THE VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT. 169
During August and September of 1805 the whole nation was in a ferment, and no one doubted but that the French would be landing before many weeks had passed. Precautions were doubled and all possible preparation made to resist invasion. Napoleon had concentrated an army of 130,000 men, 15,000 horses, 600 guns and a vast flotilla at Boulogne, and was only waiting for the junction of the French and Spanish fleets in the English Channel to carry out his purpose. Then came the ever memorable battle of Trafalgar on October 21st, 1805, and the temporary shattering of the maritime power of the two countries opposed to us. England breathed freely again and the general feelings of jubilation which prevailed may well be judged from the following " Orders" issued in East Grinstead:—
In consequence of His Majesty's proclamation for a general thanksgiving on Thursday, the 5th day of December next, for the late glorious and unexampled victories obtained over the combined fleets of France and Spain, by the late tho' ever memorable and most gallant Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, and other distinguished officers of His Majesty's Royal Navy, the Volunteers are desired to assemble for parade in uniform with side-arms only at £ past 10 o'clock in order to proceed to church to unite in prayer and thanksgiving for those signal exercises so recently received, -whereby the dread of invasion is in a great measure removed and may ultimately open to us the prospect of peace, when each of us may, without interruption from military service, pursue our respective avocations and rest secure under the pleasing reflection that in an hour when our country was in danger from the threatened attacks of our enemies—in which all that is dear and valuable would have fallen a sacrifice, without that general spirit and unanimity which hath so manifestly appeared in every rank and condition in life—we also came forward to contribute all in our power to the general cause.
On September 28th, 1806, the Legion was disbanded and the East Grinstead men were called on to hand back their arms and accoutrements at the Vestry on October 8th and to dine with the Speaker of the House of Commons at the Swan Hotel that evening. The order of dismissal seems to have given intense dissatisfaction. The Company met in the Play Field on Sunday, October 5th, to receive it, but before doing so addressed a letter to their Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Col. Cranston, setting forth that Lord Sheffield had tendered the