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[194] Such being the facts of the case, the Liberals came to the conclusion that a reform was inevitable. In order to adapt the Establishment to the requirements of the Protestant population, there must be a large reduction, and the surplus funds that remained ought to be applied to some object by which the moral and religious instruction of the people would be promoted. The least objectionable mode in which the money could be applied was the general education of the poor under the National Board, by which children of all denominations could be educated in harmony together, as they had been ever since its establishment. The reformers denied that there was any analogy between the revenues of the Established Church and private property. The Acts of Parliament securing those revenues had all treated them as being held in trust for the benefit of the nation; and after leaving ample means for the due execution of the trust, so far as it was really practicable, the Legislature was competent to apply the balance in accomplishing by other agency than the Protestant clergy, to some extent at least, the objects originally contemplated by the founders of the religious endowments.

But the attempts to reduce the other chiefs to subjection were unsuccessful. An unfortunate collision with the tribes of Ghilzais formed a painful episode in the Afghan war. The Cabul Pass is a long defile, through which the road runs from Cabul to Jelalabad, which it was therefore necessary to keep open for the purpose of safe intercourse between Cabul and British India. The Indian Government thought that the most desirable mode of effecting this object was to pay the Ghilzai chiefs a yearly sum from the Cabul treasury, in order that our troops might not be molested. But retrenchment being determined upon, the money was withheld; the chiefs, therefore, felt that the British had been guilty of a deliberate breach of faith. They were exasperated, assumed a hostile attitude, and cut off all communication with British India. It therefore became necessary to force the Pass, for which purpose Major-General Sir Robert Sale was sent by General Elphinstone from Cabul, with a brigade, of light infantry. On the 12th of October they entered the Pass, near the middle of which the enemy were found posted behind precipitous ridges of the mountains on each side, from which they opened a well-directed fire. General Sale was hit with a ball above the ankle, and compelled to retire and give the command to Colonel Dennie. The Pass was gallantly cleared, but with severe fighting and heavy loss. After this was accomplished, the force had still to fight its way through a difficult country, occupied by an active enemy, for eighteen days. All the commanding points of the hills were held by the Ghilzais, where they were protected by breastworks; and though they had been from time to time outflanked and routed, when the march was resumed and the cumbrous train of baggage filed over the mountains the enemy again appeared from beyond the most distant ridges, renewing the contest with increased numbers and the most savage fury. Since leaving Cabul our troops had been kept constantly on the alert by attacks night and day. Their positions had been secured only by unremitting labour, throwing up entrenchments, and very severe outpost duty. The enemy were eminently skilful at the species of warfare to which their attempts had been confined, and were armed with weapons that enabled them to annoy the invaders from a distance at which they could be reached only by our artillery. The brigade reached Jelalabad on the 12th of November. Coote landed at Madras at the beginning of November. A council was immediately called, Whitehill was removed from the government of the Presidency, and the member of Council next in seniority appointed. Coote had brought with him only five hundred British troops and six hundred Lascars. The whole force with which he could encounter Hyder amounted only to one thousand seven hundred Europeans and five thousand native troops. Coote, whose name as the conqueror of the French at Wandewash and Pondicherry struck terror into Hyder, soon resumed his triumphs on his old ground, driving the enemy from[331] Wandewash. Hearing then of the arrival of the French armament off Pondicherry, he marched thither, and posted himself on the Red Hills. The French fleet, consisting of seven ships of the line and four frigates, was anchored off the place. But the French squadron having sailed away for the Isle of France, from apprehension of the approach of a British fleet, Hyder retreated, and, entering the territory of Tanjore, laid it waste, while his son, Tippoo, laid siege again to Wandewash. Hyder was again encouraged to advance, and on the 6th of July, 1781, Coote managed to bring him to action near Porto Novo, and completely routed him and his huge host, though he had himself only about eight thousand men. Hyder retired quite crestfallen to Arcot, and ordered Tippoo to raise the siege of Wandewash.

The most distinguished dramatic writers of the time were Sheridan Knowles, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Mr. Justice Talfourd, and Miss Mitford. Mr. Knowles's first drama, Caius Gracchus, appeared in 1815, and was followed by more successful efforts, namely, The Wife, a Tale of Mantua, The Hunchback, Virginius, The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, William Tell, The Love Chase, Old Maids, and The Daughter. Ultimately, however, he became disgusted with the stage from religious scruples, and taking a fancy to polemics, he published two attacks upon Romanism, entitled, "The Rock of Rome" and "The Idol demolished by its own Priest." He ended his career as a preacher in connection with the Baptist denomination, and died in 1862, having enjoyed a literary pension of 200 a year since 1849.