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    In 1734 the Wesleys commenced their career as preachers to the people, and were soon followed by Whitefield. This may, therefore, be considered the date of the foundation of Methodism. None of them had any the remotest idea of separating from the Church, or founding new sects. The Wesleys made a voyage to Georgia, in America, and, on their return, found their little party not only flourishing in Oxford but in London, where they had a meeting-house in Fetter Lane. Whitefield, however, was the first to commence the practice of field-preaching, amongst the colliers at Kingswood, near Bristol; but in this he was soon imitated by Wesley. As they began to attract attention by the ardour of their preaching and the wonderful effect on the people, this became necessary, for speedily all church doors were closed against them. John Wesley had a peculiar genius for the construction of a new religious community, and he was ready to collect hints for its organisation from any quarter. The most prolific source of his ordinances for his new society was the system of the Moravians, whose great settlement at Herrnhuth, in Germany, he visited, and had much consultation with its head, Count Zinzendorf. From it he drew his class-meetings, his love-feasts, and the like. In framing the constitution of his society, Wesley displayed a profound knowledge of human nature. He took care that every man and woman in his society counted for something more than a mere unit. The machinery of class-meetings and love-feasts brought members together in little groups, where every one was recognised and had a personal interest. Numbers of men, who had no higher ambition, could enjoy the distinction of class-leaders. It did not require a man to go to college and take orders to become a preacher. Thomas Maxwell with Wesley, and Howel Harris with Whitefield, led the way from the plane of the laity into the pulpits of Methodism, and have been followed by tens of thousands who have become able if not learned, and eloquent if not Greek-imbued, preachers. Wesley divided the whole country into districts, into which he sent one or more well-endowed preachers, who were called circuit preachers, or round preachers, from their going their rounds in particular circuits. Under the ministry of these men sprang up volunteer preachers, who first led prayer-meetings, and then ascended to the pulpit in the absence of the circuit preachers, and most of them soon discovered unexpected talents, and edifying their own local and often remote or obscure little auditories, became styled local preachers. Out of these local preachers ever and anon grew men of large minds and fertilising eloquence, who became the burning and shining lights of the whole firmament of Methodism. It was Wesley's object not to separate from the Church, and it was only after his death that the Wesleyans were reckoned as Nonconformists.

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    In all these transactions Carteret showed the most facile disposition to gratify all the Hanoverian tendencies of the king, in order to ingratiate himself and secure the Premiership at home. But in this he did not succeed; he was much trusted by George in foreign affairs, and in them he remained. Lord Wilmington, Prime Minister, had died two months before the signing of the treaty at Worms, and the competitors for his office were Pelham, brother of the Duke of Newcastle, and Pulteney. Pelham was supported by Newcastle, Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, and still more powerfully by the old Minister under whom he had been trainedLord Orford, who, though out of office, was consulted in everything relating to it. Pulteney and Pelham had both, according to their friends, neglected the necessary steps for succeeding Wilmington. Pulteney had declined any office, vainly hoping that his great popularity would enable him to guide public affairs. His friends reminded him that had he taken the Treasury on Walpole's resignation, he would now have been still at the helm. Pelham's great adviser, Lord Orford, said to him, "If you had taken my advice, and held the Exchequer under Wilmington, the whole had dropped into your mouth." Pelham, however, received the appointment from the king, and this was communicated in a letter from Carteret, who candidly told him that, as the old friend and colleague of Pulteney, Lord Bath, he had done all in his power to secure the office for him, but now he would support Pelham cordially, notwithstanding. Pelham was at this period forty-seven years of age, of far inferior talent to Orford, but pursued his cautious principles and acted under his advice.

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    The next novelist who appeared was of a very different school. Richardson was an elaborate anatomist of character; Fielding and Smollett were master painters of life and manners, and threw in strong dashes of wit and humour; but they had little sentiment. In Laurence Sterne (b. 1713; d. 1768) came forth a sentimentalist, who, whilst he melted his readers by touches of pathos, could[174] scarcely conceal from them that he was laughing at them in his sleeve. The mixture of feeling, wit, double entendre, and humour of the most subtle and refined kind, and that in a clergyman, produced the oddest, and yet the most vivid, impressions on the reader. The effect was surprise, pleasure, wonder, and no little misgiving; but the novelty and charm of this original style were so great that they carried all before them, but not without the most violent censures from the press on his indecencies, especially considering his position as a clergyman. Sterne was the grandson of that Richard Sterne, a native of Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, who was chaplain to Archbishop Laud, and attended him on the scaffold. Laurence Sterne was the son of a lieutenant in the army, and was born at Clonmel, in Ireland, his grandfather having then become Archbishop of York. Sterne, therefore, on taking orders, was on the way of preferment, and received the rectory of Stillington and the perpetual curacy of Coxwold, both in Yorkshire. There he wrote not only sermons, but satire, particularly his "History of a Watchcoat." But it was his novel of "Tristram Shandy" which brought him into sudden popularity. After this, his "Sentimental Journey" completed his reputation; and his Maria and her lamb, his uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Yorick, Doctor Slop, the widow Wadman, and his lesser characters, usurped for a long period the tears and laughter of the nation.

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    "The Clare election supplied the manifest proof of an abnormal and unhealthy condition of the public mind in Irelandthe manifest proof that the sense of a common grievance and the sympathies of a common interest were beginning to loosen the ties which connect different classes of men in friendly relations to each other, to weaken the force of local and personal attachments, and to unite the scattered elements of society into a homogeneous and disciplined mass, yielding willing obedience to the assumed authority of superior intelligence hostile to the law and to the Government which administered it. There is a wide distinction (though it is not willingly recognised by a heated party) between the hasty concession to unprincipled agitation and provident precaution against the explosion of public feeling gradually acquiring the strength which makes it irresistible. 'Concede nothing to agitation,' is the ready cry of those who are not responsiblethe vigour of whose decisions is often proportionate to their own personal immunity from danger, and imperfect knowledge of the true state of affairs. A prudent Minister, before he determines against all concessionagainst any yielding or compromise of former opinionsmust well consider what it is that he has to resist, and what are his powers of resistance. His task would be an easy one if it were sufficient to resolve that he would yield nothing to violence or to the menace of physical force. In this case of the Clare election, and of its natural consequences, what was the evil to be apprehended? Not force, not violence, not any act of which law could take cognisance. The real danger was in the peaceable and legitimate exercise of a franchise according to the will and conscience of the holder. In such an exercise of that franchise, not merely permitted, but encouraged and approved by constitutional law, was involved a revolution of the electoral system in Irelandthe transfer of political power, so far as it was connected with representation, from one party to another. The actual transfer was the least of the evil; the process by which it was to be effectedthe repetition in each county of the scenes of the Clare electionthe fifty-pound free-holders, the gentry to a man polling one way, their alienated tenantry anotherall the great interests of the county broken down'the universal desertion' (I am quoting the expressions of Mr. Fitzgerald)the agitator and the priest laughing to scorn the baffled landlordthe local heaving and throes of society on every casual vacancy in a countythe universal convulsion at a general electionthis was the danger to be apprehended; those were the evils to be resisted. What was the power of resistance? 'Alter the law, and remodel the franchise,' was the ready, the improvident response. If it had been desired to increase the strength of a formidable confederacy, and, by rallying round it the sympathies of good men and of powerful parties in Great Britain, to insure for it a signal triumph, to extinguish the hope of effecting an amicable adjustment of the Catholic question, and of applying a corrective to the real evils and abuses of elective franchise, the best way to attain these pernicious ends would have been to propose to Parliament, on the part of the Government, the abrupt extinction of the forty-shilling franchise in Ireland, together with the continued maintenance of civil disability."

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    But De Tolly was only remaining to defend the town whilst the inhabitants carried off with them their movable property. Whilst on the side of Smolensk, when Buonaparte arrived, all was silent, and the fields were empty, on the other side it was one vast crowd of people moving away with their effects. Buonaparte hoped that the Russians would deploy before the gates, and give him battle; but they did nothing of the sort, and he determined to storm the place. Its walls were old but very thick, and it might hold out some time, and the assault must cost many lives; but Buonaparte determined to make it. The French, however, learned that the Russians were already in retreat; and Murat observed that to waste these lives was worse than useless, as the city would be theirs without a blow immediately. Buonaparte replied in an insulting manner to Murat, and ordered the assault the next morning. On this, Murat, driven to fury, spurred his horse to the banks of the Dnieper, in the face of the enemy, between batteries, and stood there as voluntarily courting death. Belliard called out to him not to sacrifice himselfhe only pushed on still nearer to the fire of the Russian guns, and was forced from the scene by the soldiers. The storming commenced, and Tolly defended the place vigorously, killing four or five thousand of the French as they advanced to the attack.

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