No sooner had Collot d'Herbois, Barrre, and that party triumphed over Robespierre than they summoned the members of the tribunal to their baray, on the very morning of the day of his executionand voted them honours amid much applause. The tribunal replied, that though a few traitors like Coffinhal and Dumas had found their way into the tribunal, the majority of them were sound and devoted to the Convention. Accordingly, the next day the Convention handed over to Fouquier-Tinville and his colleagues a list of fresh proscriptions of sixty-nine municipals, and a few days afterwardsnamely, the 12th of Thermidor, being the 30th of Julythey added twelve more, completing eighty-one victims! These were all executed within twenty-four hours. The Convention then fell into new divisions, some members contending for its being time to cease these tragedies, others insisting on maintaining them. Billaud-Varennes, Barrre, and Collot d'Herbois defended the guillotine and Fouquier-Tinville, but the greater number of the enemies of Robespierre denounced them, declared themselves the overthrowers of Robespierre, and assumed the name of Thermidorians, in honour of the month in which they had destroyed him. For the Thermidorians saw that the better part of the public had become sick of blood, and they set about contracting the Reign of Terror. They reduced the powers of the two governing Committees; they decreed that one-fourth of the members should go out every month; they reduced the revolutionary sections of Paris from forty-eight to twelve, and abolished the forty sous a day to the sansculotte patriots for their attendance. A month after the execution of Robespierre, Tallien made a fierce onslaught on the Terrorist system, and declared that there were numbers yet living who had been equally merciless with Robespierre, Couthon, and St. Just; and the next day Lecointre denounced by name Barrre, Billaud-Varennes, and Collot d'Herbois. To put an end to the Jacobin resistance, the Convention closed the Jacobin Club altogether, which had thus only survived the fall of Robespierre about four months. Thereupon the Jacobins began to denounce the Thermidorians as anti-Republicans, but they retorted that they were Republicans of the purest schoolthat of Marat.

The ships being got afloat again, on the 12th of April Parker sailed away with the main body of the fleet, leaving the St. George (with Nelson) and a few other ships to repair their damages. Sir Hyde Parker went in quest of the Swedish fleet, which consisted only of six ships, and which had taken refuge behind the forts of Karlskrona. Parker sent in a flag of truce, informing them of the armistice with Denmark, and demanding an answer as to the intentions of Sweden. Gustavus, the King of Sweden, hastened to Karlskrona, and on the 22nd informed the English admiral that he was ready to treat with an envoy accredited to the Northern Powers. Admiral Parker then proceeded towards the Gulf of Finland to attack the Russian fleet, but was soon overtaken by a dispatch boat from the Russian ambassador at Copenhagen, announcing that the Emperor Paul had been murdered by his courtiers, and that his son, Alexander, had accepted the proposals of Britain to treat. Parker considered the news of Paul's death as tantamount to the conclusion of peace, and proposed sailing down the Baltic again; but Nelson, who had joined him at Karlskrona, thought very differently. He had blamed Parker's slowness and easiness all through the affair of Copenhagen, and he now wanted to push on to Revel, and destroy the Russian fleet before the ice allowed it to retire into Cronstadt. Sir Hyde Parker refused; and the fleet was on its way down the Baltic when an order came recalling Parker and giving the command to Nelson. He immediately put about and proceeded to Revel, but the thaw had allowed the Russian fleet to get into Cronstadt. Nelson, however, opened communications with the Emperor Alexander, and proposed to land and terminate a convention with him at once. Alexander, not liking to have Nelson's fleet too near, declined the proposal in terms of courtesy, and Nelson took his leave in no complimentary mood. The emperor thought it best to send after him Admiral Tchitchagoff, to assure him that Alexander regretted that any misunderstanding had ever taken place between Russia and Britain; that all the British subjects seized by Paul should be immediately liberated, all their property restored, and that the Czar would be glad to see Nelson at St. Petersburg in any style which he liked to assume. But Nelson had now resolved to return at once to Britain, his shattered health ill bearing the severity of the northern climate; nor was his presence necessary, for on the 17th of June, two days before Nelson went on board the brig which took him to Britain, Lord St. Helens, who had proceeded to St. Petersburg as ambassador, had signed a convention, by which all subjects of dispute between the two countries were ended. Denmark and Sweden came into the convention as a matter of course. [145] Besides the flattering assurances of the steady improvement in commerce and manufactures, and, consequently, in the revenues, the Regent's Speech, read, as usual, by the Lord Chancellor, justly congratulated the country on the successful termination of the Pindarree war by the Marquis of Hastings. It informed the two Houses that a new treaty had been entered into with the United States for adjusting the different points at issue between the two nations, not settled by the treaty of peace, and also for regulating the commerce between them. It announced the results of the Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle, and stated that some new measures were needed for the care of his Majesty's person in consequence of the death of the queen. The Address, in both Houses, was carried almost pro forma. Mr. Manners Sutton was elected Speaker of the Commons by acclamation.

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The press played a most important part in the agitation for Reform. A host of the most witty, brilliant, and powerful writers of the day wielded their pens against monopoly with tremendous effect, assailing it with argument and ridicule, like a continual storm of shot and shell. Of these, the[334] most distinguished was the Rev. Sydney Smith, who mingled argument, sarcasm, humour, and pathos, in his ardent advocacy of the popular cause, with a power and effect that made him a host in himself. In answer to the objection that the Reform Bill was a mere theory, he furnished the most telling illustrations, from life, of the way in which the existing system kept down merit and damaged the public service. So far from Reform being a mere theoretical improvement, he said, "I put it to every man who is himself embarked in a profession, or has sons in the same situation, if the unfair influence of borough-mongers has not perpetually thwarted him in his lawful career of ambition and professional emolument? 'I have been in three general engagements at sea,' said an old sailor; 'I have twice been wounded; I commanded the boats when the French frigate Astrolabe was cut out so gallantly.' 'Then, you were made a post captain?' 'No, I was very near it, but Lieutenant Thomson cut me out as I cut out the French frigate; his father is town-clerk of the borough of which Lord F is member, and there my chance was finished.' In the same manner all over England, you will find great scholars rotting on curacies, brave captains starving in garrets, profound lawyers decayed and mouldering in the Inns of Court, because the parsons, warriors, and advocates of borough-mongers must be crammed to saturation before there is a morsel of bread for the man who does not sell his votes and put his country up for auction; and though this is of every-day occurrence, the borough system, we are told, is no practical evil...." Another witty and brilliant writer, Mr. Fonblanque, rendered important services to the cause of Reform by his writings in the Examiner, which have been collected under the name of "Seven Administrations." Though Radical in its tendencies, he wrote, "Ministers have far exceeded our expectations. The plan of Reform, though short of Radical Reform, tends to the utter destruction of borough-mongering, and will prepare the way for a complete improvement. The ground, limited as it is, which it is proposed to clear and open with popular influence, will suffice, as the spot desired by Archimedes, for the plant of the power which must ultimately govern the whole system. Without Reform, convulsion is inevitable. Upon any Reform further improvement is inevitably consequent, and the settlement of the Constitution on the democratic basis certain."[1] At this period the Times was by far the greatest power of the newspaper press, and its advocacy of the cause of Reform was distinguished by a vigour and boldness which rendered it obnoxious to the House of Lords, and provoked an attack on the liberty of the press that caused a great deal of excitement during the discussions on the first Reform Bill. Mr. Lawson, the printer, was arrested, but released after a reprimand.