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      From the Painting by Robert HillingfordIn this awkward dilemma the king resolved to cut his way through the French, superior as they were, and regain communication with their magazines and their auxiliaries at Hanau. But Noailles was closely watching their movements; and, being aware of what was intended, took instant measures to prevent the retreat. He immediately advanced from their front to their rear, threw two bridges over the Main at Selingenstadt, and[84] despatched his nephew, the Duke de Gramont, to secure the defile of Dettingen, through which the English must pass in their retreat. He also raised strong batteries on the opposite bank of the Main, so as to play on the English as they marched along the river. These preparations being unknown to the English, and still supposing Noailles' principal force lay between them and Aschaffenberg, instead of between them and Dettingen, on the 27th of June, at daybreak, the king struck his tents, and the march on Dettingen began. George showed a stout heart in the midst of these startling circumstances, and the soldiers, having the presence of their king, were full of spirits. George took up his position in the rear of his army, expecting the grand attack to come from that quarter; but presently he beheld his advanced posts repulsed from Dettingen, and the French troops pouring over the bridge of the Main. He then perceived that Noailles had anticipated their movements, and, galloping to the head of his column, he reversed the order of his march, placing the infantry in front and the cavalry in the rear. His right extended to the bosky hills of the Spessart, and his left to the river. He saw at once the difficulty of their situation. Gramont occupied a strong position in the village of Dettingen, which was covered by a swamp and a ravine. There was no escape but by cutting right through De Gramont's forceno easy matter; and whilst they were preparing for the charge, the batteries of the French on the opposite bank of the Main, of which they were previously unaware, began to play murderously on their flank. With this unpleasant discovery came at the same instant the intelligence that Noailles had secured Aschaffenberg in their rear with twelve thousand men, and was sending fresh reinforcements to De Gramont in front. Thus they were completely hemmed in by the enemy, who were confidently calculating on the complete surrender of the British army and the capture of the king.

      Grey followed, contending that we ought to avoid the calamities of war by all possible means. A long debate ensued, in the midst of which Mr. Jenkinson declared that on that very day, whilst they were discussing the propriety of sending an ambassador to France, the monarch himself was to be brought to trial, and probably by that hour was condemned to be murdered. All the topics regarding Holland and Belgium were again introduced. Fox was supported by Grey, Francis, Erskine, Whitbread, and Sheridan; but his motion was negatived without a division.

      Lord Loftus, 30,000 for boroughs, and made an English marquis.


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      Before the Irish affairs were done with, Pitt moved for leave to bring in his promised Reform Bill. If Pitt were still desirous of reforming Parliament, it was the last occasion on which he showed it, and it may reasonably be believed that he introduced this measure more for the sake of consistency than for any other purpose. He had taken no steps to prepare a majority for the occasion; every one was left to do as he thought best, and his opening observations proved that he was by no means sanguine as to the measure passing the House. "The number of gentlemen," he said, "who are hostile to reform are a phalanx which ought to give alarm to any individual upon rising to suggest such a motion." His plan was to transfer the franchise from thirty-six rotten boroughs to the counties, giving the copyholders the right to vote. This plan would confer seventy-two additional members on the counties, and thus, in fact, strengthen the representation of the landed interest at the expense of the towns; and he proposed to compensate the boroughs so disfranchised by money, amounting to 1,000,000. Wilberforce, Dundas, and Fox spoke in favour of the Bill; Burke spoke against it. Many voted against it, on account of the compensation offered, Mr. Bankes remarking that Pitt was paying for what he declared was, in any circumstances, unsaleable. The motion was lost by two hundred and forty-eight against one hundred and seventy-four.

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