类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-28 05:54:16


Notwithstanding these apprehensions, the reception actually given to Lord Anglesey was not at all so disgraceful to the country as he was led to anticipate. Mr. O'Connell kept out of the way; but a numerous assemblage of the most respectable citizens greeted his arrival at Kingstown, and escorted him to Dublin Castle, Lord Cloncurry and Lord Howth riding at the head of the procession. The populace confined the expression of their feeling to a few groans for "Dirty Doherty," whose promotion to the chief seat of the Court of Common Pleas was the alleged offence of Lord Anglesey. He was scarcely a week in Ireland, however, when O'Connell opened the Repeal campaign. A meeting of the trades of Dublin had been arranged for the 27th of December, to march in procession from Phibsborough to his residence in Merrion Square, to present him with an address of thanks for his advocacy of a domestic legislature. Sworn informations having been laid before the Lord-Lieutenant to the effect that serious disturbances were apprehended from this procession, he issued a proclamation on Christmas Day, forbidding it under the Act for the suppression of dangerous associations or assemblies. Mr. O'Connell therefore issued a notice, counter-manding the meeting. On the 4th of January Mr. O'Connell sent a deputation to Lord Cloncurry, to ask him to preside over a Repeal meeting, which he declined. "Those who knew Mr. O'Connell," writes his lordship, "who recollect what a creature of impulse he was, how impatiently he bore with any difference from his opinions, and what a storm was the first burst of his wrath, will not wonder at what followed. Three very long letters were immediately issued, especially devoted to the business of vituperating me, but with ample digressions maledictory of Lord Anglesey." In a few days, he adds, the fever was brought to a crisis by the arrest of Mr. O'Connell and his agitation staff, "after a brisk pursuit through a labyrinth of ingenious devices, whereby he sought to evade the law, in the course of which it was found necessary to discharge five or six proclamations against him. To-day, Mr. O'Connell's audience and claqueurs were termed 'The Society of the Friends of Ireland of all Religious Persuasions.' To-morrow they were 'The General Association of Ireland for the Prevention of Unlawful Meetings,' and for the protection and exercise of the sacred right of petitioning for the redress of grievances. Then, again, they were a nameless body of persons, in the habit of meeting weekly at a place called Home's Hotel; and as the hunt continued, they successively escaped from each daily proclamation under the changing appellations of 'The Irish Society for Legal and Legislative Relief'; or 'The Anti-union Association'; 'The Association of Irish Volunteers for the Repeal of the union'; 'The Subscribers to the Parliamentary Intelligence Office, Stephen Street'; until they were fairly run down at a breakfast party at Hayes Hotel."Since the year 1833 the sum of £20,000 was all that had been granted by Parliament for popular education. Up to this time the National Society and the British and Foreign School Society had, without distinction of party, enjoyed an equitable proportion of the benefit of this grant. The Government were now about to propose an increase, but they determined at the same time to change the mode of its distribution, and their plan gave rise to a great deal of discussion on the subject during the Session. The intentions of the Government were first made known by Lord John Russell on the 12th of February when he presented certain papers, and gave an outline of his views. He proposed that the President of the Council and other Privy Councillors, not exceeding five, should form a Board, to consider in what manner the grants made by Parliament should be distributed, and he thought that the first object of such a Board should be the establishment of a good normal school for the education of teachers. Lord John said that he brought forward the plan not as a faultless scheme of education, but as that which, on consideration, he thought to be the most practical in the present state of the country. The new committee on the 3rd of June passed several resolutions, one of which was that in their opinion the most useful applications of any sums voted by Parliament would consist in the employment of those moneys in the establishment of a normal school, under the direction of the State, and not under the management of a voluntary society. They admitted, however, that they experienced so much difficulty in reconciling the conflicting views respecting the provisions they were desirous of making—in order that the children and teachers instructed in the school should be duly trained in the principles of the Christian religion, while the rights of conscience should be respected—that it was not in their power to mature a plan for the accomplishment of their design without further consideration. Meanwhile the committee recommended that no grant should thenceforth be made for the establishment or support of normal schools, or any other schools, unless the right of inspection were retained, in order to secure a conformity to the regulations and discipline established in the several schools, with such improvements as might from time to time be suggested by the committee. The day after the committee had adopted these resolutions Lord Ashley moved a call of the House for the 14th of June, when Lord John Russell, in seconding the motion, stated that Government did not intend to insist upon their proposal to found a normal school. This was a weak concession to the Church party, but it did not prevent Lord Stanley, the author of a similar measure for Ireland, from attacking the Bill with the full violence of his eloquence. The vote was to be increased to £30,000. The House, after a debate of three nights, divided, when the grant was voted by a majority of only two. On the 5th of July the subject of education was introduced to the notice of the Lords by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who defended the Church, and objected to the giving of Government grants in a manner calculated to promote religious dissent. He[464] was answered by the Marquis of Lansdowne. The Bishop of Exeter, the Bishop of London, and several other prelates addressed the House, and gave their views on this great question. The Archbishop of Canterbury had brought forward a series of resolutions embodying the Church views of the subject. These Lord Brougham vigorously opposed. The House divided on the previous question, when the first resolution, the only one put to the vote, was carried by a majority of 111. This resolution condemned the Order in Council, and in consequence of it the Lords went in a body to the Queen to offer their remonstrance against the proposed change in the mode of distributing the grant. The remaining resolutions were voted without a division. Nevertheless the Ministry succeeded in carrying a modified scheme, by which it was provided that the inspectors to be appointed by the Committee of the Privy Council should be chosen with the approval of the Bishops, and should present their reports to the bishop of their diocese as well as to the Committee of the Privy Council. Thus the Church practically monopolised the grant.Much inconvenience and misery were caused during the year by the trades unions and their strikes. In several places the workmen combined in order to enforce a rise of wages, and a more equitable distribution of the profits derived from their labour. The striking commenced on the 8th of March, when the men employed by the London gas companies demanded that their wages should be increased from twenty-eight shillings to thirty-five shillings a week, with two pots of porter daily for each man. On the refusal of this demand they all stopped working; but before much inconvenience could be experienced their places were supplied by workmen from the country. On the 17th of March an event occurred which caused general and violent excitement among the working classes. At the Dorchester Assizes six agricultural labourers were tried and convicted for being members of an illegal society, and administering illegal oaths, the persons initiated being admitted blindfold into a room where there was the picture of a skeleton and a skull. They were sentenced to transportation for seven years. Their case excited the greatest sympathy among the working population throughout the kingdom. In London, Birmingham, and several other large manufacturing towns immense meetings were held to petition the king in favour of the convicts. In the midst of this excitement the manufacturers of Leeds declared their determination not to employ any persons in their factories who were members of trades unions. The consequence was that in that town three thousand workmen struck in one day. On the 15th of April there was a riot at Oldham, where, in consequence of the[369] arrest of two members of a trade union, a factory was nearly destroyed, and one person killed, the mob having been dispersed by a troop of lancers. Several of the rioters were arrested and sentenced to terms of imprisonment varying from six to eighteen months. On the 21st of April a meeting of the trades unions took place at Copenhagen Fields, to adopt a petition to the Home Secretary praying for a remission of the sentence on the Dorchester convicts. They marched to the Home Office through the leading thoroughfares, numbering about 25,000, in order to back up their deputation, which, however, Lord Melbourne refused to receive, though he intimated to them that their petition should be laid before the king if presented in a proper manner. The multitude then went in procession to Kennington Common. On the 28th 13,000 London journeymen tailors struck for higher wages. The masters, instead of yielding, resolved not to employ any persons connected with trades unions, and after a few weeks the men submitted and returned to their work.

The world looked on in astonishment—diplomatists in dread of more secret and momentous compacts, and that not without cause. In the heat of this hastily-formed alliance, it was proposed to marry the young Archduchess, the heiress of the Austrian States, to one of the Infants of Spain—a contract, if carried out, which would probably have overthrown all that had been done at such cost of life and wealth for the establishment of the balance of power. This dangerous project was frustrated by other events, but serious engagements were entered into for compelling England to surrender Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain, and for placing the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain.


Well had it been for Murat could he have made up his mind to seek the same asylum; for it appears clear that it would have been granted him, for he was no longer dangerous. But he clung convulsively to the fortunes of Napoleon, and making his way in a small coasting vessel, he followed him to France, and reached the port of Fréjus on the 28th or 29th of May, where Buonaparte had landed on his return from Elba. From this place Murat wrote to Buonaparte[116] through Fouché, offering his services to him; but Buonaparte, who would have been duly sensible of the services of Murat had he succeeded in holding Italy against the Austrians, and thus acting as an important divider of the efforts of the Austrians, was equally sensible of the little value of Murat as a mere individual, defeated, and having lost Italy. He refused to give him a word of reply. Murat accordingly lay in concealment with his followers, vainly hoping for a word of encouragement, till the news of the utter defeat of Buonaparte at Waterloo came upon him like the shock of an earthquake. The south of France was no longer a place for any who had been prominent amongst the retainers of Buonaparte; some of Murat's followers made haste to escape from the search and the vengeance of the Royalists. As for Murat himself, he wrote again to Fouché, imploring his good offices with the Allies to obtain him a passport for England. Receiving no response to this, Murat condescended to write a most imploring letter to Louis XVIII., but he had no time to wait for the slow progress of diplomatic life—he fled and, after many adventures, reached Corsica. There he was allowed to remain, and a few weeks would have brought him the assurance of entire freedom from enmity on the part of the Allies. But, unfortunately, by this time the shock of the utter overthrow and captivity of Buonaparte following on his own misfortunes, had overturned his intellect. He conceived the insane idea of recovering Naples by the same means that Buonaparte had for a while recovered Paris. A large number of Neapolitan and Corsican refugees encouraged him in the mad project.These certainly were large concessions, but it was to be remembered that we had not received them for nothing; they had cost vast sums, and the national debt had been doubled by this war, and now amounted to one hundred and twenty-two million six hundred thousand pounds. These territories had, in fact, cost us upwards of sixty million pounds; and it is certain that Pitt would have exacted a more complete renunciation from France of the conquered countries. There was a clause inserted which Pitt would never have permitted—namely, that any conquests that should be made after the signing of these articles, should be restored by all parties. Now, Bute and the Ministry knew that we had expeditions out against Cuba and the Philippines, and that the only conquests likely to be made were in those quarters. To throw away without equivalent the blood and money expended in these important enterprises was a most unpatriotic act. Still, there was opportunity for more rational terms, for Grimaldi, the Spanish ambassador at Paris, held back from signing, in hope that we should be defeated at Havana, and that then he could raise his terms. When the news of the loss of both Havana and Manila arrived, Grimaldi was in great haste to sign, and Mr. Grenville and Lord Egremont very properly insisted that we should demand an equivalent for the conquest in Cuba. Pitt would have stood firm for the retention of that conquest as by far the most important, and as justly secured to us by the refusal of the Spanish ambassador to sign at the proper time. But Bute would have signed without any equivalent at all. Fortunately, there was too strong an opposition to this in the Cabinet, and the Duke of Bedford was instructed to demand Florida or Porto Rico in lieu of Havana. Florida was yielded—a fatal, though at the moment it appeared a valuable concession, for it only added to the compactness of the American colonies, hastening the day of independence, whilst Cuba would have remained under the protection of the fleet, one of the most valuable possessions of the British empire.


But though we punished the Dutch for their French predilections, the tide of French success was rolling on in various quarters, and presenting a prospect of a single-handed conflict with France. The powers on whose behalf we had armed were fast, one after another, making terms with the Republicans. Holland was in their hands, and the King of Prussia, on the 5th of April, concluded a peace with them at Basle, in which he agreed to surrender to France all his possessions on the left bank of the Rhine, on condition of retaining those on the right. There was a mutual exchange of prisoners, including the troops of such other German States as had served with Prussia. Spain hastened to follow the example of Prussia. A peace was concluded at the same place—Basle—on the 22nd of July, by which she gave up all the Spanish part of San Domingo. To purchase the French evacuation, the Ministers of Spain itself recognised the Batavian Republic—which was become, in reality, a province of France—and promised to intercede with Portugal, Naples, Parma, and Sardinia. The Grand Duke of Tuscany followed with a proclamation of a treaty of neutrality with France, on the 1st of March. Sweden and the Protestant Cantons recognised the French Republic and the Batavian one, its ally; and the Duke of Hesse-Cassel, and even George III., as Elector of Hanover, were compelled to an agreement to furnish no more troops to the Emperor of Germany. Whilst the Allies were thus falling away in rapid succession before the forces of[444] Republican France, Britain, instead of taking warning, and resolving to mind only her own business, went madly into fresh treaties with Continental Powers. Russia and Austria were received into fresh treaties of mutual defence. Russia we were to assist with ships, and Austria with twenty thousand foot and six thousand horse, or to pay each month ten thousand florins for every thousand infantry, and thirty thousand florins for every thousand of cavalry. To complete the circle of treaties, Sir Gilbert Elliot, British Governor of Corsica, entered into a treaty with the Dey of Algiers, by which, on payment of a hundred and seventy-nine thousand piastres, he was to restore all the Corsicans captured and enslaved by him, and was to enjoy the strange privilege of carrying all his piratical prizes into the ports of Corsica, and to sell them there—which was, in fact, licensing this chief of sea-robbers to plunder all the other Italian States.[See larger version]

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So prejudiced were the Allied Sovereigns against England, that they were ready to believe any tale to her disadvantage. One story which was circulated amongst them at the time was that Great Britain had bound herself to support Spain against France in return for certain stipulated commercial advantages. Another was that she had entered into a secret treaty to defend Portugal against France, even though Portugal should join Spain in the war. After all the Duke's arguments, explanations, and remonstrances, the French plenipotentiary was about to set off for Paris, representing all the Powers as being perfectly unanimous on the policy adopted towards Spain, and the Duke was obliged to threaten him with a public contradiction if he did not alter that statement and except Great Britain.But in October the patriots of Breda surprised the forts of Lillo and Liefkenshoek, on the Scheldt. Dalton dispatched General Schr?der with a strong force, who retook the forts; but on Schr?der's venturing to enter Turnhout after the insurgents, a body of three thousand of them, under Van der Mersch, armed with pitchforks, bludgeons, and staves, attacked and drove him out. General Bender, who had been dispatched against the insurgents at Tirlemont, was driven out in the same manner. General Arberg was compelled to retreat behind the Scheldt, and the people were victorious in Louvain, Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, and most towns of the district. Both Joseph and his Governor and Commander in the Netherlands now fell into the utmost alarm. The news which Marie Antoinette sent from Paris to her Imperial brother only rendered this consternation the greater. Joseph, with that sudden revulsion which he had manifested on other occasions, after equally astonishing rashness, now issued a conciliatory proclamation, offering to redress all grievances on the condition of the Netherlanders laying down their arms. But they were not likely, after former experience, to trust any such promises of Joseph. On the 20th of November the States of Flanders assumed the title of the High and Mighty States; they declared the Emperor to have forfeited the Crown by tyranny and injustice; they proclaimed their entire independence, and ordered a levy of twenty thousand men.

Grenville rose and defended the Stamp Act. He denied that the right of taxation depended on representation. He complained justly, that when he proposed to tax America, there was little opposition in that House. He contended that protection and obedience were reciprocal, and he exposed the fallacy of Pitt's distinction between taxes and duties. There was much justice in these remarks. The words of Grenville, so pointedly directed against him, immediately called up Pitt again. He had spoken; it was contrary to all rule, but the lion of Parliament broke recklessly through the meshes of its regulations, and when he was called to order the members supported him by cries of "Go on! go on!" He went on, severely castigating Grenville for complaining of the liberty of speech in that House; and dropping in his indignation the terms of courtesy towards the late Minister of "honourable" or "right honourable," said simply—"Sir, the gentleman tells us that America is obstinate—America is almost in open rebellion. Sir, I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instruments to make slaves of all the rest." He then exposed the cases quoted by Grenville to show that taxation in this country had been imposed without representation, showing that these very instances led to immediate representation. "I would have cited them," he continued, "to show that even under arbitrary reigns Parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people without their consent. The gentleman asks when the Americans were emancipated? But I desire to know when they were made slaves?" He then touched on the true sources of benefit from our colonies, the profits of their trade. He estimated the profits derived from the American commerce at two millions sterling, adding triumphantly, "This is the fund that carried us victoriously through the late war. This is the price America pays us for protection." He then alluded to the comparative strength of the two countries. "I know the valour," he said, "of your troops. I know the skill of your officers. In a good cause, on a sound bottom, the force of this country can crush America to atoms. But in such a cause as this your success would be hazardous. America, if she fell, would fall like the strong man. She would embrace the pillars of the state, and pull down the constitution along with her."



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