000 lbs.; West India, about 800,000 lbs. In the following year Mr. Huskisson reduced the duties on these several kinds to 1s. 3d., 9d., and 6d., respectively, which caused a rapid increase in the consumption. In 1840 the consumption wasof East and West India, 14,500,000 lbs.; and of foreign, 14,000,000 lbs. In 1841, 27,250,000 lbs. were consumed by eighteen and a half millions of people. The tea trade with China was used by the East India Company for the purpose of enriching itself by an enormous tax upon the British consumer. During one hundred years it ranged from 2s. to 4s. in the pound excise duty, with a customs duty of 14 per cent., down to a total minimum duty of 12? per cent. The former duty was estimated at 200 per cent. on the value of the common teas. The effect, as might be expected, was an enormous amount of smuggling. The monopoly of the Company was abolished; it was made lawful for any person to import tea by the Act 4 William IV., c. 85; and the trade was opened on the 22nd of April, 1834. The ad valorem duties were abolished, and all the Bohea tea imported for home consumption was charged with a customs duty of 1s. 6d. per lb.; Congou and other teas of superior quality were charged 2s. 2d. per lb., and some 3s. per lb. In 1836 these various duties gave place to a uniform one of 2s. 1d. per lb., which, with the addition of 5 per cent., imposed in 1840, continued till 1851, when the penny was removed. During the last year of restricted trade (1833) our aggregate importations amounted to 32,000,000 lbs.; during the first year of Free Trade, they bounded up to 44,000,000 lbs.; and in 1856 they had attained to 86,000,000 lbs. The average price of tea per lb., including duty, in 1834, was 4s. 4d. In 1821 the total quantity of tea imported into Great Britain was upwards of 31,000,000 lbs., and its value 1,873,886; in 1834 the quantity was about 35,000,000 lbs., and the value about 2,000,000. In 1837 the quantity was about 40,000,000 lbs.


Arnold had meanwhile arranged everything with Washington, at Cambridge, for his expedition. He marched away from Cambridge with twelve hundred men, and on reaching the Kennebec River, one hundred and thirty miles north of Boston, embarked upon it, carrying with him one thousand pounds in money, and a whole cargo of manifestoes for distribution among the Canadians. Thence he had to traverse a terrible wilderness of woods, swamps, streams, and rugged heights, where the men had to carry their boats and provisions on their shoulders, and where, for two-and-thirty days, they saw no house, wigwam, or sign[221] of human life. So extreme were their distresses, that for the last several days they had to live on their own dogs. It was the 3rd of November before they reached the first Canadian settlement on the river Chaudire, which flows into the St. Lawrence opposite to Quebec. They emerged on the river St. Lawrence, at Point Levi, immediately over against Quebec. Could Arnold have crossed immediately, such was the suddenness of the surprise, he probably would have taken the city. But a rough gale was blowing at the time, and for five days he was detained on the right bank of the river by that circumstance and the want of boats. Arnold, nevertheless, managed to cross the river in the night, about a mile and a half above the place where Wolfe had crossed. Finding the cliffs there too high to scale, he followed the shore down to Wolfe's Cove, and ascended the heights just where Wolfe had done so. Like Wolfe, Arnold formed his band on the Heights of Abraham, and, trusting to the belief that the Canadians were in favour of the Americans, proposed to make a dash up to the gates of the city before day broke; but his followers protested against this design. When day dawned, Arnold saw so many men on the walls and batteries that he knew the assault was hopeless, and retired to Point aux Trembles, where he was joined by Montgomery, who took the chief command.