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    Meanwhile these disturbances elsewhere were having a disastrous effect upon the fortunes of the war in Lombardy. At first, indeed, everything pointed to the success of the Italian cause. In May Peschiera fell, and Radetzky, venturing beyond the Quadrilateral, was defeated by Charles Albert at Goito. Already the Italians had rejected the help which Lamartine offered them from France, and Austria in despair appealed to Lord Palmerston for the mediation of Britain. Well would it have been for the Italians if terms could have been arranged. Lord Palmerston, indeed, who had already sent off a private note to the British Minister at Vienna, advising the Austrians to give up their Italian possessions at once, now consented to propose an armistice, while asserting that "things had gone too far to admit of any future connection between Austria and the Italians." But nothing came of the proposal; the Sardinians declined to consent to the armistice, which would only be for the benefit of Radetzky, who was at this moment somewhat hardly pressed; and the maximum of the concessions offered by the Austrian envoy, Baron Hummelauer, was that Lombardy should be freed from its connection with Austria while Venice should be retained. Palmerston considered the surrender insufficient, and the war went on.
    William IV. was welcomed to the Throne with great acclamation. Called "The Sailor King," he was endowed with many of the personal qualities which make the sailor's character popular with Englishmen. He had been Lord High Admiral, and in that capacity he had lately been moving about the coasts, making displays and enjoying ftes, although this was thought by some to be unseemly in the Heir Presumptive to the Throne, at a time when its occupant was known to be in a very infirm state of health. Heavy bills connected with these vainglorious displays were sent to the Treasury, which the Duke of Wellington endorsed with a statement that such expenses were not allowed. Although opinions differed about William very much, not only between the friends of Reform and the Conservatives, but between the leaders of the Liberal party themselves, he was esteemed the most popular king since the days of Alfred. William was certainly a more exemplary character than his brother. He had indeed formed an attachment to a celebrated actress, Mrs. Jordan, by whom he had a numerous family, one of whom was subsequently admitted to the ranks of the nobility with the title of Earl of Munster, and the others were raised to the dignity of younger sons of a marquis. He had, however, been married for several years to the Princess Adelaide, of Saxe-Meiningen, who became Queen of England, and adorned her exalted station by her virtues and her beneficence. They had two children, both of whom died in infancy; and as the king was in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and the queen was not young, there was no longer any hope of a direct succession to the Throne. Altogether, Charles Greville's verdict on the king"something of a buffoon and more of a blackguard"is excessively severe. If eccentric and hot-tempered, William IV. was straightforward and upright. He had some knowledge of foreign affairs, and thoroughly understood his position as a constitutional king.
    Long for work did he seek,
    The course of business was suddenly interrupted by the unexpected death of Pelham, the Prime Minister, in 1754. Pelham was but sixty years of age, of a florid and apparently healthy appearance, but at once indolent and too fond of the table. He had been compelled to seek sea-bathing at Scarborough, and on the 7th of January wrote to his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, saying that he never was better; but on the 3rd of March he was taken ill, and on the 6th was a corpse. The king was startled at his death, for his moderation and quiet management had long held together very jarring elements in the Ministry. "Now I shall have no more peace!" exclaimed George, on hearing the news of his decease, and he was only too correct in his prognostic. Pelham was a respectable rather than a great minister. His abilities were by no means shining, but experience had made him a good man of business. Waldegrave gave him credit for being "a frugal steward of the public, averse to Continental extravagances and useless subsidies;" and yet never were more of each perpetrated than during his administration. He had the merit, which he had acquired in the school of Walpole, of preferring peace to war; and Horace Walpole admits that "he lived without abusing his power, and died poor." It remains only to notice the terminating scene of the once gay Murat, Buonaparte's gallant leader of cavalry in so many campaigns, and finally King of Naples. In consequence of plans that he had laid with Buonaparte in Elba, Murat rose on the 22nd of March of this year, and pushed forward with the intention of driving the Austrians out of Upper Italy. But Austria was well aware of what had been in progress, and, though Murat proclaimed the independence of Italy, the Italians fled from him rather than joined him. On the Po he was met by the Austrians, under General Fremont, fifty thousand strong, and defeated. He retreated rapidly towards Naples again, suffering other discomfitures, and at the same time receiving a notice from Lord William Bentinck that, as he had broken his convention with the European Powers, Britain was at war with him. To keep the Neapolitans in his interest, he drew up a liberal Constitution, on the 12th of May, amid the mountains of the Abruzzi, and sent it to Naples, where his queen, Caroline Buonaparte, proclaimed it. It was of no avail; the people, instead of assisting him, were ready to rise against him, and his soldiers every day rapidly deserted and went to their homes.
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