In pursuance of this convention the garrison retired, and began their fatal march on the 6th of January, 1842. The army consisted of 4,500 fighting men, with 12,000 camp-followers, besides women and children. The snow lay deep upon the ground; they had scarcely commenced their march when they were attacked by the Afghans, the guns were captured, and they were obliged to fight their way, sword in hand, defending the women and children as well as they could. During the whole way through the snow the road was strewn with bodies and stained with blood. The dead and dying were immediately stripped naked by the enemy, and their corpses hacked to pieces with long knives. During all this time the perfidious Akbar Khan sent messages, professing his regret at not being able to restrain the Ghilzai tribe; and after they had got through the Pass, he made a proposal, which was accepted, to take the ladies under his protection. Accordingly, Lady Sale and Lady Macnaghten, with six others, accompanied by their husbands, were left under his charge. The British troops then halted for a day, bivouacking on the snow. The cold was so intense that the Sepoys became benumbed and paralysed, in which state the whole of them were next day attacked and cut to pieces. The Europeans managed to hold together, but when they arrived at Jugduluk, thirty-five miles distant from Cabul, only 300 out of 16,500 persons who left that city remained alive. At this place a halt was ordered, and through the interference of Akbar Khan the miserable remnant were permitted to occupy a ruined enclosure, where, worn out by fatigue and utterly helpless, they lay down to rest in the snow. General Elphinstone was detained a prisoner by Akbar Khan in a small fort, whence he dispatched a note to Brigadier Anketell, advising him to march that night, as there was treachery afoot. The wearied band, aroused from their slumbers, accordingly moved on in the dark; but their departure was noticed, they were attacked in the rear, they broke into disorder, threatened to shoot their officers, separated in small parties, and thus, scattered and confused, they were cut down almost to a man. Of the officers, however, a considerable number escaped on horseback; but they, too, were attacked wherever they appeared, until only one gentleman, Dr. Brydon, survived to tell the dreadful story, reaching Jelalabad on the 13th of January. It afterwards came out, however, that several other officers were detained in captivity. About the same time Sir James Yeo, who had dared to attack the superior squadron of Commodore Chauncey on Lake Ontario, and took two of his schooners, now prevailed on the spiritless Sir George Prevost to join him in an attack on Sacketts Harbour. Here the Americans had a dockyard, where they built vessels for the lake fleet, and had now a frigate nearly ready for launching. Sir George consented, but, on reconnoitring the place, his heart failed him, and he returned across the water towards Kingston. Sir James was highly chagrined, but prevailed on this faint-hearted governor to make the attempt. Seven hundred and fifty men were landed, who drove the Americans at the point of the bayonet from the harbour, and set fire to the new frigate, to a gun-brig, and to the naval barracks and arsenal abounding with stores. Some of the Americans were in full flight into the woods, and others shut themselves up in log barracks, whence they could soon have been burnt out. In the midst of this success the miserable Sir George Prevost commanded a retreat. Men and officers, astonished at the order, and highly indignant at serving under so dastardly a commander, were, however, obliged to draw off. The Americans, equally amazed, turned back to endeavour to extinguish the flames. The arsenal, the brig, and the stores were too far gone; but the new frigate, being built of green wood, had refused to burn, and they recovered it but little injured. Thus, however, was lost the chance of crushing the American superiority on the lake, which must have been the case had Sacketts Harbour been completely destroyed.

The discontents occasioned by the South Sea scheme and its issue had caused the Jacobites to conceive fresh hopes of success, and their spirits were still more elevated by the birth of a son to the Pretender. The business of this faction was conducted in England by a junto or council, amongst the chief members of which were the Earls of Arran and Orrery, Lords North and Gower, and the Bishop of Rochester. Lord Oxford had been invited to put himself at the head of this council of five, but everything of a decided nature was out of his character. He continued to correspond with the leaders of the faction, but he declined putting himself too forward. In fact, his habitual irresolution was now doubled by advancing[50] infirmities, and he died three years afterwards. Though several of the junto were men of parliamentary, and North of military experience, Atterbury was the undoubted head of it. The period of confusion created by the South Sea agitation was first pitched on for a new attempt, then that of the general election, which had taken place in March, and, finally, it was deferred till the king should have gone to Hanover, according to his custom, in the summer. MOB BURNING A FARM IN KENT. (See p. 325.)

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