Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/327

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When Parliament met Jan. 21, 1808, the paroxysm of excitement which followed the "Chesapeake" affair and the attack on Copenhagen had begun to subside. War with America was less popular than it had been six months before. The "Morning Post" [1] exhorted the British public to maintain "that sublime pitch" from which all opposition was to be crushed; but the Whigs came to Parliament eager for attack, while Perceval and Canning had exhausted their energies, and were thrown back on a wearisome defensive.

The session—which lasted from January 21 to July 4—was remarkable chiefly for an obstinate struggle over the Orders in Council. Against Perceval's commercial measures the Whigs bent the full strength of their party; and this strength, so far as intelligence was concerned, greatly outmatched that of the Ministry. New men made reputations in the conflict. In January, 1808, Alexander Baring—then about thirty-four years of age, not yet in Parliament, but second to no English merchant in standing

  1. The Morning Post, Jan. 16, 1808.