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    In a little time the Americans, recovering their spirits, returned to their guns, and plied them so well that they soon knocked the breastworks of sugar and treacle casks to pieces. As nothing[112] would tempt the Americans to show themselves from behind their cotton bales and embankments, after maintaining this murderous position for two whole nights and days, Pakenham drew back his men, sacrificing some of his guns, and formed a scheme of sending a detachment across the river to turn the batteries and then play them upon the enemy. But for this purpose it was necessary to cut a canal across the tongue of land on which the army stood, in order to bring up the boats required to carry the troops over the river. Major-General Lambert had arrived with reinforcements, so that against the American twenty thousand Pakenham had now about eight thousand men. All worked at the canal, and it was finished on the 6th of January. Colonel Thornton was to carry across the river one thousand four hundred men, and surprise the great flanking battery of eighteen or twenty guns, whilst Sir Edward Pakenham advanced against the lines in front. A rocket was to be thrown up by Pakenham when he commenced his assault, and Thornton was at that instant to make a rush on the battery and turn it on the enemy. But they had not sufficiently calculated on the treacherous soil through which they cut their canal. Thornton found it already so sludged up that he could only get boats through it sufficient to carry over three hundred and fifty men, and this with so much delay that, when Pakenham's rocket went up, he was still three miles from the batteryand that in broad daylightwhich he ought already to have taken. Unaware of this, Pakenham advanced against the chain of forts and ramparts. He had ordered ladders and fascines to be in readiness for crossing the canal, but by some gross neglect it was found that they were not there, and thus the whole of the British troops were exposed to the deadly fire of the American batteries and musketry. No valour was of any use in such circumstances; but Sir Edward cheered on the few but brave-hearted troops till the ladders and fascines could arrive; but ere this happened, Pakenham was killed. Generals Gibbs and Keane took the place of the fallen commander, and still cheered on their men; but it was only to unavailing slaughter: the American marksmen, under cover, and with their rifles on rest, picked off the British soldiers at their pleasure. Gibbs was soon killed and Keane disabled by a wound. In such circumstances the troops gave way and retired, a strong reserve protecting the rear; but out of gun-shot there was no further danger, for the Americans were much too cunning to show their heads beyond the protection of their defences.

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    On the following evening Lord Melbourne, having explained why he resigned, said, "And now, my lords, I frankly declare that I resume office unequivocally and solely for this reason, that I will not abandon my Sovereign in a situation[463] of difficulty and distress, and especially when a demand is made upon her Majesty with which I think she ought not to complya demand, in my opinion, inconsistent with her personal honour, and which, if acquiesced in, would make her reign liable to all the changes and variations of political parties, and render her domestic life one constant scene of unhappiness and discomfort." The Whigs, therefore, returned to office, but not to power.

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    • On the 1st of December the army resumed its march. They immediately found the effect of Cumberland's presence at Lichfield: they had to ford the Mersey near Stockport, and to carry the baggage and artillery over a rude wooden bridge, consisting of the trunks of trees thrown across, at Chorlton. That evening they reached Macclesfield. Lord George pushed on with his division to Congleton, whence he sent on Colonel[101] Kerr, who routed a small body of the Duke of Kingston's horse, and drove them towards Newcastle-under-Lyme. Kerr seized Captain Weir, well known as one of Cumberland's principal spies, and, by threatening him with the gallows, drew from him the particulars of the duke's numbers and position. It appeared that the duke was under the impression that the prince was directing his march towards Wales to join his partisans there, and having encouraged this notion by this advance, and led the duke to proceed as far as Stone, Lord George suddenly altered his route, and got to Ashbourne, and thence to Derby, thus throwing the road to London quite open, and being two or three days' march in advance of the duke. Charles entered Derby the same day, the 4th of December, and took up his quarters at a house belonging to the Earl of Exeter, at the bottom of Full Street.