Sir John F. W. Herschel, son of Sir William Herschel, conversant with almost every branch of science, also devoted himself with remarkable success to the cultivation of sidereal astronomy. He evinced very early a taste for mathematics, but did not devote himself to astronomy until after his father's death in 1822. He then gave himself up to it without reserve. At that period the Southern Hemisphere was to astronomers little more than an unknown region. For the purpose of exploring it, he visited the Cape of Good Hope in 1834, where, making use of his father's method, he continued his observations for more than four years, examining with great care, among other things, the nebul? and double stars. On his return to Europe, he gave the results of his labours to the world in a work of deep interest, and of the highest importance; and the value of the services he had rendered to science was recognised, not only by the scientific world, but by his Sovereign also, who created him a baronet. After he was appointed Master of the Mint, in 1850, he took no further part in practical astronomy, but he published many excellent works, not only on that subject, but on science generally; and he displayed a thorough acquaintance with natural history, the belles-lettres, and the fine arts, and translated a portion of the "Iliad." This great astronomer and mathematician died in May, 1871. Lord Rosse's labours to improve the telescope commenced about 1828, and continued unremittingly until 1844. His masterpiece was of six feet aperture and 54 feet in focal length.
SEA FIGHT OFF CAPE PASSARO. (See p. 41.) The last act of this year, 1794, was the opening of Parliament on the 30th of December. The king, in his speech, was compelled to confess the deplorable defeat of our Allies, and of our own army under the Duke of York. He had to admit that, Robespierre having fallen, there might possibly be a more pacific spirit in France; that Holland, the only ally for whom we were verbally bound to take up arms, was negotiating a peace with the French; that the United States of America had refused to coalesce with the French against us, and had, on the contrary, made a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation with us. Here, then, was an end of all real causes for anything more than a mere defensive war on our part. Yet the speech breathed a most warlike spirit, and made a great deal of the secession of the island of Corsica from France and its adhesion to England. In the same spirit were the Addresses from both Houses carried by overwhelming Ministerial majorities.
But it was not till 1766 that the public became possessed of what may be called the first domestic novel, in the "Vicar of Wakefield" of Oliver Goldsmith (b. 1728; d. 1774). The works of Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett had been rather novels of general life than of the home life of England, but this work was a narrative of such every-day kind as might occur in any little nook in the country. It was a picture of those chequered scenes that the lowliest existence presents: the simple, pious pastor, in the midst of his family, easily imposed on and led into difficulties; the heartless rake, bringing disgrace and sorrow where all had been sunshine before; the struggles and the triumphs of worth, which had no wealth or high rank to emblazon it; and all mingled and quickened by a humour so genial and unstudied that it worked on the heart like the charms of nature herself. No work ever so deeply influenced the literary mind of England. The productions which it has originated are legion, and yet it stands sui generis amongst them all. The question may seem to lack sequence, yet we may ask whether there would have been a "Pickwick" if there had not been a "Vicar of Wakefield?" News of this most extraordinary defeat acted on the French, on all sides, like the concussion of some violent explosion. They fell back and fled in confusion before any enemy appeared. General Clausel, who was advancing from Logro?o with fifteen thousand men, fled back to Saragossa with such precipitation, and thence through the central Pyrenees into France, that he left all his artillery and most of his baggage on the road. The same was the case with General Foy, who fled from Bilbao to Bayonne in hot haste, with General Graham at his heels. Except at San Sebastian and Pampeluna, where the garrisons were soon besieged, the French were scarcely to be found in Spain, except those with Suchet in the south-east.
At an early hour a crowd was assembled at the queen's residence in South Audley Street. Lady Anne Hamilton, "faithful found among the faithless, faithful only she," arrived a few minutes before five o'clock. Soon afterwards the gate was thrown open, and a shout was raised, "The queen! the queen!" She appeared in her state coach, drawn by six bays, attended by Lady Hood and Lady Anne Hamilton, Lord Hood following in his own carriage. Having arrived at Dean's Yard Gate, it was found that the entrance for persons of rank was Poet's Corner; thither the coachman went, but there he found there was no thoroughfare. After several stoppages she was conducted to the Poet's Corner, and arriving at the place where the tickets were received, Lord Hood demanded admission for the queen. The doorkeeper said that his instructions were to admit no person without a peer's ticket. Lord Hood asked, "Did you ever hear of a queen being asked for a ticket before? This is your queen. I present to you your queen. Do you refuse her admission?" She also said that she was his queen, and desired permission to pass. The doorkeeper answered that his orders were peremptory. Lord Hood then tendered one ticket which he had, and asked the queen whether she would enter alone. After a short consultation she declined, and it was resolved that, having been refused admission to the cathedral church of Westminster, she should return to her carriage. As she quitted the spot, some persons in the doorway laughed derisively, and were rebuked by Lord Hood for their unmannerly and unmanly conduct. Meanwhile, the American emissaries were both busy and successful at the Court of France. Though the Government still professed most amicable relations towards Great Britain, it winked at the constant sale of the prizes taken by American privateers, or those who passed for such, in their ports. The Government had, as we have seen, supplied the insurgents with money and arms. It was now arranged between Silas Deane and the French Minister, Vergennes, that the supplies of arms and ammunition should be sent by way of the West Indies, and that Congress should remit payment in tobacco and other produce. The French Government supplied the American agents with money for their purchases of arms and necessary articles for the troops, also to be repaid in tobacco. Two of the ships sent off with such supplies were captured by the British men-of-war; but a third, loaded with arms, arrived safely. To procure the money which they could not draw from Europe, Congress made fresh issues of paper money, though what was already out was fearfully depreciated. They voted a loan also of five millions of dollars, at four per cent. interest. They authorised a lottery to raise a like sum, the prizes to be payable in loan-office certificates. These measures only precipitated the depreciation of the Government paper; people refused to take it; and Washington, to prevent the absolute starvation of the army, was endowed with the extraordinary power of compelling the acceptance of it, and of arresting and imprisoning all maligners of the credit of Congress. Congress went further, and passed a resolution that their bills ought to pass current in all payments, trade, and dealings, and be deemed equal in value to the same sum in Spanish dollars; and that all persons refusing to take them should be considered enemies to the United States; and the local authorities were called upon to inflict forfeitures and other penalties on all such persons. Still further: the New York convention having laid before Congress their scheme for regulating the price of labour, produce, manufactured articles, and imported goods, it was adopted. But these arbitrary and unscientific measures the traders set at defiance, and the attempts to enforce them only aggravated the public distress. Loans came in slowly, the treasury ran low, the loan offices were overdrawn, and the issue of bills of credit was reluctantly recommenced; ten additional millions were speedily authorised, and as the issue increased, the depreciation naturally kept pace with it. The Commissioners in France were instructed to borrow money there, but the instructions were more easily given than executed.
On the 16th of June, just as the House was growing impatient for prorogation, Lord North, who earlier in the Session had made some unsuccessful negotiations with the Whigs, announced intelligence which put such prorogation out of the question. He informed the House that the Spanish Ambassador had delivered a hostile manifesto and had thereupon quitted London. On the 17th a Royal Message was delivered, asserting his Majesty's surprise at this act of Spain, and declaring that nothing on his part had provoked it. But it by no means took anybody else by surprise, and the Opposition strongly reproached Government for not giving credit to their warnings on this head. In the Commons, Lord John Cavendish, and, in the Lords, the Earl of Abingdon and the Duke of Richmond, moved that the fleet and army should be immediately withdrawn from America, that peace be made with those States, and all our forces be concentrated in chastising France and Spain, as they deserved, for their treachery and unprovoked interference. They called for a total change of Ministers and measures.