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The Earl of Bute became more and more unpopular. The conditions of the peace were greatly disapproved, and the assurance that not only Bute, but the king's mother and the Duke of Bedford, had received French money for carrying the peace, was generally believed. The conduct of Bute in surrounding the king with his creatures, in which he was joined by the Princess of Wales, added much to the public odium. George was always of a domestic and retiring character, and he was now rarely seen, except when he went once or twice a-year to Parliament, or at levees, which were cold, formal, and unfrequent. Though, probably, the main cause of this was the natural disposition of himself and queen, yet Bute and the princess got the credit of it. Then the manner in which Bute paid his visits to the princess tended to confirm the rumours of their guilty intimacy. He used always to go in an evening in a sedan chair belonging to one of the ladies of the princess's household, with the curtains drawn, and taking every other precaution of not being seen. There were numbers of lampoons launched at the favourite and the princess. They were compared to Queen Isabella and Mortimer, and Wilkes actually wrote an ironical dedication of Ben Jonson's play of "The Fall of Mortimer," to Bute.
During this year little was done in America. General Bradstreet defeated a body of the enemy on the River Onondaga, and, on the other hand, the French took the two small forts of Ontario and Oswego."Why shouldn't it be? What the deuce has a fellow got to do but drink and gamble? You have to, to keep your mind off it."
"Yes, ye have one!"During the year 1796 strong forces were sent to the West Indies, and the Island of Grenada was recovered by General Nichols; St. Lucia, by General Abercromby, whilst General Whyte conquered the Dutch settlements of Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo; but some of these possessions were dearly purchased by the number of the troops who perished from the unhealthiness of their climate. The Dutch made an effort to recover the Cape of Good Hope. They were to have been assisted by the French in this enterprise, but their allies not keeping their engagement, they sailed alone, and reached Saldanha Bay on the 3rd of August, when Rear-Admiral Sir George Elphinstone surprised and captured the whole of their vessels, consisting of two sixty-four-gun ships, one fifty-four, five frigates and sloops, and a store-ship. A squadron then proceeded from the Cape to Madagascar, and destroyed a French settlement there, seizing five merchant vessels.
The interval of repose now obtained continued through the winter, and late into the spring of 1813. It was greatly required by the British army. Lord Wellington stated that the long campaign, commencing in January, had completely tired down man and horse; that they both required thorough rest and good food, and that the discipline of the army, as was always the case after a long campaign, needed restoration; and he set himself about to insure these ends, not only in the troops immediately under his own eye, but in those under Maitland and his successors in the south. He had, even during his own retreat, written to Maitland, encouraging him to have confidence in his men, assuring him that they would repay it by corresponding confidence in themselves. Lord William Bentinck, however, ordered Maitland to return to Sicily with his army in October; Lord Wellington decidedly forbade it. Maitland therefore resigned, and was succeeded by General Clinton, who found himself completely thwarted in his movements by the governor of Alicante, who treated the allies much more like enemies, and would not allow the British to have possession of a single gate of the town, keeping them more like prisoners than free agents. At the beginning of December a fresh reinforcement of four thousand men, under General Campbell, arrived from Sicily, and Campbell took the chief command; but he did not venture to take any decisive movement against the French, but waited for Lord William Bentinck himself, who now determined to come over, but did not arrive till July, 1813. Whilst Campbell remained inactive from this cause, his motley foreign troops continued to desert, and many of them went and enlisted with Suchet.Paine, in his "Rights of Man," was far from restricting himself to the courtesies of life in attacking Burke. He had been most hospitably received by Burke on many occasions at his house, and had corresponded with him, and must therefore have seen sufficient of him to know that, though he might become extremely enthusiastic in his championship of certain views, he could never become mean or dishonest. Yet Paine did not hesitate to attribute to him the basest and most sordid motives. He branded him as the vilest and most venal of apostates. Paine had, in fact, become a monomaniac in Republicanism. He had been engaged to the last in the American Revolution, and was now living in Paris, and constantly attending the Jacobin club. He was hand-in-hand with the most rabid of the Republicans, and was fast imbibing their anti-Christian tenets. Paine fully believed that the French were inaugurating something much finer than any millennium; that they were going to establish the most delightful liberty, equality, and fraternity, not simply throughout France but throughout the world. Before the doctrines of the French clubbists and journalists, all superstition, all despotism, all unkindness were to vanish from amongst mankind, and a paradisiacal age of love and felicity was to commence. To those who pointed to the blood and fury already too prominently conspicuous in this business, he replied that these were but the dregs of corrupt humanity, which were working off in the great fermentation, and all would become clear and harmonious.