But though Pitt protested against thanking the king for bringing over Hanoverian troops, he found it necessary to support the king's German treaties and alliances, which were avowedly for the defence of Hanover. Fox reminded him of his favourite phrase, that Hanover was a millstone round the neck of England; but it was not the first time that Pitt had had to stand the taunt of eating his own words, and he braved it out, especially voting two hundred thousand pounds to Frederick of Prussia. A wonderful revolution in Continental politics had now converted this long-hostile nephew of George II. into an ally, if not a friend.The session of Parliament closing on the 26th of May, George took his annual trip to Hanover, leaving, as usual, the queen to act as Regent. She found her duties this year by no means light. Everyone is acquainted with the Porteous Riots, as they are described by the inimitable pen of Sir Walter Scott in "The Heart of Midlothian." The simple historic facts are these:—Two noted smugglers from Fife, Wilson and Robertson, were condemned to death for a robbery, and were confined in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. They made a determined effort to effect their escape before the day of execution. Wilson, who would go first, being a man of a corpulent though very powerful build, wedged himself fast in the window, and could neither get out nor draw back again. He was found thus in the morning, and the two prisoners were again secured. Wilson lamented that by his own eagerness he had prevented Robertson from going first, who, from his slenderer person, could easily have escaped. Before execution it was the custom at that period in Scotland to conduct the prisoners about to suffer, under a strong guard, to church. This being done in the case of these two men, just as the service was concluded, Wilson suddenly laid hold of two of the four soldiers who guarded them, called out to Robertson to run for his life, and detained the third soldier by seizing him by the collar with his teeth. He escaped, and was never seen in Edinburgh again. This daring scheme, so cleverly executed, raised the admiration of the bravery and magnanimity of Wilson to the highest pitch. At his execution the soldiers were attacked with stones. Porteous, who commanded the guard, fired upon the mob. For this he was condemned to death, but was reprieved by Queen Caroline after full inquiry. The people in fury attacked the Tolbooth, the magistrates and the commander of the troops were afraid to act, the prison was broken open, and Porteous hanged on a barber's pole. All attempts to discover the perpetrators of the outrage failed.These disorders appealed with irresistible force to the Government and the legislature to put an end to a system fraught with so much evil, and threatening the utter disruption of society in Ireland. In the first place, something must be done to meet the wants of the destitute clergy and their families. Accordingly, Mr. Stanley brought in a Bill in May, 1832, authorising the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland to advance ￡60,000 as a fund for the payment of the clergy, who were unable to collect their tithes for the year 1831. This measure was designed to meet the existing necessity, and was only a preliminary to the promised settlement of the tithe question. It was therefore passed quickly through both Houses, and became law on the 1st of June. But the money thus advanced was not placed on the Consolidated Fund. The Government took upon itself the collection of the arrears of tithes and to reimburse itself for its advances out of the sum that it succeeded in recovering. It was a maxim with Mr. Stanley that the people should be made to respect the law; that they should not be allowed to trample upon it with impunity. The odious task thus assumed produced a state of unparalleled excitement. The people were driven to frenzy, instead of being frightened by the Chief Secretary becoming tithe-collector-general, and the army employed in its collection. The first proceeding of the Government to recover the tithes under the Act of the 1st of June was, therefore, the signal for general war. Bonfires blazed upon the hills, the rallying sounds of horns were heard along the valleys, and the mustering tread of thousands upon the roads, hurrying to the scene of a seizure or an auction. It was a bloody campaign; there was considerable loss of life, and the Church and the Government thus became more obnoxious to the people than ever. Mr. Stanley being the commander-in-chief on one side, and O'Connell on the other, the contest was embittered by their personal antipathies. It was found that the amount of the arrears for the year 1831 was ￡104,285, and that the whole amount which the Government was able to levy, after putting forward its strength in every possible way, was ￡12,000, the cost of collection being ￡15,000, so that the Government was not able to raise as much money as would pay the expenses of the campaign. This was how Mr. Stanley illustrated his favourite sentiment that the people should be made to respect the law. But the Liberal party among the Protestants fully sympathised with the anti-tithe recusants.
Melbourne returned to town that evening, the bearer of a letter to the Duke. He communicated the state of affairs to Brougham under pledge of secrecy, but the Lord Chancellor promptly went to the Times and gave the editor a report of the circumstances, with the malicious addition—"The queen has done it all." The king, furious at the insult, came up to town, and dismissed his Ministers before their successors were appointed. Meanwhile, the Duke went to Brighton on Sunday, and advised the king to send for Sir Robert Peel, who was then in Italy. A messenger was immediately despatched, who in ten days arrived at Rome, and surprised Sir Robert Peel with the announcement of the king's wish that he should return to England forthwith. Next morning the right honourable baronet started for home, and arrived in London on the 9th of December. The Duke of Wellington details the circumstances of this Ministerial crisis in a letter to the Duke of Buckingham. According to his account, the death of the Earl Spencer, which removed Lord Althorp from the House of Commons, from the management of the Government business in that assembly, and from the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, occasioned the greatest difficulty and embarrassment. His personal influence and weight in the House of Commons were the main foundation of the strength of the late Government; and upon his removal it was necessary for the king and his Ministers to consider whether fresh arrangements should be made to enable his Majesty's late servants to conduct the affairs of the country, or whether it was advisable for his Majesty to adopt any other course. The arrangements in contemplation must have reference, not only to men, but to measures, to some of which the king felt the strongest objection. He had also strong objections to some of the members of the Cabinet. The Duke was therefore requested to form an Administration, but he earnestly recommended Sir Robert Peel as the fittest man for the office of Prime Minister. In the meanwhile he offered to hold the offices of First Lord of the Treasury and Home Secretary until Sir Robert Peel's return, Lord Lyndhurst holding the Great Seals temporarily, subject, with all the other arrangements, to Sir Robert Peel's approbation. On the 21st Lord Lyndhurst was gazetted as Lord Chancellor, holding in the interim his office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer, which Lord Brougham, dreading the prospect of idleness, offered to fill without salary, thus saving the country ￡12,000 a year, an offer which exposed him to censure from his own party, and which he afterwards withdrew.[See larger version]
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CAPTURE OF MURAT. (See p. 117.)
There was besides a tax called Church Cess, levied by Protestants in vestry meetings upon Roman Catholics for cleaning the church, ringing the bell, washing the minister's surplice, purchasing bread and wine for the communion, and paying the salary of the parish clerk. This tax was felt to be a direct and flagrant violation of the rights of conscience, and of the principles of the British Constitution; and against it there was a determined opposition, which manifested itself in tumultuous and violent assemblages at the parish churches all over the country on Easter Monday, when the rector or his curate, as chairman of the meeting, came into angry collision with flocks who disowned him, and denounced him as a tyrant, a persecutor, and a robber.Besides those enumerated, "The Four Election Scenes," "The Enraged Musician," "The Distressed Poet," and "England and France"—all made familiar to the public by engravings—are amongst his best works. In 1760 occurred the first exhibition of pictures by British artists, the works of Hogarth being an actuating cause. He had presented to the Foundling Hospital, besides his "March to Finchley," his "Marriage à la Mode," and his "Moses brought before Pharaoh's Daughter," his most successful picture of that kind; and Hayman and other artists having followed his example, a company of artists conceived the idea that an exhibition of the works of living artists might be made profitable. Hogarth fell readily into the plan, till it was proposed to add to this a royal academy of arts, which he opposed with all his might. He died in 1764, and was buried in the churchyard at Chiswick, where also lies by his side his wife, who survived him twenty-five years.
In the department of philosophy flourished also Bishop Berkeley (b. 1684; d. 1753), author of "The Principles of Human Knowledge," whostartled the world with the theory that matter has no existence in the universe, but is merely a fixed idea of the mind; Dr. Mandeville, a Dutchman by birth, who settled in London, and published various medical and metaphysical works of a freethinking character; Hutchinson, an opponent of Dr. Woodward in natural history, and Newton in natural philosophy; and David Hartley, author of "Observations on Man." Bishop Butler, Warburton, Hoadley, Middleton, author of "A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers of the Church," and Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, were the leading theologians in the Church; but Dissent could also boast of its men of light and leading in Dr. Isaac Watts, author of a system of Logic and of the popular Hymns; Calamy, the opponent of Hoadley; Doddridge, and others.
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On the 28th of March the Ministry, as completed, was announced in the House, and the writs for the re-elections having been issued, the House adjourned for the Easter holidays, and on the 8th of April met for business. The first affairs which engaged the attention of the new Administration were those of Ireland. We have already seen that, in 1778, the Irish, encouraged by the events in North America, and by Lord North's conciliatory proposals to Congress, appealed to the British Government for the removal of unjust restrictions from themselves, and how free trade was granted them in 1780. These concessions were received in Ireland with testimonies of loud approbation and professions of loyalty; but they only encouraged the patriot party to fresh demands. These were for the repeal of the two obnoxious Acts which conferred the legislative supremacy regarding Irish affairs on England. These Acts were—first, Poynings' Act, so called from Sir Edward Poynings, and passed in the reign of Henry VII., which gave to the English Privy Council the right to see, alter, or suppress any Bill before the Irish Parliament, money Bills excepted; the second was an Act of George I., which asserted in the strongest terms the right of the king, Lords, and Commons of England to legislate for Ireland.The crisis of extreme difficulty to which Peel referred was occasioned by the power acquired by the Catholic Association, which had originated in the following manner. Early in 1823 Mr. O'Connell proposed to his brother barrister, Mr. Sheil, and a party of friends who were dining with Mr. O'Mara, at Glancullen, the plan of an association for the management of the Catholic cause. At a general meeting of the Roman Catholics, which took place in April, a resolution with the same design was carried, and on Monday, the 12th of May, the first meeting of the Catholic Association was held in Dempsey's Rooms, in Sackville Street, Dublin. Subsequently it met at the house of a Catholic bookseller named Coyne, and before a month had passed it was in active working order. From these small beginnings it became, in the course of the year, one of the most extensive, compact, and powerful popular organisations the world had ever seen. Its influence ramified into every parish in Ireland. It found a place and work for almost every member of the Roman Catholic body; the peer, the lawyer, the merchant, the country gentleman, the peasant, and, above all, the priest, had each his task assigned him: getting up petitions, forming deputations to the Government and to Parliament, conducting electioneering business, watching over the administration of justice, collecting "the Catholic rent," preparing resolutions, and making speeches at the meetings of the Association, which were held every Monday at the Corn Exchange, when everything in the remotest degree connected with the interests of Roman Catholics or of Ireland was the subject of animating and exciting discussion, conducted in the form of popular harangues, by barristers, priests, merchants, and others. Voluminous correspondence was read by the secretary, large sums of rent were handed in, fresh members were enrolled, and speeches were made to a crowd of excited and applauding people, generally composed of Dublin operatives and idlers. But as the proceedings were fully reported in the public journals, the audience may be said to have been the Irish nation. And over all, "the voice of O'Connell, like some mighty minster bell, was heard through Ireland, and the empire, and the world."
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CHAPTER XI. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).
5When Buonaparte heard that Ferdinand had arrived, he is said to have exclaimed—"What! is the fool really come?" He received him, however, with courtesy, invited him to dinner, and treated him with all the deference of a crowned head; but the same evening he sent Savary to inform him that he had determined that the Bourbons should cease to reign, and the crown should be transferred to his own family. Possessed of the Prince of Asturias, Buonaparte proceeded to complete his kidnapping, and make himself master of the king and queen. He was sure that if he brought Godoy to Bayonne he should draw the infatuated queen after him, and that she would bring the king with her. He therefore ordered Murat to send on Godoy under a strong guard. This was executed with such rapidity that he was conveyed from Aranjuez to the banks of the Bidassoa in a couple of days. Buonaparte received Godoy in the most flattering manner, told him that he regarded the abdication of Charles as most unjustifiable, and that he would be glad to see the king and queen at Bayonne, to arrange the best mode of securing them on the throne. Godoy communicated this intelligence with alacrity, and Napoleon very soon had the two remaining royal fools in his safe keeping. On the 30th of April a train of old, lumbering carriages, the first drawn by eight Biscayan mules, was seen crossing the drawbridge at Bayonne. The arrival consisted of the King and Queen of Spain, with three or four unimportant grandees. Godoy welcomed Charles and his queen, and assured them of the friendly disposition and intentions of Buonaparte. Having the family in his clutches, Napoleon had little difficulty in compelling Ferdinand to restore the crown to his father, who abdicated a second time, and placed his crown in the hands of the Emperor.详情
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