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Arnold had not been able to bring any artillery with him; Montgomery had a little. They had about twelve hundred men altogether; and with this force they now marched upon Quebec. On the 20th of December they commenced firing on the town from a six-gun battery; but their cannon were too light to make much impressionthey had no guns heavier than twelve-pounders, and these were soon dismounted by Colonel Maclean and his sailors. The Americans withdrew their guns to a safer distance; and their troops were desirous to abandon the enterprise as impracticable, but the commanders engaged them to continue by holding out a prospect of their plundering the lower town, where all the wealth lay. On the last day of the year, soon after four in the morning, the attack was commenced. Two divisions, under Majors Livingstone and Brown, were left to make feigned attacks on the upper town, whilst the rest, in two lines, under Montgomery and Arnold, set out amid a blinding snow-storm to make two real attacks on the lower town. Montgomery, descending to the bed of the St. Lawrence, wound along the beach to Cape Diamond, where he was stopped by a blockhouse and picket. Haying passed these, he again, at a place called Pot Ash, encountered a battery, which was soon abandoned. Montgomery then led his troops across huge piles of ice driven on shore; and no sooner had they surmounted these than they were received by a severe fire from a battery manned by sailors and Highlanders. Montgomery fell dead along with several other officers and many men; and the rest, seeing the fate of their commander, turned and fled back up the cliffs. Arnold, at the same time, was pushing his way through the suburbs of the lower town, followed by Captain Lamb with his artillerymen, and one field piece mounted on a sledge. After these went Morgan with his riflemen; and as they advanced in the dark, and muffled in the falling snow, they came upon a two-gun battery. As Arnold was cheering on his men to attack this outpost, the bone of his leg was shattered by a musket-ball. He was carried from the field; but Morgan rushed on and made himself master of the battery and the guard. Just as day dawned, he found himself in front of a second battery, and, whilst attacking that, was assailed in the rear and compelled to surrender, with a loss of four hundred men, three hundred of whom were taken prisoners. Arnold retreated to a distance of three or four miles from Quebec, and covered his camp behind the Heights of Abraham with ramparts of frozen snow, and remained there for the winter, cutting off the supplies of the garrison, and doing his best to alienate the Canadians from the English.
In the spring of 1814 the Americans made a fresh attempt to invade Canada. Wilkinson, who had retreated so precipitately the preceding autumn, was the first to cross the frontier; but he was repulsed and pursued to Sacketts Harbour, where he took refuge. The British burned some of his block-houses and barracks, and carried off great quantities of stores. In April General Drummond, being put across Lake Ontario by Sir James Yeo's squadron, stormed Fort Oswego, destroyed it, and burnt the barracks. In May the British were not so successful in intercepting some naval stores which the Americans were conveying to Sacketts Harbour. They were repulsed with loss. At the beginning of July the American general, Brown, crossed the Niagara with a strong force, attacked and took Fort Erie, and advanced into Canada. General Riall attempted to stop him at Chippeway, with an insufficient force, and was compelled to retreat to near Fort Niagara. There he was reinforced by General Drummond, with a detachment of the troops recently landed from the army of the Peninsula. Riall and Drummond had now about three thousand men, and Brown had five thousand. A severe battle was fought, almost close to the cataract of Niagara, where the veteran Peninsular men defeated Brown, killing and wounding one thousand five hundred of his troops, but having six hundred killed and wounded themselves. They pursued Brown to Chippeway, and thence to Erie. There Drummond rashly attempted the reduction of the fort with his inferior numbers, and was repulsed with loss.On the 9th of June, when the House of Commons went into committee on the Bill, a large number of merchants desired to be heard against it. For several days their statements were heard, and the Portuguese Ambassador also presented a memorial declaring that should the duties on French wines be lowered to those of Portugal, his master would renew the woollen and other duties on the products of Great Britain. This seemed to enforce the mercantile opinions; the sense of the whole country was against the treaty, and the speech of Sir Thomas Hanmer, a Tory, made a deep impression. There was, however, a growing rumour, during the latter days of the debate, that Oxford had given the treaty upa rumour probably not without foundation, for Oxford and Bolingbroke were no longer in unity. The latter, ambitious and unprincipled, was intriguing to oust his more slow and dilatory colleague; and, as the Bill was ostensibly the work of Bolingbroke, probably Oxford was by no means unwilling that it should be thrown out to damage him. When the question, therefore, was put on the 18th of June, that the Bill be engrossed, it was negatived by a majority of one hundred and ninety-four to one hundred and eighty-five. Thus the commercial treaty was lost, much to the joy of the nation, and certainly to its immediate benefit.
Hon. R. Trench, made a peer and ambassador.
MARRIAGE OF QUEEN VICTORIA. (After the Picture by Sir George Hayter.)
It was plainly the cave. He went and stood in the mouth and looked into the dark, narrowing throat. A[Pg 219] weird silence poured up with the damp, earthy smell. He went farther in, half sliding down the steep bank of soft, powdery, white earth. There was only the uncanny light which comes from reflection from the ground upward. But by it he could see innumerable tiny footprints, coyote, squirrel, prairie-dog, polecat tracks and the like. It took very little imagination to see yellow teeth and eyes gleaming from black shadows also, although he knew there were no dangerous animals in those parts.In Britain there were terrible outcries in consequence of the scarcity of bread. There were rioting and plundering of corn-factors' and bakers' shops, and Government passed a number of Acts giving premiums on the importation of grain, and forbidding the making of any but mixed and coarse breads. Had not large subscriptions been raised, and private benevolence been called forth to an immense extent for the relief of the distress, the consequences would have been more terrible. Pitt was in favour of remedial legislation, but Grenville was against interfering with the laws of supply and demand.