To insure a powerful diversion, the Sultan had engaged the military co-operation of Sweden. Sweden had been forcibly deprived of Finland by Peter the Great, and she longed to recover it. She had a brave army, but no money. The Grand Turk, to enable her to commence the enterprise, had sent her a present of about four hundred thousand pounds sterling. Sweden put her fleet in preparation in all haste, and had Pitt merely allowed the Russian fleet to quit the Baltic, there was nothing to prevent the execution of the Swedish design on Finland, nor, indeed, of marching directly on St. Petersburg in the absence of the army.In the later period of the reign some of our chief poets appeared also as prose writers in biography, criticism, and general literature: Southey, as biographer and critic; Campbell and Moore, Leigh Hunt and Charles Lamb, in the same field; so also Hazlitt, Sydney Smith, Jeffrey, Playfair, Stewart, Brown, Mackintosh, and Bentham—the last in the philosophy of law. In physical science, Sir Humphry Davy, Leslie, Dalton, the author of the atomic theory, and Wollaston, distinguished themselves.
But whilst some little freedom from restrictions for Dissenters was thus forced from the Church, a stout battle was going on, and continued to go on through the whole reign, for giving to the Roman Catholics the common privileges of citizens. On account of their faith they were excluded from all civil offices, including seats in Parliament. We shall see that some slight concessions of both civil and military privilege were, in the course of this contest, made to them; but to the end of this reign, and, indeed, until 1829, the full claims of the Catholics continued to be resisted. We can only cursorily note the main facts of this long-protracted struggle. In the early part of the reign a degree of relief was afforded which promised well for the cause of the Catholics; but these promises were not fulfilled. In May, 1778, Sir George Savile brought in a Bill to relieve the Catholics from the provisions of the Act of 1699 for preventing the growth of Popery. By this Act Catholic priests were not allowed to enter England, and, if found there, were at the mercy of informers; Roman Catholics were forbidden to educate their own children, or to have them educated by Papists, under penalty of perpetual imprisonment; and they were not allowed to purchase land, or hold it by descent or bequest; but the next of kin who was a Protestant might take it. Sir George's Act passed both Houses, and by it all Roman Catholics were restored to the privileges of performing divine service, if priests, and of holding land, and educating children, on taking an oath of allegiance, of abjuration of the Pretender, and rejection of the doctrine that it was lawful to murder heretics, was right to keep no faith with them, and that the Pope or any foreign prince had any temporal or civil jurisdiction within these realms. The consequence of this degree of indulgence to the Catholics was the famous Gordon Riots in London and similar ones in Edinburgh, which had the effect of frightening the Government out of further concessions. A similar Bill was passed in Ireland in 1782. The Bill of 1778, however, was confirmed and considerably extended by a Bill brought in by Mr. Mitford, afterwards Lord Redesdale, in 1791, and, after a long discussion, was passed by both Houses in June of that year. This Bill legalised Roman Catholic places of worship, provided they were registered and the doors were not locked during service; it recognised the right of Catholics to keep schools, except in Oxford and Cambridge, and provided that no Protestant children were admitted. It permitted Catholic barristers and attorneys to practise on taking the new oath; and it removed the penalties on peers for coming into the presence of the king; in fact, it left little disability upon Catholics except that of not being eligible for places in Parliament, or any other places under Government, unless they took the old oaths.The difficulty which Buonaparte had created for himself by the usurpation of the thrones of Spain and Portugal, had the direct result which his wisest counsellors foresaw. Austria immediately began to watch the progress of the Peninsular struggle, and the resistance of the Spanish people; and the stepping of Great Britain into that field induced her to believe that the opportunity was come for throwing off the French yoke, and avenging her past injuries and humiliations. She had made arrangements by which she could call out an immense population, and convert them into soldiers. But in determining to declare open war against Buonaparte, Austria displayed a woful want of sagacity. To compete with a general like Buonaparte, and a power like France, it needed not only that her armies should be numerous but thoroughly disciplined. Nothing could have been lost by a little delay, but much might be gained. If Buonaparte succeeded in putting down the insurrection in Spain, he would then fall on Austria with all his victorious forces; if he did not succeed, but his difficulties increased, then every day that Austria waited was a day of strength to her. Russia, which was nominally at peace with Buonaparte, but which at heart was already determined on breaking the connection, saw, with just alarm, this precipitate movement of Austria. If she rose at once, Alexander was bound by treaty to co-operate in putting her down; if she deferred her enterprise for awhile, there was every probability that they could issue forth together against the common disturber. If Austria made a rash blow and were prostrated, Russia would then be left alone; and Alexander knew well, notwithstanding Napoleon's professions, that he would lose little time in demanding some concession from him.FIVE-GUINEA PIECE OF GEORGE I.
The Duke arrived at Paris on the 9th of December, having spent more than two months at diplomacy with very unsatisfactory results. He found the king and his Minister, M. de Villele, much cooled in their feelings towards the Spanish Government, in consequence of the tone of moderation it had assumed after its defeat of the Royalist insurgents. The king was now disposed to recall his army of observation, if he could do so with honour, and all he pressed for now was that Spain should so modify her system as to make the Constitution emanate from the king, by resting it upon a royal charter and not upon the will of the people. If this were done, and done in time for him to explain the case to the Parliament, when they met on the 28th of January, everything else, every matter of arrangement and detail, would be left to the undisturbed management of the Spanish Cabinet and Cortes. This was truly very accommodating. If Spain would only recant her constitutionalism, and adopt the absolutist creed of Divine Right, the Allies would not send their armies into the country for the protection of the king against his people. The Duke having reported the altered state of feeling in the French Government, and all that had passed, to Mr. Canning, the Foreign Secretary instructed him to deliver an official note to M. de Villele, containing a direct offer from England to mediate. This offer was declined. On the 20th of December the Duke quitted Paris, and arrived in London early in January. Subsequently the diplomatic war was carried on between M. Chateaubriand and Mr. Canning, both men of genius, and masters of a brilliant style of rhetoric, to which the Duke of Wellington had no pretensions. Mr. Canning, alluding to the proposed armed intervention in Spain, with a view to stamp out the revolution, said, "The spirit of revolution—which, shut up within the Pyrenees, might exhaust itself with struggles, trying indeed to Spain, but harmless to her neighbours, when restricted—if called forth from within these precincts by the provocation of foreign attack, might find, perhaps, in other countries fresh aliment for its fury, and might renew throughout Europe the misery of the five-and-twenty years which preceded the peace of 1815."
CHAPTER VII. THE REIGN OF GEORGE IV. (concluded).Gates replied that he was well aware that General Burgoyne's army was reduced to the last extremity; that it had lost the greater part of its men by repeated defeats, sickness, etc., together with their artillery, horses, and ammunition; that their retreat was cut off, and, therefore, he could listen to nothing but an absolute surrender. Burgoyne said he would never admit that his retreat was cut off whilst he had arms in his hands; and Gates, who knew that Clinton was on his march, and might soon alter the whole face of things, was only too anxious to have Burgoyne's army out of the way. After some preliminaries, therefore, to save appearances, on the 16th it was agreed that the British should march out of their camp with all the honours of war; should deposit their cannon on the banks of the Hudson, and there pile their arms at the command of their own officers; that the troops, of whatever nation they might be composed, should retire in all security and honour to Boston, where they should be provided with all necessary comforts until they embarked for England, under condition of not serving against the United States again during that war; that the Canadians should be allowed to return in all honour to their own country; and that in no case should officers be separated from their own men. These were not such terms as are usually granted to conquered armies; and the reason was, that Clinton was every day drawing nearer. Scarcely were these terms agreed on, when this fact became known to Burgoyne. For a moment he hesitated whether he should sign the contract; but, on consultation with his officers, he felt himself bound in honour to ratify it, and accordingly, the next morning, the 17th of October, the deed was signed, and the troops, marching out, grounded their arms.On the day before her Majesty had desired to see Sir Robert Peel, to bid him farewell; but before he had set out for Windsor he had learnt the circumstances of the failure of the Whig leader to form a Cabinet; and as the result of his interview with the Queen he returned to London to resume the reins of Government. His position was greatly strengthened. Of his late Cabinet, Lord Stanley alone insisted on retiring, his place at the Board of Trade being filled by Mr. Gladstone. The baffled Whigs and the discontented monopolist party threatened a formidable combination; but, as regarded the Ministry itself, the change of policy was effected with far less sacrifice than might have been expected, considering all the circumstances of the case.
Mr. Roebuck, the next day, moved a counter-resolution in the following terms:—"That the principles which have hitherto regulated the foreign policy of her Majesty's Government are such as were required to preserve untarnished the honour and dignity of this country, and, in times of unexampled difficulty, the best calculated to maintain peace between England and the various nations of the world." He supported this position in an able and lengthened speech. The chief ground of dispute was the demand of Palmerston for compensation to a person named Don Pacifico, a Jew, and by birth a British subject, who resided at Athens, and whose house had been attacked on a Sunday, his property destroyed, and his family beaten by a mob headed by young noblemen. The Greek Government refused him reparation, and he sought protection from England. There was also the case of Mr. Finlay, whose land was seized in order that it might be converted into a garden for the King of Greece, the owner being refused payment; Lord Aberdeen, when Foreign Secretary, having applied in vain for redress. There was also the case of H.M.S. Fant?me, whose boat's crew had been arrested by Greek soldiers; also other outrages equally serious. Lord Palmerston defended his policy with his wonted spirit and ability, and with triumphant success in a speech which, said Mr. Gladstone, lasted "from the dusk of one day to the dawn of another." Mr. Gladstone arraigned the conduct of the first Minister in sitting down contentedly under the censure of the House of Lords, by sheltering himself under precedents which were in fact no precedents at all. He charged Lord Palmerston with violating international law, by making reprisals upon Greek property to the extent of ￡80,000 to satisfy the exorbitant demands of Don Pacifico; the fruit of this policy being humiliation, in regard to France, and a lesson received without reply from the autocrat of all the Russia's. Mr. Cobden also assailed the policy of Lord Palmerston, and asked if there was no other way of settling such trifling matters than by sending fifteen ships of war into Greek waters, which had seized several gunboats, and more than forty merchantmen. Lord John Russell defended the policy of the Government, and concluded by declaring that by the verdict of that House and the people of England he was prepared to abide, fully convinced that the Government had preserved at the same time the honour of the country and the blessings of peace. Mr. Disraeli, on the other hand, maintained that the House of Lords had exercised a solemn duty in pronouncing a censure upon the policy which had led to such terrible results. This debate will be rendered for ever memorable in our annals by the speech of Sir Robert Peel. It was one of the best speeches he ever delivered in that House, and it was his last. He argued strongly against intermeddling with the affairs of foreign nations in order to procure for them free institutions, and concluded with the expression of his belief that the cause of constitutional liberty would only be encumbered by our help; whilst by intruding it we should involve Great Britain in incalculable difficulties. When the hour for the division came the House was very full—Ayes—310; Noes, 264; giving the Government a majority of 46.
Anne prorogued Parliament on the 16th of July in a speech, in which she felicitated herself on having closed a long and bloody war, which she had inherited, and not occasioned. She trusted also that before the meeting of the next Parliament the commercial interests of France and England would be better understood, so that there would be no longer any obstacle to a good commercial treaty. She said not a word regarding the Pretender, so that it was felt by the Whigs that she had followed the dictates of nature rather than of party in regard to him. On the 8th of August she dissolved Parliament by proclamation, its triennial term having expired. Burnet says it had acquired the name of the Pacific Parliament; and he winds up his own history with the remark that "no assembly but one composed as this was could have sat quiet under such a peace." There was every effort made, however, to impress on the constituencies the high merit of the Parliament in making an advantageous and glorious peace, medals being cast for that purpose bearing the effigy of the queen and a Latin motto laudatory of peace.On the 9th of January, a month after their arrival, Lord Derwentwater was impeached of high treason by Mr. Lechmere in a bitter speech in the Commons. Other members, with equal acrimony, followed with impeachments against the Lords Widdrington, Nithsdale, Wintoun, Carnwath, Kenmure, and Nairn. The impeachments were carried up to the House of Lords on the same day, and on the 19th the accused noblemen were brought before the Peers, where they knelt at the bar until they were desired to rise by the Lord Chancellor, when, with the exception of Lord Wintoun, they confessed their guilt, and threw themselves on the mercy of the king. Sentence of death was immediately pronounced on those who had pleaded guilty; and Lord Wintoun was condemned after trial, but several months later he effected his escape from the Tower. Every effort was made to save the prisoners, and they were all reprieved, with the exception of Derwentwater, Kenmure, and Nithsdale. The first two were executed; but the Countess of Nithsdale, being about to take her leave of her husband, contrived, by introducing some friends, to secure his escape in female attire.
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The marriage of the Prince of Wales with Mrs. Fitzherbert was notorious; but as it was not openly avowed by the Prince, no steps were taken to dissolve it. But in 1794 the Prince had got a new favourite, the Lady Jersey, already a grandmother, but a young one. For her Mrs. Fitzherbert was dismissed, showing how little the Prince thought of the reality of the marriage with that fair lady, and he now lived openly and ostentatiously with Lady Jersey, Lord Jersey being well contented with the arrangement for the sake of the good things he hoped to gain by it, being at once appointed Master of the Horse to the Prince. But the Prince's extravagance and gambling, by the practice of which, notwithstanding his own losses, he reduced his friends, one after the other, as the Earl of Moira, Sir Wallace Porter, and others, to beggary, had now brought him into extreme difficulties. His debts, after having been more than once paid off by Parliament, now again amounted to six hundred and thirty thousand pounds! Another appeal to Parliament was absolutely necessary, for his creditors were grown excessively clamorous. The king seized the opportunity to induce the Prince to marry a foreign princess, representing it as the only plan by which they could apply to Parliament for such an increase of means as would enable him to liquidate his debts. But instead of allowing the Prince to go abroad and make his own selection, so that there might be possibly some degree of freedom of choice in the matter, the queen was anxious to have her own niece, the Princess Louisa Augusta Amelia of Mecklenburg, selected for him. This Princess, afterwards the popular Queen of Prussia, was a good creature, and might possibly have wrought some favourable change even in so depraved a nature as that of the Prince of Wales. But the king was equally determined to secure the unenviable post for his own niece, Caroline Amelia Elizabeth, the second daughter of the Duke of Brunswick, who was one of the petty princes of Germany. To effect this arrangement, an attachment between the Crown Prince of Prussia and this Princess Caroline had to be rent asunder. The Prince was ready to fall in with any such bargain, on condition that he was liberated from his debts. It was certain that he would please himself as to the lady or ladies with whom he would really live. All obstacles of nature, or of nearness of consanguinity, or of private attachments were overborne by diplomacy, and by the promise of the discharge of the Prince's debts. The Princess Caroline of Brunswick was selected—a young lady of not unpleasing person in her youth, according to the descriptions of the time, but of defective education, and coming to this country with the repugnance of a prior and rudely-sundered attachment. She landed at Greenwich on Sunday, the 5th of April, 1795, and the marriage ceremony was performed at St. James's, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the 8th. The Princess had not been ignorant of the dissolute character of her appointed husband, and his mode of receiving her was not calculated to inspire any brilliant hopes of his improvement. He had sent his mistress, the Lady Jersey, to meet her on landing, and he made no disguise of his connection with her before or after the marriage. The Memoirs of the time assert that Lady Jersey omitted no arts to render the Princess ridiculous and even disgusting to the Prince; but what chagrined him far more deeply was the breach of the promises held out to him of the discharge of his debts by a parliamentary grant or grants.详情
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