The prisoners were at once sent to Richmond[532] Bridewell, on the South Circular Road, where the Governor did all in his power to make them comfortable. Good apartments were assigned to them. They dined together every day, and they were permitted to receive, without restriction, the visits of their friends and admirers. The Government was the less disposed to interfere with these indulgences, as their object was not so much punishment as prevention, and besides, the traversers had appealed against the sentence. A majority of the twelve English judges affirmed the judgment of the Court of Queen's Bench, while condemning the counts on which the Irish court relied. An appeal was then made to the House of Lords. The decision was left to the five law lordsLyndhurst, Brougham, Cottenham, Denman, and Campbell. The first two were for a confirmation of the judgment, the last three for reversal. Lord Denman, in pronouncing judgment, said, referring to the tampering with the panel, "If such practices as had taken place in the present instance in Ireland should continue, the trial by jury would become a mockery, a delusion, and a snare," a sentence which was hackneyed by repetition for years afterwards. The news of the reversal reached Dublin on the afternoon of the 5th of September. Great crowds had assembled on the pier at Kingstown, and tremendous cheers broke forth from the multitude when the Holyhead packet approached, and they saw held up a white flag, with the inscription, "Judgment reversed by the House of Lords. O'Connell is free!" The news was everywhere received by the Roman Catholics with wild excitement.

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.

Lord Londonderry, wearied with the labours of the Session, had retired to his country seat at North Cray Farm, near Bexley, in Kent, to recruit his strength, and prepare to take his part as the representative of England at the forthcoming Congress of Verona, which was to be held in October. There, on the 12th of August, he committed suicide by cutting the carotid artery with a penknife. Lord Eldon, in a letter on the subject, says:"I learn, upon the best authority, that for two or three days he was perfectly insane; and the medical men attribute that fact to the operation upon his head of the unceasing attention to business which the last harassing Session (to him) called for." The disease would appear to have been coming on some time before; he had got the idea that he was beset by secret enemiesthat he was the object of conspiracies. He was full of apprehension of being waylaid in the Park, and he felt that his life was every hour in danger. His mind gave way under the pressure of these morbid fears, and he put an end to his existence in the fifty-third year of his age. Impartial history, we think, will come to the conclusion that, with intellectual abilities not much above mediocrity, he owed his success as a statesman, in a great measure, to his fixity of purpose, and to his audacity, courage, and perseverance in adhering to his line of action in the midst of the most formidable difficulties; while the strength of his will was aided by a commanding person, an imperturbable temper, extreme affability, and winning frankness of manner. Of the policy of the Government in which he bore so long a leading part, it must be said that it was narrow, exclusive, jealous of popular rights, favourable to despotism abroad and at home, devoted to the interests of the Throne and the aristocracy, at the expense of social order and national progress. Such, at all events, was the impression of the majority of the nation, and the detestation in which the London populace held his character as a statesman was painfully evinced by the shouts of exultation which followed his coffin into Westminster Abbey, where it was deposited between the remains of Fox and Pitt. This conduct greatly shocked Lord Eldon. "This morning," he writes, "I have been much affected by attending Lord Londonderry to his grave. The concourse of people between St. James's Square and the Abbey was very great; the great bulk of them behaving decorously, some behaving otherwise; but I protest I am almost sorry to have lived till I have seen in England a collection of persons so brutalised as, upon the taking the coffin at the Abbey door out of the hearse, to have received it with cheering for joy that L. was no more. Cobbett and the paper called the[227] Statesman have, by the diabolical publications he and that paper have issued, thus demoralised these wretches."

Such was the battle of Dettingen, equally remarkable for the blunders of the generals and the valour of the men; still more so, as the last battle in which a King of England has commanded in[85] person. At Hanau, the army not only refreshed itself, but was joined by reinforcements, which rendered the Allies nearly equal in numbers to the French. Lord Stair, therefore, proposed to pass the Main, and make a second attack on the enemy. The king, however, would not consent. Stair, with all his bravery, had shown that he was very incautious. He was, moreover, of a most haughty temper, and had quarrelled violently with the Hanoverian officers, and displayed much contempt for the petty German princes. They were, therefore, by no means inclined to second his counsels, though they had fought gallantly at Dettingen. Stair complained loudly of the neglect to follow up the French, and resigned.