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    At the time of this armistice, Napoleon, by the great battles of Lützen and Bautzen, had recovered his prestige sufficiently to induce the German Confederates of the Rhine to stand by him; but he was by no means what he had been. The[67] opinion of his invincibility had been irreparably damaged by the Russian campaign, and the success in these battles was not of a character to give confidence to his own army. They saw that the Allies had lost all superstitious fear of him. To assist in the negotiations of this armistice, Buonaparte sent for his two ablest heads, Fouch and Talleyrand, whom he had so long thrown from him for their sound advice. If Buonaparte could have heard, too, what was really going on in France, what were the growing feelings there, he would have been startled by a most ominous condition of things. But he had thoroughly shut out from himself the voice of public opinion, by his treatment of the press and of liberty, and he now was to suffer for it. Great Britain, on the 14th of June, had concluded an alliance with Russia and Prussia, and promised to send ample materials of assistance, even an army to the north of Prussia; and many British officers of the highest rank repaired to the headquarters of the Allies. When Great Britain was asked to take part in this negotiation she refused, declaring it useless, as Napoleon would not grant the only demands which the Allies ought to make.
    It was on this occasion that the loyalty of the British settlers in Upper Canada shone forth with the most chivalrous devotion to the throne of the Queen. The moment the news arrived of Mackenzie's attack upon Toronto, the militia everywhere seized their arms, mustered in companies, and from Niagara, Gore, Lake Shireve, and many other places, set out on their march in the heavy snow in the depth of winter. So great was the excitement, so enthusiastic the loyalty, that in three days 10,000 armed volunteers had assembled at Toronto. There was, however, no further occasion for their services in that place, and even the scattered remnants of the insurrection would have been extinguished but for the interference of filibustering citizens of the United States, who were then called "sympathisers," and who had assembled in considerable numbers along the Niagara River. They had established their headquarters on Navy Island in the Niagara River, about two miles above the Falls, having taken possession of it on the 13th of December, and made it their chief dep?t of arms and provisions, the latter of which they brought from the American shore by means of a small steamer called the Caroline. Colonel M'Nab resolved to destroy the Caroline, and to root out the nest of pirates by whom she was employed. On the 28th of December a party of militia found her moored opposite Fort Schlosser, on the American side, strongly guarded by bodies of armed men, both on board and on shore. Lieutenant Drew commanded the British party, and after a fierce conflict the vessel was boarded and captured, a number of those who manned her being taken prisoners. These being removed, the British set the vessel on fire, and the flaming mass was swept down the rapids, and precipitated into the unfathomable abyss below. According to the American version of this affair, the British had made an unprovoked and most wanton attack upon an unarmed vessel belonging to a neighbouring State, on American territory, at a time of profound peace. The truth came out by degrees, and the American President, Van Buren, issued a proclamation on the 5th of January, 1838, warning all citizens of the United States that if they interfered in any unlawful manner with the affairs of the neighbouring British provinces, they would render themselves liable to arrest and punishment.
    Another attempt was to burn a portion of the Brest fleet, which was found lying off La Rochelle, in the Basque Roads. Lord Gambier, on the 11th of March, wrote to the Admiralty proposing to send fire-ships amongst them and destroy them. The Admiralty seized on the idea; but instead of leaving Lord Gambier to work out his own plan, they appointed Lord Cochrane to that service, under Gambier. This was sure to create jealousies, not only in the mind of Gambierto whom the Admiralty had written on the 19th, approving his design, and ordering him to execute it according to his own ideasbut also in the minds of other officers in Gambier's fleet. Lord Cochrane proceeded to the Basque Roads in a frigate, arriving there on the 3rd of April, and presenting Gambier with a letter informing him of the change of plan by the Admiralty. Mr. Congreve, with a supply of his rockets, was to accompany the fire-ships from England; and on the 11th, these having arrived, and being joined by several large transports which Lord Gambier had converted into fire-ships, the attack was made. The French squadron was lying between the isle of Aix and the town of La Rochelle, in a narrow passage, commanded by powerful batteries both on the land and on the island of Aix. Besides this, numbers of gunboats were placed so as to defend the approach to the vessels; but still more, a very strong boom was stretched across the passage, formed of enormous cables, secured by equally enormous anchors, and supported by buoys. None of the officers, not even Gambier or Cochrane, seem to have been aware of this boom till some of the foremost fire-ships ran against it; and several of the ships, whilst thus detained, exploded, being too far off to do any harm. But Captain Woolridge, in the Mediator, burst the boom asunder, and the fire-ships sailed up towards the French ships in the dark, and exploded, one after another, with a terrible uproarone fire-ship alone containing fifteen hundred barrels of gunpowder, besides three or four hundred shells and three or four thousand hand-grenades. But the only mischief done was to cause the French to cut their cables, and run their ships ashore. There, the next morning, they were seen; and Lord Cochrane signalled to Lord Gambier to stand in and destroy them before the rising of the tide should float them, and enable them to run up the river Charente. No ships, however, arriving, Cochrane again more urgently signalled that all the fleet was aground, except two vessels, and might easily be destroyed. Lord Gambier paid no attention to these signals, and, as the tide rose, the vessels floated and escaped up the river, except four, which still stuck fast, and were destroyed by[586] Cochrane. Those which escaped were all greatly damaged. Had Gambier stood in with his vessels promptly, no doubt the whole squadron would have been destroyed.