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At the same time that we were thus dragged into hostilities with Sweden, we were brought into hostilities with the Czar too in defence of Hanover. Peter had married his niece to the Duke of Mecklenburg, who was on bad terms with his subjects, and the Czar was only too glad to get a footing in Germany by sending a large body of troops into the Duchy. Denmark became immediately alarmed at such a dangerous and unscrupulous neighbour, and remonstrated; whereupon the Czar informed the Danish king that if he murmured he would enter Denmark with his army too. Of course the King of Denmark called on his ally, George of Hanover, for the stipulated aid; and George, who hated the Czar mortally, and was hated by the Czar as intensely in return,[35] at once sent his favourite, Bernsdorff, to Stanhope, who had accompanied him to Hanover, with a demand that "the Czar should be instantly crushed, his ships secured, his person seized, and kept till he should have caused his troops to evacuate both Denmark and Germany."

GENERAL ELECTION OF 1784: MASTER BILLY'S PROCESSION TO GROCERS' HALLPITT PRESENTED WITH THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF LONDON. (Reduced facsimile of the Caricature by T. Rowlandson.) Anne demanded Oxford's resignation. The "dragon," as Arbuthnot styled him, held the White Staff with a deadly grip; but, on the 27th of July, he was compelled to relinquish it, and that afternoon her Majesty stated to the Council her reasons for dismissing him. His confidant and creature, Erasmus Lewis, himself thus records them:"The queen has told all the Lords the reasons of her parting with him, namely, that he neglected all business; that he was seldom to be understood; that when he did explain himself she could not depend upon the truth of what he said; that he never came to her at the time she appointed; that he often came drunk; lastly, to crown all, that he behaved himself towards her with bad manners, indecency, and disrespect."

DUBLIN CASTLE. (From a Photograph by W. Lawrence, Dublin.)

"The consequence of letting loose the passions at present chained and confined would be to produce a scene of desolation which no man can contemplate without horror, and I would not sleep easy on my couch if I were conscious that I had contributed to accelerate it by a single moment. This is the reason why I dread the recurrence of hostilities in any part of Europe; why I would forbear long on any point which did not taint the national honour, ere I let slip the dogs of war, the leash of which we hold in our hands, not knowing whom they may reach, or how far their ravages may be carried. Such is the love of peace which the British Government acknowledges, and such the necessity for peace which the[256] circumstances of the world inculcate. Let us fly to the aid of Portugal, because it is our duty to do so; and let us cease our interference when that duty ends. We go to Portugal not to rule, not to dictate, not to prescribe constitutions, but to defend and preserve the independence of an ally. We go to plant the standard of England on the well-known heights of Lisbon. Where that standard is planted, foreign dominion shall not come." The House received this speech with tumultuous applause, and refused to listen to the objections that Mr. Hume and others wished to urge against the expedition on the score of economy. In the Upper House also the Government was sustained by an overwhelming majority. The expedition, consisting of six thousand men, received orders to march (as we have seen) on the 11th of December, and began to land in Lisbon on Christmas Day. The incursions from Spain immediately ceased, and France, which had instigated and secretly encouraged the movement, now found it prudent to disclaim all connection with it. Before eighteen months had elapsed the troops had returned. [See larger version]