Warren Hastings had saved Madras and the Carnatic, but only at the cost of extortion. To obtain the necessary money, he began a system of robbery and coercion on the different princes of Bengal and Oude. The first experiment was made on Cheyte Sing, the Rajah of Benares, who had been allowed to remain as a tributary prince when that province was made over to the British by the Nabob of Oude. The tribute had been paid with a regularity unexampled in the history of India; but when the war broke out with France, Hastings suddenly demanded an extraordinary addition of fifty thousand pounds a year, and as it was not immediately paid, the Rajah was heavily fined into the bargain. This was rendered still more stringent in 1780, when the difficulties in Madras began. Cheyte Sing sent a confidential agent to Calcutta, to assure Hastings that it was not in his power to pay so heavy a sum, and he sent him two lacs of rupees (twenty thousand pounds), as a private present to conciliate him. Hastings accepted the money, but no doubt feeling the absolute need of large sums for the public purse, he, after awhile, paid this into the treasury, and then said to Cheyte Sing that he must pay the contribution all the same. He compelled the Rajah to pay the annual sum of fifty thousand pounds, and ten thousand pounds more as a fine, and then demanded two thousand cavalry. After some bargaining and protesting, Cheyte Sing sent five hundred horsemen and five hundred foot. Hastings made no acknowledgment of these, but began to muster troops, threatening to take vengeance on the Rajah. In terror, Cheyte Sing then sent, in one round sum, twenty lacs of rupees (two hundred thousand pounds) for the service of the State; but the only answer he obtained for the munificent offering was, that he must send thirty lacs more, that is, altogether, half a million.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."
Through all these arrangements Lord North continued to persist in his resignation. If the king had had any glimmering of what was necessary to save the colonies, he would himself have removed North long ago. But the only man who could take the place with any probability of success, or with any of the confidence of the public, was Lord Chatham, whom the king regarded with increasing aversion. Chatham's pride, which would not stoop an inch to mere outside royalty, feeling the higher royalty of his own mind, so far from seeking office, must himself be sought, and this deeply offended the monarch. Lord North could point to no other efficient successor, and George angrily replied that, as regarded "Lord Chatham and his crew," he would not condescend to send for "that perfidious man" as Prime Minister; he would only do it to offer him and his friends places in the Ministry of Lord North.
The Irish delegates described the condition of Ireland as most deplorable. They said that the Government interest, through the landed aristocracy, was omnipotent; that the manufacturers were unemployed; that an infamous coalition had taken place between the Irish Opposition and Ministry; that the Catholics had been bought up so that all parties might combine to crush Reform; that the United Irishmen were everywhere persecuted, and that one of them had only just escaped from a six months' imprisonment."To issue forthwith an Order in Council remitting the duty on grain in bond to one shilling, and opening the ports for the admission of all species of grain at a smaller rate of duty until a day named in the order.
These vexatious proceedings, including a great number of debates and divisions, led to the passing of an Act for more clearly defining the privileges of the House of Commons, which had made itself unpopular by its course of proceeding towards the sheriffs, who had only discharged duties which they could not have evaded without exposing themselves to the process of attachment. On the 5th of March, accordingly, Lord John Russell moved for leave to bring in a Bill relative to the publication of Parliamentary papers. He said, in the course of his speech, that at all periods of our history, whatever might have been the subject—whether it regarded the privileges of Parliament or the rights of the Crown or any of the constituted authorities—whenever any great public difficulty had arisen, the Parliament in its collective sense, meaning the Crown, Lords, and Commons, had been called in to solve those difficulties. With regard to the measure he was about to propose, he would take care to state in the preamble of the Bill that the privilege of the House was known only by interpretation of the House itself. He proposed that publications authorised by either House of Parliament should be protected, and should not be liable to prosecution in any court of common law. Leave was given to introduce the Bill by a majority of 149, in spite of the opposition of the Solicitor-General, Sir Thomas Wilde; the House went into committee on the Bill on the 13th of March, and it passed the third reading on the 20th of the same month. It was read a second time in the Lords on the 6th of April; and the Royal Assent was given to it by commission on the 14th of the same month.CHAPTER XI. THE REIGN OF WILLIAM IV. (concluded).
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This was not the only bitter pill that poor Lord Eldon was compelled to swallow. Without one word of intimation from the king or the Prime Minister, he learnt for the first time from the Courier that Mr. Huskisson had been introduced into the Cabinet. Mr. Huskisson was made President of the Board of Trade, and in his stead Mr. Arbuthnot became First Commissioner of the Land Revenues. Mr. Vansittart, who had proved a very inefficient Chancellor of the Exchequer, was raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Bexley, and got the quiet office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was succeeded in the more important office by a much abler financier, Mr. Robinson.Peaceful Accession of George I.—His Arrival—Triumph of the Whigs—Dissolution and General Election—The Address—Determination to Impeach the late Ministers—Flight of Bolingbroke and Ormonde—Impeachment of Oxford—The Riot Act—The Rebellion of 1715—Policy of the Regent Orleans—Surrender of the Pretender's Ships—The Adventures of Ormonde and Mar—The Highlands declare for the Pretender—Mar and Argyll—Advance of Mackintosh's Detachment—Its Surrender at Preston—Battle of Sheriffmuir—Arrival of the Pretender—Mutual Disappointment—Advance of Argyll—Flight of the Pretender to France—Punishment of the Rebels—Impeachment of the Rebel Lords—The Septennial Act—The King goes to Hanover—Impossibility of Reconstructing the Grand Alliance—Negotiations with France—Danger of Hanover from Charles XII.—And from Russia—Alarm from Townshend—Termination of the Dispute—Fresh Differences between Stanhope and Townshend—Dismissal of the Latter—The Triple Alliance—Project for the Invasion of Scotland—Detection of the Plot—Dismissal of Townshend and Walpole—They go into Opposition—Walpole's Financial Scheme—Attack on Cadogan—Trial of Oxford—Cardinal Alberoni—Outbreak of Hostilities between Austria and Spain—Occupation of Sardinia—Alberoni's Diplomacy—The Quadruple Alliance—Byng in the Mediterranean—Alberoni deserted by Savoy—Death of Charles XII.—Declaration of War with Spain—Repeal of the Schism Act—Rejection of the Peerage Bill—Attempted Invasion of Britain—Dismissal of Alberoni—Spain makes Peace—Pacification of Northern Europe—Final Rejection of the Peerage Bill—The South Sea Company—The South Sea Bill—Opposition of Walpole—Rise of South Sea Stock—Rival Companies—Death of Stanhope—Punishment of Ministry and Directors—Supremacy of Walpole—Atterbury's Plot—His Banishment and the Return of Bolingbroke—Rejection of Bolingbroke's Services—A Palace Intrigue—Fall of Carteret—Wood's Halfpence—Disturbances in Scotland—Punishment of the Lord Chancellor Macclesfield—The Patriot Party—Complications Abroad—Treaty of Vienna—Treaty of Hanover—Activity of the Jacobites—Falls of Ripperda and of Bourbon—English Preparations—Folly of the Emperor—Attack on Gibraltar—Preliminaries of Peace—Intrigues against Walpole—Death of George I.
In concluding the remarkable events of this year, we must turn to India, and witness the termination of the career of Tippoo Sahib. This prince, for ever restless under the losses which he had suffered from the British, though nominally at peace with them, was seeking alliances to help him once more to contend with them. He sought to engage the Afghans in his favour, and to bring over the British ally, the Nizam of the Deccan. Failing in this, he made overtures to the French Republic through the Governor of the Isle of France. Buonaparte, as we have said, had Tippoo in his mind when he proposed to march to India and conquer it, but only a few hundreds of French of the lowest caste reached Seringapatam from the Isle of France. Lord Mornington, afterwards the Marquis of Wellesley, determined to anticipate the plans of Tippoo, and dispatched General Harris with twenty-four thousand men into Mysore, at the same time ordering another force of seven thousand, under General Stuart, from Bombay, to co-operate with him. To these also was added a strong reinforcement of British troops in the pay of the Nizam, and some regiments of sepoys, commanded by English officers. The united forces of Harris and the Nizam came into conflict with Tippoo's army on the 22nd of March, 1799, when within two days' march of Seringapatam. In this action, Colonel Wellesley, afterwards the Duke of Wellington, greatly distinguished himself, and the success of the action was ascribed to his regiment, the 34th. On the 5th of April General Harris invested Seringapatam, and on the 14th General Stuart arrived with the Bombay army. Tippoo soon made very humble overtures for peace, but the British, having no faith in him, continued the siege, and the city was carried by storm on the 4th of May, and Tippoo himself was found amongst the slain. Two of his sons fell into the hands of the victors; his territories were divided between the British and the Nizam. The former retained Seringapatam and the island on which it is situated, and the whole of his territory on the Malabar coast, with Coimbra, and all the rest of his possessions stretching to the Company's territories west and east, thus completing their dominion from sea to sea. The Nizam received equally valuable regions in the interior, and a province was bestowed on the descendant of the Hindoo rajah who had been dispossessed of it by Hyder Ali, Tippoo's father. Thus was the British empire of India freed from its most formidable enemy, and thus was it enabled, soon afterwards, to send an armament up the Red Sea to assist in driving the French from Egypt.
Amherst had now ten thousand men; and though he had to carry all his baggage and artillery over the Ontario in open boats, and to pass the rapids of the upper St. Lawrence, he made a most able and prosperous march, reducing the fort of ?le Royale on the way, and reached the isle of Montreal on the very same day as Murray, and a day before Haviland. Vaudreuil saw that resistance was hopeless, and capitulated on the 8th of September. The French were, according to contract, sent home, under engagement not to come against us during the remainder of the war. Besides this, Lord Byron chased a squadron of three frigates, convoying twenty store-ships to Quebec, into the Bay of Chaleur, and there destroyed them. Thus all the French possessions in North America, excepting the recent and feeble settlement of New Orleans, remained in our hands.The year 1818 commenced gloomily. On the 27th of January Parliament was opened by a Speech, drawn up for the Prince Regent, but read by the Lord Chancellor. The first topic was, of course, the severe loss which the country and the prince had sustained in the death of the Princess Charlotte. It was only too well known that the prince and his daughter had not for some time been on very cordial terms, the princess having taken the part of her mother; and the vicious and voluptuous life of the Regent did not probably leave much depth of paternal affection in his nature, which had originally been generous and capable of better things. It was remarked by Mr. Ward, afterwards Lord Dudley and Ward, that the mention of the princess "was rather dry—sulky, rather than sad." But the death of his only issue, and that at the moment that she might have been expected to give a continued succession to the Throne, was a severe blow to him. There was an end of all succession in his line. He stood now without the hopeful support which his daughter's affectionate regard in the country had afforded him, and he was ill able to bear the loss of any causes of popularity. He received a serious shock; and it was only by copious bleeding that he was saved from dangerous consequences; yet, so little was the depth of his trouble, that within three months of his loss he attended a dinner given by the Prussian ambassador, and entertained the company with a song.
It was no wonder that Spain, feeling the serious effects of this state of things, should resist it; and when she did so, and exerted an unusual degree of vigilance, then the most terrible outcries were raised, and wonderful stories were circulated of Spanish cruelties to our people beyond the Atlantic. At this time the Opposition got hold of one of these, and made the House of Commons and the nation resound with it. It was, that one Captain Robert Jenkins, who had been master of a sloop trading from Jamaica, had been boarded and searched by a Coastguard, and treated in a most barbarous manner, though they could detect no proof of smuggling in his vessel. He said that the Spanish captain had cut off one of his ears, bidding him carry it to his king, and tell his Majesty that if he were present he would treat him in the same manner. This story was now seven years old, but it was not the less warmly received on that account. It excited the utmost horror, and Jenkins was ordered to appear at the bar of the House of Commons on the 16th of March, to give an account of the outrage himself; and it would appear that both he and other witnesses were examined the same day. Jenkins carried his ear about with him wrapped in cotton, to show to those to whom he related the fact, and the indignation was intense. He was asked by a member how he felt when he found himself in the hands of such barbarians, and he replied, "I recommended my soul to God, and my cause to my country." The worthy skipper had probably been crammed with this dramatic sentiment by some of his clever Parliamentary introducers; but its effect was all the same as if it had been a genuine and involuntary expression of his own mind. Researches made at the Admiralty in 1889 proved that he really had lost an ear.On hearing of the defeat of Tarleton, Cornwallis advanced rapidly, in order, if possible, to intercept Morgan and his English prisoners at the fords of Catawba. A rise of the water from the rains prevented his crossing that river so soon as he expected, and Morgan joined Greene, both generals, however, retreating behind the Yadkin. The swollen state of the river and the want of boats also detained Lord Cornwallis at the Yadkin, but he finally succeeded in crossing and throwing himself between Greene and the frontiers of Virginia, from which Greene looked for his supplies and reinforcements. Greene continued to retreat till he had also placed the Dan between himself and Cornwallis; but his militia had deserted so rapidly on his flight, that, on reaching the Dan, he had not more than eighty of that body with him. Greene now had the way open to him for retreat into Virginia, and, Cornwallis giving up the chase, marched leisurely to Hillsborough, in North Carolina, where he invited the Royalists to join his standard. Such was his success—numbers of Royalists flocking in to serve with Tarleton's legion—that Greene, alarmed at the consequences of this movement, turned back for the purpose of cutting off all possible reinforcements of this kind, yet avoiding a general engagement. Once more Cornwallis advanced to chastise Greene, and once more Greene beat a retreat. This man?uvring continued till the 15th of March, when Greene having been joined by fresh troops, thought himself strong enough to encounter the English general. He drew up his army on very strong ground near Guildford Court House, where Cornwallis boldly attacked him, and, after a stout battle, completely routed him.详情
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