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The coarse manners of the gentlemen were gradually yielding to refining influences, but the society of ladies amongst the upper classes was generally neglected. Husbands spent their days in hunting or other masculine occupations, and their evenings in dining and drinking; the dinner party, which commenced at seven, not breaking up before one in the morning. Four- or five-, or even six-bottle men were not uncommon among the nobility. Lord Eldon and his brother Lord Stowell used to say that they had drunk more bad port than any two men in England. The Italian Opera was then the greatest attraction. It became[441] less exclusive in its arrangements when the Opera House was under the management of Mr. Waters; but the strictest etiquette was still kept up with regard to the dress of gentlemen, who were only admitted with knee-buckles, ruffles, and chapeaux bras. If there happened to be a Drawing Room, the ladies as well as the gentlemen would come to the opera in their Court dresses.

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On the 18th of November Lord Cornwallis crossed the North River with six thousand men, and, landing on the Jersey side, began to attack Fort Lee, standing nearly opposite Fort Washington. The garrison fled, leaving behind all its tents standing, all its provisions and artillery. Washington was compelled by this to fall back from his position on the Croton, thence to Brunswick, Princeton, Trenton, and finally to the Pennsylvanian side of the Delaware. Lord Cornwallis followed at his heels. Cornwallis penetrated to the remotest parts of east and west Jersey, and everywhere the inhabitants received him as a friend and deliverer. On the 24th of November Lord Cornwallis was approaching Brunswick, when he received orders to halt. By this means, Washington was allowed to escape across the Delaware. It was not till the evening of the 16th of December that Cornwallis received[232] orders to proceed, and, though he made all haste, he was too late. The rear of the American army quitted Princeton as the van of the English army entered it. Washington, in headlong haste, fled to Trenton, and began ferrying his troops over the Delaware. When Cornwallis reached Trenton, at nine o'clock the next morning, he beheld the last boats of Washington crossing the river. Once over the water, the remains of the American troops lost all appearance of an army. They were a mere dirty, worn-out, ragged, and dispirited mob. Washington had taken the advantage of the halt of Cornwallis to collect all the boats from Delaware for the distance of seventy miles, so that the English could not cross after them. Cornwallis, being thus brought to a stand, put his army into winter quarters between the Delaware and the Hackensack..
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On the 21st of January, 1772, the king opened Parliament, and the two divisions of the Opposition under the leadership of Rockingham and Chatham were found to be divided and dispirited. The chief proceeding of this session was one of a very remarkable character. The boasted morals of George III. and of his queen had not defended his family from gross crimes and corruptions. Very notorious was the life of his brother, the Duke of Cumberland. Amongst his licentious intrigues was one with Henrietta Vernon, Lady Grosvenor, a young and beautiful woman, whom he seduced, following her into Cheshire, when her husband took her from town, and meeting her in various disguises. In 1770 Lord Grosvenor brought an action against him and obtained a verdict of ten thousand pounds. With a rapidity of fickleness almost unexampled, he was immediately afterwards paying suit to Mrs. Horton. Cumberland went over to Calais with Mrs. Horton, and there married her according to the[206] rites of the Church of England (October 2, 1771). The Duke of Gloucester also now confessed to a secret marriage (September 6, 1766) with the Countess Dowager Waldegrave. A Bill was brought into Parliament in 1772, since well known as the Royal Marriage Act, by which every prince or princess, descendant of George II., except only the issue of princes married abroad, was prohibited from marrying until the age of twenty-five without the king's consent. After that age they might apply to the Privy Council, and if within a year of such announcement both Houses of Parliament should not express disapprobation of the intended marriage, it might then be lawfully solemnised. The Bill did not pass without violent opposition.
The debate was fixed for the 9th of February, on which day it was moved that the House should resolve itself into a committee on the propositions of the Government. Mr. P. Miles moved, as an amendment, that the House should go into committee on that day twelvemonth. The debate occupied twelve nights, in the course of which every species of vituperation was hurled at the Minister by the monopolist party. Mr. Beresford Hope denounced him as an apostate. Major Fitzmaurice thought the farmers might as well die by the manly system of Mr. Cobden as by the mincemeal interference of the right hon. baronet. Another member compared the Minister to a counsel who, after taking a fee for advocating one side, took the other when the case came into court. Mr. Disraeli attacked with great vehemence and bitterness the Ministerial proposals, and pointed to the "sad spectacle" of the Minister surrounded by a majority who, while they gave him their votes, protested in their speeches against his policy. Lord George Bentinck, who, in the many years he had hitherto been in Parliament, had never before taken part in any debate of importance, surprised the House on the last night of the debate by delivering a long and elaborate speech against the measure, in which he charged the Minister with "swindling" and deception鈥攁 speech which at once marked him out for one of the leaders of the new Opposition.
But the loss of the Allies had also been perfectly awful. The Prussians, besides the great slaughter at Ligny, had been engaged in a bloody struggle at Planchenoit, and the British and their Allies had lost in the battle of Waterloo two thousand four hundred and thirty-two killed, and nine thousand five hundred and twenty-eight wounded; these, added to the numbers killed and wounded at Quatre Bras, raised the total to fifteen thousand. Of British and Hanoverian officers alone six hundred were killed or wounded at Waterloo. The Duke of Brunswick fell at the head of his troops at Quatre Bras, without having the satisfaction of witnessing the final ruin of Buonaparte. So many of Wellington's staff were disabled that he had at one time no officer to dispatch with a pressing order. A young Piedmontese, of the family of De Salis, offered himself. "Were you ever in a battle before?" asked the Duke. "No, sir," he replied. "Then," said the Duke, "you are a lucky man, for you will never see such another." When the Duke, who had witnessed so many bloody battles, saw the carnage of Waterloo, and heard, one after another, the losses of so many companions in arms, he was quite overcome. In his despatches he says: "I cannot express the regret and sorrow with which I look round me, and contemplate the losses that we have sustained." And again, "The losses I have sustained have quite broken me down, and I have no feeling for the advantages we have gained."
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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