[See larger version] In 1710 was established the Academy of Ancient Music, the object of which was to promote the study of vocal and instrumental harmony. Drs. Pepusch, Greene, and other celebrated musicians were amongst its founders. They collected a very valuable musical library, and gave annual concerts till 1793, when more fashionable ones attracted the public, and the society was dissolved. In 1741 was established the Madrigal Society, the founder of which was John Immyns, an attorney. It embraced men of the working classes, and held meetings on Wednesday evenings for the singing of madrigals, glees, catches, etc. Immyns sometimes read them a lecture on a musical subject, and the society gradually grew rich. The composers of such pieces at this period were such men as Purcell, Eccles, Playford, Leveridge, Carey, Haydn, Arne, etc. Public gardens became very much the fashion, and in these, at first, oratorios, choruses, and grand musical pieces were performed, but, by degrees, gave way to songs and catches.[157] Vauxhall, originally called Spring Garden, established before the Revolution, became all through this period the fashionable resort of the aristocracy, and to this was added Ranelagh, near Chelsea College, a vast rotunda, to which crowds used to flock from the upper classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, to hear the music and singing. These performances spread greatly the taste for music, and probably excited the alarm of the puritanically religious, for there arose a loud outcry against using music in churches, as something vain and unhallowed. Amongst the best publications on the science of music during this period were Dr. Holder's "Treatise on the Natural Grounds and Principles of Harmony," 1694; Malcolm's "Treatise on Music, Speculative, Practical, and Historical," 1721; Dr. Pepusch's "Treatise on Harmony," 1731; Dr. Smith's "Harmonics; or, the Philosophy of Musical Sounds;" Avison's "Essay on Musical Expression," 1752. Avison also published twenty-six concertos for a band, which were much admired.


[See larger version] The Austrians and Russians by this time were in full march for Italy. Leaving the Archduke Charles to cope with Jourdain, who had made himself master of the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein in January, and menaced a march on the Danube, an army of Austrians, under Generals Bellegarde and Hotze, entered Switzerland, re-occupied the Grisons country, drove the French from the St. Gothard, and menaced Massena at Zurich. Another army of Austrians, under old General Mlas, issued from the Tyrol and drove the French General, Scherer, from post to post in Upper Italy, till he took refuge behind the Mincio. Moreau was then sent to supersede Scherer, but found himself in April confronted not only by Mlas, but by Suvaroff, with an addition of fifty thousand men. On the 27th of that month he was attacked by this combined force and beaten. Brescia and Peschiera surrendered, Mantua was invested, and Suvaroff entered Milan. Moreau was compelled to retreat upon Genoa, and await the arrival of Macdonald, who was rapidly marching from Naples to his aid. But Macdonald was confronted on the banks of the Trebia, and after a fierce battle of three days he was routed, and escaped only to Moreau with the remnant of his army. Moreau now stationed himself in the entrance of the Bochetta Pass, in the Apennines, behind the town of Novi; but there he was superseded by General Joubert, the Directory having lost faith in him. Joubert, however, had no better success than Moreau. Suvaroff attacked him on the 16th of August, routed his army and killed him; the French abandoning nearly all their artillery on the field, and flying in disorder towards Genoa. In sculpture at this period we stood much lower than in painting. Here we had no Hogarth, nor even a Thornhill. All that was of any value in this art proceeded from the chisels of foreigners, and even in that what an immense distance from the grand simplicity of the ancients! The sculpture of Italy and France was in the ascendant, but Bernini and Roubiliac had little in common with Phidias and Praxiteles, and our own sculptors presented a melancholy contrast to the work of artists of the worst age of Greece or Rome; there is scarcely a name that is worth mentioning. The best of the native sculptors was John[164] Bushnell, who was employed by Wren to execute the statues of the kings at Temple Bar; and Francis Bird, who was also employed later by Wren to execute "The Conversion of St. Paul," in the pediment of the new cathedral, the bas-reliefs under the portico, and the group in front, all of a very ordinary character. His best work is the monument of Dr. Busby in the transept of Westminster Abbey. Besides this he executed the monument of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, also at Westminster, and the bronze statue of Henry VI., in the quadrangle of Eton College, both very indifferent. Gibbs and Bird executed the ponderous and tasteless monument of Holles, Duke of Newcastle, at Westminster, and the fine old minster is disgraced by a crowd of still more contemptible productions of this period. These can only be equalled in wretchedness by the works of a trading school, who supplied copies in lead of ancient gods, goddesses, shepherds, shepherdesses, etc., for the gardens of the nobility, which soon swarmed in legions in all the gardens and areas in and around the metropolis. Amongst the chief dealers in this traffic were Cheere and Charpentier, who employed foreign artists, even, for such images, and it was the fortune of Roubiliac to commence his English career with the former of these traders. The three chief foreigners of this period were Rysbraeck, Scheemakers, and Roubiliac, who were copyists of the French sculptors Coysevox, Bouchardon, and Le Moyne, as these had been of Bernini.

Henry Purcell (b. 1658; d. 1695) produced the bulk of his works in William's reign. He composed the music to "The Tempest," "Dioclesian," "King Arthur," "Don Quixote," "Bonduca," and "Orpheus Britannicus." Many parts of these, and his sonatas, anthems, catches, rounds, glees, etc., are as much enjoyed now as in his own day. The music to Davenant's "Circe," by Banister, of Shadwell's "Psyche," by Lock, and of Dryden's "Albion and Albanius," by Grabut, had increased in England the liking for the lyrical drama; but Purcell's compositions wonderfully strengthened it, and from "King Arthur" may properly be dated the introduction of the English opera. Gay's "Beggar's Opera," six-and-thirty years after, however, was the first complete and avowed opera, and this did not establish that kind of entertainment in England. The wonderful success of this production, which was performed for sixty-two nights (not consecutive), was chiefly derived from the wit and satire of the composition itself, the abundance of popular airs introduced, and the party feeling which it gratified. The airs were selected and adapted by Dr. Pepusch, a German, who settled in London, and became celebrated there. He also furnished the overture, and wrote accompaniments to the airs. Eleven years after, Milton's "Comus" was adapted to the stage by the Rev. Dr. Dalton, with music by Dr. Arne, who afterwards composed the music for "Artaxerxes," and thence derived a high reputation.

From this episode of fire and fanaticism we recur to the general theme of the war with Spain, France, and America, in which England was every day becoming more deeply engaged. From the moment that Spain had joined France in the war against us, other Powers, trusting to our embarrassments with our colonies and those great European Powers, had found it a lucrative trade to supply, under neutral flags, warlike materials and other articles to the hostile nations; thus, whilst under a nominal alliance, they actually furnished the sinews of war against us. In this particular, Holland, the next great commercial country to Britain, took the lead. She furnished ammunition and stores to the Spaniards, who all this while were engaged in besieging Gibraltar. Spain had also made a treaty with the Barbary States, by which she cut off our supplies from those countries. To relieve Gibraltar, Admiral Sir George Rodney, who was now appointed to the command of our navy in the West Indies, was ordered to touch there on his way out. On the 8th of January 1780, when he had been a few days out at sea, he came in sight of a Spanish fleet, consisting of five armed vessels, convoying fifteen merchantmen, all of which he captured. These vessels were chiefly laden with wheat, flour, and other provisions, badly needed at Gibraltar, and which he carried in with him, sending the men-of-war to England. On the 16th he fell in with another fleet off Cape St. Vincent, of eleven ships of the line, under Don Juan de Langara, who had come out to intercept the provisions which England sent to Gibraltar. Rodney had a much superior fleet, and the Spanish admiral immediately attempted to regain his port. The weather was very tempestuous, and the coast near the shoal of St. Lucar very dangerous; he therefore stood in as close as possible to the shore, but Rodney boldly thrust his vessels between him and the perilous strand, and commenced a running fight. The engagement began about four o'clock in the evening, and it was, therefore, soon dark; but Rodney, despite the imminent danger of darkness, tempest, and a treacherous shore, continued the fight, and the Spaniards for a time defended themselves bravely. The battle continued till two o'clock in the morning; one ship, the San Domingo, of seventy guns, blew up with six hundred men early in the action; four ships of the line, including the admiral's, of eighty guns, struck, and were carried by Rodney safe into port; two seventy-gun ships ran on the shoal and were lost; and of all the Spanish fleet only four ships escaped to Cadiz.

It was necessary that Roman Catholic electors should take an oath and obtain a certificate of their having done so from a magistrate. The friends of Mr. Fitzgerald insisted that this oath should be taken, which caused considerable delay; but a magistrate having been obtained, the freeholders were sworn en masse. Brought into a yard, enclosed within four walls, twenty-five voters were placed against each wall, and thus the oath was simultaneously taken. The effects of this machinery upon the poll soon became manifest. Mr. O'Connell ran ahead of his opponent, and on the second day the result was no longer doubtful. Mr. Fitzgerald would have abandoned the contest, but the landlords resolved that the last man whom they could command should be polled out. They exerted themselves to the utmost to prevent the defection of their tenantry. The most influential of them had their freeholders mustered in a body, and came forward to the hustings at their head, exhorting, promising, threatening, reminding them of past favours, and hinting at the consequences of forsaking their best friends and natural protectors; but the moment O'Connell or a priest appearedshouting: "Vote for your country, boys!" "Vote for the old religion!" "Down with Vesey!" "Hurrah for O'Connell!"they changed sides to a man, with a wild, responsive cheer. One priest, Father Coffey, adhered to Mr. Fitzgerald. "But," says Mr. Sheil, "the scorn and detestation with which he was treated by the mob clearly proved that a priest has no influence over them when he attempts to run counter to their political passions. He can hurry them on in the career in which their own feelings impel them, but he cannot turn them into another course." The generality of the orators were heard with loud and clamorous approbation; but at a late hour one evening, when it was growing rapidly dark, a priest came forward on the platform, who addressed the multitude in Irish. Ten thousand peasants were assembled before the speaker, and a profound stillness hung over the almost breathless mass. For some minutes they continued thus deeply attentive, and seemed to be struck with awe as he proceeded. Suddenly the priest and the whole multitude knelt down with[275] the precision of a regimental evolution. Priest and people were both silent, but they were offering up a mental prayer for mercy on the soul of one of Vesey Fitzgerald's voters, who had died that day, and had been accused of taking a bribe. The polling, which lasted five days, at length closed. The court-house was again crowded, as on the first day. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald appeared again at the head of the aristocracy, and Mr. O'Connell at the head of the priests and the "Forties." The moment the latter was declared by the sheriff duly elected, the first Roman Catholic M.P. since the Revolution, a friend presented him with a letter to be franked. Addressed to a member of the House of Commons, it was posted that night, and when it arrived at its destination it was handed about amongst the members, exciting curiosity and astonishment. It was said also to have found its way to the king, who probably felt thankful that his brother, the Duke of York, did not live to see "Daniel O'Connell, M.P." Mr. O'Connell made a speech, distinguished by just feeling and good taste, and begged that Mr. Fitzgerald would forgive him if he had on the first day given him any sort of offence. Mr. Fitzgerald came forward, and unaffectedly assured him that whatever was said should be forgotten. He was again hailed with universal acclamation, and delivered an admirable speech. During the progress of the election he could not refrain from repeatedly expressing his astonishment at what he saw, and from indulging in melancholy forebodings of events of which these incidents were perhaps but the heralds. "Where is all this to end?" was a question frequently put in his presence, and from which he seemed to shrink.