THE MARQUIS OF ANGLESEY. (After the Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence.)
[See larger version]During this time Britain was suffering severely from the effects of the war. The nation was indignant under the disgrace of the complete defeat of its army on the Continent, at the defection of those very Allies who had been so profusely subsidised, at the perfidy by which these despot Powers had made Britain the efficient party in the dismemberment of Poland, and at the heavy taxes imposed in consequence. Political meetings were held in most large towns and in the metropolis, expressing the most decided disapprobation of the policy of Ministers and at the refusal of all reforms. At the end of June a monster meeting had been held in St. George's Fields, and on the 26th of October, another, of fifty thousand people, near Copenhagen House, at which the lately prosecuted but acquitted agitators, Thelwall, Gale Jones, and others, were the speakers. The numbers and tone of these meetings, which were accompanied with loud cries of "Bread! Bread!" and "Down with Pitt!" greatly alarmed Government, and there was a summons of Parliament at the unusually early date of October 29th, only three days after the meeting in Copenhagen Fields. On going to the House to open the session, the king—who had become very unpopular from his eager support of the war, and his going about saying, "The French won't leave a single crowned head in Europe!"—was shot at with an air-gun in Margaret Street, opposite to the Ordnance Office, the ball from which passed through the windows of the carriage, between his Majesty and the Earl of Westmoreland. The king on entering the House, exclaimed to the Lord Chancellor, "My lord, I have been shot at!" As the king returned, he was again furiously hissed; there was the same vociferous shouting of "Bread! Bread!" and "No Pitt!" Stones were thrown at the royal carriage; and, in the haste and confusion to escape into the palace of St. James's, one of the royal grooms was thrown to the ground, and had his thigh broken. The king got into a private coach to regain Buckingham House, where his family was; but he was recognised, and pursued by the same cries of "Bread! Bread!" and "Peace!" That evening the king, who had behaved throughout with great courage, accompanied the queen and three of his daughters to Covent Garden Theatre, where he was received with zealous acclamations; the actors sang "God save the king!" three times over. Some of the people in the gallery were, however, pretty vehement in their hisses, but were attacked and turned out.At the end of the fortnight Lord Grenville and Lord Grey pointed out the necessity of proceeding to appoint a regent. Ministers replied that the physicians were confident of the king's speedy recovery; but as there were repeated adjournments and the reports of the physicians still held the same language, the sense of Parliament prevailed. On the 17th of December Mr. Perceval moved that on the 20th they should go into committee on the question of the Regency; and on that day the same resolutions were passed as had been passed in 1788—namely, that the Prince of Wales should be Regent under certain restrictions; that the right of creating peerages, and granting salaries, pensions, and offices in reversion, should be limited specifically, as in 1788. The royal dukes made a protest against these limitations; but on the 30th they were confirmed by both Houses, with additional resolutions for the care of his Majesty's person and the security of his private property, which were passed on the last day of the year 1810.
Accession of George IV.—Meeting of Parliament—General Election—Opening of the New Session—Dulness of Affairs—Brougham on Education—Queen Caroline—Omission of her Name from the Liturgy—She rejects the King's Proposals, and arrives in England—Attempts at a Compromise—The King orders an Inquiry—The Secret Committee—The Bill of Pains and Penalties—Arrival of the Queen in the House of Lords—Discussions on the Form of Procedure—Speeches of Denman and the Attorney-General—Evidence for the Prosecution—Brougham's Speech—Abandonment of the Bill—General Rejoicings—Violence of Party Feeling—Popularity of the Queen—Her Claim to be crowned refused—The Queen's Attempt to enter the Abbey—Indiscretion of the Act—The Coronation and the Banquet—The subsequent Scramble—Death of the Queen—Departure of her Body—The King's Visit to Ireland—A Royal Oration and its enthusiastic Reception—The King and Lady Conyngham—Changes in the Government—Discontent of Eldon—Wellesley in Ireland—Alarming State of the Country—Canning's Speech on Catholic Emancipation—Parliamentary Reform—Agricultural Distress and Finance—Eldon's Outbreak on the Marriage Bill—Suicide of Lord Londonderry—Scene at his Funeral—Visit of George IV. to Scotland—Loyalty of Sir Walter Scott—Account of the Festivities—Peel's Letter to Scott—Return of the King—Canning takes the Foreign Office and Leadership of the House of Commons—Huskisson joins the Cabinet—The Duke of Wellington sent to Verona—His Instructions—Principles of the Holy Alliance—The Spanish Colonies—French Intervention in Spain—The Duke's Remonstrances with the French King—His Interview with the Czar—The Congress of Verona—Failure of Wellington to prevent Intervention in Spain—Vindication of Canning's Policy in the Commons—He calls the New World into Existence.[See larger version]LORD COLLINGWOOD.
Eugene, during these affairs, had been actively prosecuting the fortunes of the Allies with his remnant of an army. He pushed on the siege of Quesnoy, and took it. He sent a flying detachment of one thousand five hundred cavalry, under Major-General Grovestein, to make an incursion into France. This force made a rapid raid in Champagne, passed the Noire, the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Saar, ravaged the country, reduced a great number of villages and towns to ashes, rode up to the very gate of Metz, and then retired to Traerbach with a load of rich booty. This was a proof of what might have been done in France at this period with the whole army united under a commander like Marlborough, in place of miserably giving up everything to that country in the moment of power. As it was, it created the utmost consternation in Paris, the people of which already saw the English at their gate; whilst Louis did not think himself safe at Versailles, but gathered all the troops in the neighbourhood of the capital around his palace, leaving the city to take care of itself.[See larger version]
LADY HAMILTON WELCOMING THE VICTORS OF THE NILE.Whilst these events had been progressing, the Ministry had entered into a combat with the great unknown political essayist, Junius. Junius had advanced from Sir William Draper to the Duke of Grafton, and from the Duke of Grafton to the king in his sweeping philippics. For these daring censures, Woodfall, the printer of the Public Advertiser, was tried, and also Almon, the publisher of the London Museum, a monthly periodical, for reprinting the libel there. Almon was convicted of publishing, and sentenced to pay a fine of ten marks, and give security for his good behaviour for two years, himself in four hundred pounds, and two sureties in two hundred pounds each. He moved in vain for a new trial. Woodfall was convicted of "printing and publishing only;" but he obtained an order for a new trial, on the ground of the phrase "only" being ambiguous. But the circumstance which excited the attention and turned the resentment of both Liberal statesmen and the people was, that Lord Mansfield on these trials had instructed the juries to confine themselves to the facts alone, and to leave the question of legality to the judges. This was properly declared a dangerous infringement of the rights of juries, and calculated to make their verdicts merely the servile echoes of the dicta of the judges. Lord Chatham, on the 28th of November, denounced in the Peers this dictation of the judge to the juries. Serjeant Glynn, at the same time, moved in the Commons for an inquiry into the administration of justice in Westminster Hall, where such unconstitutional instructions could be given. This occasioned a warm debate, in which Burke, Dunning, and others, ably defended the public rights. The motion was negatived.
"Such, my lords," continued Mr. Brougham, "is the case now before you; and such is the evidence by which it is attempted to be upheld. It is evidence inadequate to prove any proposition, impotent to deprive the subject of any civil right, ridiculous to establish the least offence, scandalous to support a charge of the highest nature, monstrous to ruin the honour of the Queen of England. What shall I say of it, then, as evidence to support a judicial act of legislature—an ex post facto law? My lords, I call upon you to pause. You stand on the brink of a precipice: if your judgment shall go out against the queen, it will be the only act that ever went out without effecting its purpose; it will return to you upon your heads. Save the country! save yourselves!As Ministers did not resign on being placed in a minority the third time, rumours were industriously circulated by their opponents that they meant to rule the country despotically; that they were about to dissolve Parliament the second time, and had resolved to maintain the army on their own responsibility, without the Mutiny Act. On the 2nd of March Lord John Russell, referring to these rumours, gave notice that he intended to bring forward the Irish Appropriation question, and the question of Municipal Reform. It was for a test of this kind that Sir Robert Peel waited. In the meantime he denied that he had any such intentions as those ascribed to him, and compelled Mr. Hume to withdraw his proposal to limit the supplies to three months. He promised that Government would bring in a Bill on the Irish Church; but it would adhere strictly to the principle that ecclesiastical property should be reserved for ecclesiastical purposes. He declared they would be prepared to remedy all real abuses when the report of the Commissioners appointed for their investigation was received.
This being done, Mr. Vyner suggested that the physicians should rather be examined by the House itself, a proposal supported by Fox. Pitt replied that this was a matter requiring much delicacy, and that the opinions of the physicians before the Council being on oath, he imagined that they had greater force than any given before Parliament, where they would not be on oath. But, during the four days' adjournment, he had ascertained, to his satisfaction, that the majority of the physicians were of opinion that the king would pretty soon recover, and that especially Dr. Willis was of this opinion, under whose more immediate care he was; and no sooner did the Commons meet, than Pitt most judiciously acquiesced in the suggestions of Vyner and Fox; and the physicians were examined by a committee of twenty-one members, of which he himself was chairman. On the 16th of December Pitt brought up the report of the committee, in which a majority of the physicians had expressed the opinion that the malady of the king would not be of long duration; and he then moved for another committee to search for precedents as to the power to be exercised by a regent. Fox declared that Pitt knew very well that there were no precedents to be found while there existed an Heir Apparent, at the time, of full age and capacity; that he was seeking only the means of delaying what ought to be done at once; that the failure of the mind of the sovereign was a case of natural demise, and that the Heir Apparent succeeded to the exercise of the royal authority from the period of that failure, as a matter of course; that the Parliament had, indeed, the authority to decide that such failure had actually taken place, and to sanction the assumption of the powers of regency, as the other two Estates of the realm, but nothing more. When Fox made this astounding assertion, Pitt slapped his thigh and exclaimed to a colleague sitting near him, "I'll unwhig the gentleman for the rest of his life."
THE JUMMA MUSJID, DELHI. (From a Photograph by Frith & Co.)A few sketches of the state of the population given by the agents of the Relief Committee of the Society of Friends, who exerted themselves nobly in relieving the distress, may help to give us a more vivid impression of the horrors of the famine. At Boyle they found numbers that had eaten nothing but cabbages or turnips for weeks. The children were in a condition of starvation, ravenous with hunger. At Carrick-on-Shannon a most painful and heartrending scene presented itself: poor wretches in the last stage of famine, imploring to be received into the house; women that had six or seven children begging that even two or three of them might be taken in, as their husbands were earning but eightpence a day. Famine was written in their faces. On bread being given to some of these poor creatures, many of them devoured it with ravenous voracity. But the mothers restrained themselves, and carried home portions to their children. The famine produced a peculiar effect on the appearance of the young. Their faces looked wan and haggard, seeming like old men and women, with an extraordinary sharpness of expression; they had lost all their natural sprightliness, making no attempt to play. In the crowded workhouses their bedding consisted of dirty straw, in which they were laid in rows on the floor, even as many as six persons being crowded under one rug—the living and the dying stretched side by side beneath the same miserable covering. The town of Westport was in itself a strange and fearful sight, like what we read of in beleaguered cities; its streets crowded with gaunt wanderers, sauntering to and fro with hopeless air and hunger-struck appearance; a mob of starved, almost naked women around the poor-house, clamouring for soup-tickets.
WALPOLE'S QUARREL WITH TOWNSHEND. (See p. 60.)详情
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