After a rough passage the squadron arrived, at three in the morning, in Carrickfergus Road, about seven miles from Belfast. The water in the Channel was not deep enough for the Victoria and Albert, and the royal party went on board the Fairy tender, in which they rapidly glided up the lough, and anchored at the quay, where they landed in order to see the town. Loyal mottoes told, in every form of expression, the welcome of the inhabitants of the capital of Ulster. An arch of grand architectural proportions, richly decorated with floral ornaments and waving banners, spanned the High Street. Her Majesty visited the Queen's College and the Linen Hall. Although a flourishing city, Belfast had not then much to boast of architecturally, and therefore there was not much to be seen. The numerous mills about the town would remind the Queen more of Lancashire than of Ireland, giving her assurance by that same token that Ulster was the most industrious and most prosperous province of the Emerald Isle. If, in Cork, where O'Connell had been obeyed almost as Sovereign of the country, the Queen was hailed with such enthusiastic devotion, how intense must have been the loyal demonstrations in a town out of which the Repeal chief was obliged to fly secretly, to avoid being stoned to death.JOSEPH HUME.The prospects of the European war at this juncture, as observed from England, were gloomy in the extreme. The dispersion of the armies of Spain, the retreat and death of Sir John Moore, leaving the whole of the Spanish and Portuguese Peninsula under the feet of Buonaparte, disposed many to believe the power of the conqueror unassailable. The Whig Opposition made every use of this feeling to damage and, if possible, drive their rivals from office. That the Whigs, in power, would have refrained from Continental war any more than the Tories is not to be believed. They had always, when in office—except, in the case of Fox, for a short interval—been as ready to fight; but they had generally conducted their campaigns with much less ability. Now, their great organ, the Edinburgh Review, indulged in the most vehement censures on the Cabinet; charged all the adverse circumstances of the Spanish and Portuguese war to its bad management; and intimated that it was the most wicked and idiotic folly to hope to contend with Buonaparte at all. But if ever there was a time when the continuance of the war was excusable, and perhaps necessary, it was now. Great Britain had gone fully and freely into the conflict to assist the Continental nations. She had pledged herself solemnly to Spain and Portugal, and to have withdrawn at this crisis would have been equally treacherous to our allies and pusillanimous as regarded the enemy. It would have been, in fact, to proclaim to the world that we had been completely beaten out of the field, that we could not do what we had promised to our allies, and that Napoleon must be left the master of Europe, and the dictator to Britain. Such a confession would have destroyed for ever the prestige of Great Britain, and justly. Ministers felt this, and never were more resolved to persevere to the end. To show that they did not for a moment despair, they signed a treaty of peace and amity with Spain only five days after the arrival of the news of the retreat and death of Sir John Moore, binding themselves never to acknowledge the authority of Buonaparte over Spain, or of any family but of Ferdinand VII. and his lineal successors. That they were supported in their views by Parliament was soon made evident by the rejection, by a majority of two hundred and eight against one hundred and fifty-eight, of a motion of Lord Henry Petty censuring the Convention of Cintra, and, by a majority of two hundred and twenty against one hundred and twenty-seven, of a motion of Mr. Ponsonby for inquiry into the conduct of the late campaign in Spain. Ministers had at length satisfied themselves that they had in Sir Arthur Wellesley a man capable of contending against the haughty tyrant of Europe. The most liberal votes were made for the prosecution of the war. The total of supplies for the year amounted to fifty-three million eight hundred and sixty-two thousand pounds, including a loan of eleven million pounds. For the army twenty-seven million pounds was voted, and for the navy nineteen million pounds. Between twenty and thirty thousand men were drafted from the militia into the regulars, and thus the army was augmented to that amount by soldiers already well trained. The loan was freely taken at a lower interest than any hitherto borrowed—the Opposition asserted, because trade was deranged, and capitalists were at a loss how to invest their money; but the Ministers contended, on the other hand, that it was solely because the war was popular with the nation. Before, however, entering into its arduous and bloody details, we must narrate some disgraceful affairs at home.
During the winter of 1812 and the spring of 1813 Buonaparte was making the most energetic exertions to renew the campaign against Russia and the German nations that were now uniting with the Czar. He called out new conscriptions, and enforced them with the utmost rigour; the militia were drafted extensively into the regular army, and the sailors, whose service had been annihilated by the victorious seamen of Great Britain, were modelled into regiments, and turned into soldiers. He sent for part of his forces from Spain; and in the spring he was enabled to present himself in Germany at the head of three hundred and fifty thousand men. But this was a very different army from that which he had led into and lost in Russia—an army of practised veterans, familiar with victory through a hundred fights. It was necessarily but ill-disciplined, and much more full of the sense of wrong in having been dragged from home and its ties than of any thirst of glory. The cavalry was especially defective, and had lost the commander who gave it such spirit by his own example. Disgusted by the insolence and sarcasms of Buonaparte, and believing that his career was about to end, Murat quitted his command on the 16th of January, 1813, and hastened to Naples, where he was not long in opening negotiations with Great Britain and the other Powers for the acknowledgment of his kingdom as one independent of France, and ranking with the other established Powers of Europe. Nor was this the only alarming circumstance. Bernadotte was at the head of an army of Swedes against him—Bernadotte whom he had driven by the same insolent and unbearable domination into the arms of his enemies, and whom he now denounced as a renegade Frenchman who had renounced his country. The truth, however, was that Bernadotte had been adopted by a new country, and was bound to defend it.
THE GREAT MOGUL ENTERING THE ENGLISH CAMP. (See p. 317.)
Many improvements were made also in the glass manufacture during this reign, and more would undoubtedly have been made but for the very heavy duties upon it to help to support the ruinous wars of the period. In 1760, the first year of the reign, crown glass is said to have been introduced. In 1763 the first glass plates for looking-glasses and coach-windows were made at Lambeth. In 1779 flint-glass was first made; and about that time plate-glass. The duties on different kinds of glass at that date were about one hundred and forty thousand pounds per annum. So oppressive were those duties that, in 1785, the St. Helens Plate-glass Company petitioned Parliament, stating that, in consequence of the weight of taxation, notwithstanding an expenditure of one hundred thousand pounds, they had not been able to declare a dividend.
On the 31st of March Dundas introduced the Indian Budget, and soon afterwards Pitt congratulated the country on the fact that, so far from the American war having injured the trade or the power of Britain, the fact was that our shipping had increased considerably more than one-third since 1773, and we had been continually gaining strength even during the American war, and had relieved ourselves of a load of expense always incurred by the government of the States. This was an admirable argument for declaring all our colonies independent, if it meant anything; but Pitt went on seconding, and even surpassing Dundas in the prognostications of a long peace. What such ministerial speeches were worth was shown on the 5th of May, only a month and five days since the prophecy of Dundas, and not three weeks since his own prophecy, by Pitt announcing that the peace was already disturbed with Spain. It appeared that the high prices obtained by the crews of Captain Cook's ships, the Discovery and Resolution, at Canton, on his exploring voyages in the South Seas, for the ill-selected, half-worn furs brought from the north-west coast of America, had attracted the attention of adventurers under the direct protection of the East India Company. Mr. Mears, who had been a lieutenant in the royal navy, and a Mr. Tippin, were sent out in command each of a vessel. Tippin was wrecked on the coast of Kamtschatka; but Mears reached Prince William's Sound and wintered there, opening a good trade with the natives. In the spring of 1788 he discovered Nootka Sound, a fine bay on the west side of a small island on the west coast of Vancouver's Island. There he formed a settlement, making a bargain with the chief for it. He went to Canton with furs and was opening a fine trade, when the Spaniards came down on the settlement, seized four British vessels, but permitted two United States' vessels to remain unmolested. Part of the English crew were shipped in one of the American vessels to China, and the rest suffered to depart in one of their own ships after it had been plundered. The Spanish commander then settled himself in the new colony, and Spain set up a general claim to all coasts and islands, and the whole Pacific as far as China.
Mother has sold her bed;LORD BUTE AND THE LONDONERS. (See p. 175.)
[See larger version]Connaught 1,418,859 1,465,643 745,652 526,048The 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.
[See larger version]THE GORDON RIOTS.
Whilst Washington man?uvred to prevent Howe from crossing the Schuylkill above him, the English General crossed below on the 22nd of September, and thus placed himself between Philadelphia and the American army. It was now necessary for Washington to fight, or give up that city; but the condition of his troops, deficient in clothes and shoes, owing to the poverty of the commissariat department, with wretched arms, and fatigued by their recent exertions, forbade all hope of maintaining even the defensive. He therefore fell back, and Cornwallis, on the 27th, advancing from Germantown, entered Philadelphia amid the welcome of the loyal inhabitants. Cornwallis occupied the city with four regiments, but the body of the British army encamped at Germantown, ten miles distant. But, though the Americans had evacuated the city, they still held the command of the Delaware below it, and thus cut off the supplies of the British army by sea, and all communication between the army and the fleet, except by the circuitous course of Chester, liable to capture by the enemy.Still, Fox took the opportunity to sound the French Government as to the possibility of peace. In a correspondence with Talleyrand he said that Britain would be willing to treat on reasonable terms, the first condition of which was that the Emperor Alexander should be admitted to the treaty. This was at once refused; yet Fox did not give up the attempt, and at length the French Government proposed that a British ambassador should go to Paris, to endeavour to arrange the principles of an agreement. Fox complied. Before a British plenipotentiary was permitted to proceed to Paris, the great points of the negotiation should have been brought forward, and it should have been seen whether there was a probability of agreeing. It should have been understood whether Buonaparte was disposed to surrender Naples again, which Britain demanded; to require the retirement of the Prussians from Hanover, even if nothing was said of Holland and Switzerland. To send a plenipotentiary without having ascertained these points was simply to enable Buonaparte to boast that he had sought to conciliate, and that British rapacity and ambition rendered all his overtures useless. This was exactly what occurred. Lord Yarmouth, late Marquis of Hertford, who had been residing for years in France as one of Buonaparte's détenus at the Peace of Amiens, was first sent. Lord Yarmouth arrived in Paris towards the end of May, and though it had been settled that the negotiations should, for the present, remain secret, the French had taken care to make every Court in Europe well acquainted with the fact. Then one of the very first demands—having got the ambassador there—was for the recognition, not only of Buonaparte as emperor, but also of all his family as princes and princesses of the blood. Next they came to the surrender of Naples, but Talleyrand assured Lord Yarmouth that the Emperor, so far from giving up Naples, or any part of Italy, must have Sicily, which was in possession of the British, because Joseph Buonaparte, now made King of Naples, declared that it could not be held without Sicily. France, Talleyrand said, would consent to Britain holding Malta, the Cape of Good Hope, which we had taken again, and would not only restore Hanover to us, but also allow us to seize on the Hanse Towns and Hamburg! We were in fact, to be permitted to set up for marauders, like themselves, and invade neutral States, and appropriate them; but, as for Naples or Sicily being restored, that was impossible. Lord Yarmouth also demanded that Dalmatia, Istria, and Albania should be restored, the last to the Turks, whose empire should regain its entirety. These points were equally resisted. Meanwhile, Prussia had taken the alarm about Hanover, and Russia, fearful of our treating without her, sent to Paris Count d'Oubril. Talleyrand managed to excite jealousies between the British and Russian envoys, to such a degree, that d'Oubril quitted Paris hastily, and returned to St. Petersburg. Instead of peace, the elements of new heartburnings and wars every day developed themselves. Finding that Lord Yarmouth did not succeed. Fox sent over the Earl of Lauderdale, but he got on no better. Buonaparte insisted that Sicily should be given up to Naples, and a little mock monarchy should be created for Ferdinand, the ex-king, in the Balearic Isles, which were to be taken unceremoniously from Spain. Lord Lauderdale, after a month's waste of words, demanded his passports, and returned; and Fox had now had ample proof that no peace was to be effected with Napoleon, except upon the terms of leaving the Continent to his dictation.
Lord Anglesey had expressed himself so strongly in his communications with the Government, that he was afraid of being regarded by them as a partisan. He deprecated giving the executive any additional powers, though not without apprehensions of a rebellion, which he believed he had sufficient force to quell, even in the improbable event of foreign aid, upon which some of the Irish people might, however rashly, rely for success. On the 20th of July he wrote: "It appears not improbable there may be an attempt to introduce arms, and finally insurrection. I am quite sure the disaffected are amply organised for the undertaking. They are partially, but ill, armed. Pikes, however, to any amount, and at very short notice, would be easily manufactured, if they are not already made and secreted. Still, I cannot bring myself to believe that the ruling characters are at all inclined to put their cause to the test of arms; and if they do, I cannot imagine how, without foreign aid—of which there appears no fear—they can calculate upon success." The priests had become all silent and reserved, even towards those with whom they had hitherto maintained confidential intercourse. No money would tempt them to make a single disclosure, and there was a general impression among them that some great event was at hand. The law officers of the Crown had been consulted as to the expediency of prosecuting some of the agitators for the most violent of their speeches; but their advice was, that it could not be done with any prospect of success, because their most exciting stimulants were accompanied by declarations that they wished only to guard the Government against insurrection, which only concession could prevent. Such being the condition of Ireland, the position of the Government was in the highest degree perplexing. The House of Commons was for Emancipation; the Lords were opposed to it; the king was opposed to it. The strength of political parties was nicely balanced in Parliament, and strong political excitement prevailed on both sides of the Irish Sea. Peel, in view of this state of affairs, says: "I maturely and anxiously considered every point which required consideration, and I formed a decision as to the obligation of public duty, of which I may say with truth that it was wholly at variance with that which the regard for my own personal interests or private feelings would have dictated." His intention was to relinquish office; but he resolved not to do so without placing on record his opinion that a complete change of policy was necessary, that the Catholic question should no longer be an open question, and that the whole condition of Ireland, political and social, should be taken into consideration by the Cabinet, precisely in the same manner in which every other question of grave importance was considered, and with the same power to offer advice upon it to the Sovereign. He also gave it as his decided opinion that there was less evil and less danger in conceding the Catholic claims than in persevering in the policy of resistance. He left London for Brighton soon after the close of the Session, having made a previous arrangement with the Duke of Wellington that he should send him a memorandum explanatory of his views on the state of Ireland and on the Catholic question, and that he should write to the Duke fully in reply. On the 9th of August the Duke wrote to him as follows:—"I now send you the memorandum which I sent to the king on the state of Ireland, a letter which I sent to him at the same time, his answer, a memorandum upon the Roman Catholic question which I have since drawn up, and a letter which I wrote yesterday to the Lord Chancellor."详情
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