With such chimerical fancies, the young Corsican saw the fleet, on a splendid morning, stand out into the Mediterranean, the line-of-battle ships extending for a league, and the semicircle formed by the convoy six leagues in extent. On their way to Malta, the first object of their enterprise, they were joined by a large fleet of transports, bringing the division of General Desaix. On the 10th they were before Valetta, a fortress which, properly defended, would have set the French at defiance for months, before which time the British Admiral would have been upon them, and destroyed the whole scheme of the expedition, and probably its commander and projector with it; but the surrender of the place had been bargained for with the Grand Master, Hompesch, before starting. The once formidable Knights of Malta were now sunk in indolence and sensual sloth, and the French agent had agreed for the surrender for a bribe of six hundred thousand francs to the Grand Master. As General Caffarelli passed through the most formidable defences with Napoleon on their way to the house of the Grand Master, he said to him, "It is well, General, that there was some one within to open the gates for us. We should have had more trouble in entering if the place had been altogether empty."High duties were not the only evils that had been strangling the silk trade. Its chief seat was at Spitalfields, where by the Act of 1811 and other legislation the magistrates had been empowered to fix the rate of wages, and to subject to severe penalties any masters who employed weavers in other districts. The result, said a manufacturers' petition in 1823, is, "that the removal of the entire manufacture from the metropolis is inevitable, if the Acts are to continue any longer in force." However, the journeymen declared that a repeal of the Acts would be followed by the reduction of their wages and the increase of the poor rates. No less than 11,000 petitioned against Huskisson's motion for a repeal, and, though the Bill passed the House of Commons by small majorities, it was so altered by amendments in the Lords that it was abandoned for the Session. But in this remarkable Session of 1824 it was reintroduced and passed through all its stages. As a result the Combination Acts directed against meetings of workmen to affect wages, the Acts which prevented the emigration of artisans, and the laws against the exportation of machinery were brought under discussion by Joseph Hume. The last question was waived for the present, but the laws interfering with the emigration of artisans were repealed without a voice being raised in their favour. As for the Combination Acts, it was ordained that no peaceable meeting of masters or workmen should be prosecuted as a conspiracy, while summary punishments were enacted on those "who by threats, intimidation, or acts of violence interfered with that freedom, which ought to be allowed to each party, of employing his labour or capital in a manner he may deem most advantageous." In consequence, however, of the outrages which occurred during the Glasgow strikes of 1824, during which a workman who disregarded the wishes of his union was shot, and men of one trade were employed to assassinate the masters of another, further legislation was necessary. By the Act of 1825 all associations were made illegal, excepting those for settling such amount of wages as would be a fair remuneration to the workman. Any other combination either of men against masters or of masters against men, or of working men against working men, was made illegal. The law thus framed continued to regulate the relations of capital and labour for nearly half a century.
On the morning of the 26th the conflict was confined chiefly to the Faubourg St. Antoine and the greatest stronghold of the insurgents, the Clos St. Lazare. The barriers were built of paving stones of large size, and blocks of building-stone. All the houses commanding them were occupied by the insurgents. The city wall was perforated for a mile in length with loopholes, and from behind it a deadly fire upon the troops was kept up for two days by invisible enemies, who ran from loophole to loophole with the agility of monkeys. General Lamoricière commanded here, and having ordered cannon and mortars, he made breaches in the barricades, and reduced many of the fortified houses to heaps of ruins. The Faubourg St. Antoine was surrounded by troops on all sides. The insurgents were summoned to surrender, and after some parleying, a flag of truce was sent forward, and they finally submitted, permitting the troops to take quiet possession of the district. General Cavaignac at once announced the result to the President of the Assembly, stating that the revolt was suppressed, that the struggle had completely ceased, and that he was ready to resign his dictatorship the moment the powers confided to him were found to be no longer necessary for the salvation of the public. He resigned accordingly, but he was placed at the head of the Ministry, as President of the Council. During this tremendous conflict between the Red Republicans and the guardians of society more than 300 barricades had been erected, 16,000 persons were killed and wounded, 8,000 prisoners were taken, and the loss to the nation by the insurrection was estimated at 30,000,000 francs.THE DUKE OF BRUNSWICK AND HIS HUSSARS (THE BLACK BRUNSWICKERS). (See p. 590.)
Buonaparte posted himself in his centre, near the farmhouse of La Belle Alliance, having Ney and Soult near him, but Counts Reille and D'Erlon being in immediate command of the centre. His left, which stretched round the chateau of Hougomont, was commanded by his brother Jerome; his right by Count Lobau. Wellington took his post on the ridge near where the great mound of the dead surmounted by the Belgian lion now stands. His troops were divided into two lines; the right of the first line—consisting of British, Hanoverian, and Belgian troops—under Lord Hill. The centre, under the Prince of Orange, consisted of troops of Brunswick and Nassau, flanked on the right by the Guards under General Cooke, and on the left by the division of the Hanoverian general Alten. The left wing consisted of the divisions of Picton, Lambert, and Kemp. The second line consisted of troops in which less confidence was placed, or which had suffered severely at Quatre Bras on the 16th. In and around the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte, in advance of the centre, was placed a body of Germans. The plan of each commander was simple: Wellington's, to keep his ground till Blucher should come up, and then all simultaneously charge forward to drive the French from the field; Napoleon's, by his brisk and ponderous charges to break and disperse the British before the Prussians could arrive.Soult hurried southward, collecting fresh forces to repel the conquering invader, and issued a proclamation, telling the French soldiers that they had at length taught the English to fight, and they must show them that they were still their superiors. Whilst Wellington was superintending the sieges of San Sebastian and Pampeluna, Soult advanced, having gathered an army of nearly seventy thousand men, and, on the 25th of July, he suddenly attacked our outposts simultaneously in the passes of Roncesvalles and of Maya. Both these passes converged into one leading to Pampeluna, where Soult hoped to raise the siege. He himself led on thirty thousand fresh men up the Roncesvalles pass against Generals Cole and Picton, who had about ten thousand to oppose him. He compelled them to retreat to some greater elevations, but with considerable loss, and he hoped there to have them joined by General D'Erlon, who had ascended the Maya pass, with thirteen thousand men, against General Stewart, who had only four or five thousand men to oppose him. The conflict there had been terrible; the British fighting and giving way only step by step against the superior force. The awful struggle went on, five thousand feet above the plains of France, amid clouds and fogs. Stewart did not fall back till he had sixteen hundred of his small force killed and wounded, and the defiles were actually blocked up with the slain.
The 21st of January arrived, and Pulteney entered on his great question. There was nothing new to bring forward, but the old charges were dressed up with new force. Walpole defended himself with an ability worthy of his best days. He boldly reminded the Opposition of the long twenty years of defeats in their endeavours to turn him out; he declared their accusations were just as false and groundless as ever; and he proceeded to anatomise the characters of Bubb Doddington and Pulteney in a manner which must have made men of any feeling wince. He was ably supported by Sir William Yonge, by Pelham, and Winnington, but the division showed a majority for the Minister of only three.During the passage of the Bill through committee three important proposals were made—the first by Lord Chandos, that tenants paying fifty pounds per annum for their holdings should have a vote in the counties. This was known as "the Chandos clause" of the Reform Bill, which was carried on the 18th of August by a majority of 84, the numbers being 232 and 148. Mr. Hume proposed that the colonies should be represented in the House of Commons; but the motion was negatived without a division. Mr. Hunt, the celebrated Radical Reformer, moved that all house-holders paying rates and taxes should have votes; but, strange to say, household suffrage had in the committee but a single supporter, Mr. Hunt himself, who upon a division constituted the minority. Mr. Hume asked only nineteen members to represent 100,000,000 of inhabitants, including our Indian empire, to which he would give four representatives. It was certainly a small demand, but as a representation of our colonies and dependencies it was ludicrously inadequate.
The fall of Granville became the revolution of all parties. The Pelhams, in order to prevent his return to the Ministry through the partiality of the king, determined to construct a Cabinet on what was called a broad bottom—that is, including some of both sections of the Whigs, and even some of the Tories. They opened a communication with Chesterfield, Gower, and Pitt, and these violent oppositionists were ready enough to obtain place on condition of uniting against Granville and Bath. The difficulty was to reconcile the king to them. George was not well affected towards Chesterfield, and would not consent to admit him to any post near his person, but permitted him, after much reluctance, to be named Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. As for Pitt, he was even more repugnant to the king than Chesterfield, and Pitt, on his part, would accept nothing less than the post of Secretary at War. The Pelhams advised him to have patience and they would overcome the king's reluctance; but when they proposed that the Tory Sir John Hynde Cotton should have a place, George, in his anger, exclaimed, "Ministers are kings in this country!"—and so they are for the time. After much negotiation and accommodating of interests and parties, the Ministry was ultimately arranged as follows:—Lord Hardwicke remained Lord Chancellor; Pelham was First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Duke of Newcastle became one Secretary of State, Lord Harrington the other; the Duke of Devonshire remained Steward of the Household; the Duke of Bedford was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, with Lord Sandwich as Second Lord; Lord Gower was made Privy Seal; Lord Lyttelton became a member of the Treasury Board; Mr. Grenville was made a Junior Lord of the Admiralty; Sir John Hynde Cotton received the office of Treasurer of the Chamber in the Royal Household; and Bubb Doddington contrived to be included as Treasurer of the Navy. Lords Cobham and Hobart had also appointments; and the Duke of Dorset was made President of the Council.The next novelist who appeared was of a very different school. Richardson was an elaborate anatomist of character; Fielding and Smollett were master painters of life and manners, and threw in strong dashes of wit and humour; but they had little sentiment. In Laurence Sterne (b. 1713; d. 1768) came forth a sentimentalist, who, whilst he melted his readers by touches of pathos, could scarcely conceal from them that he was laughing at them in his sleeve. The mixture of feeling, wit, double entendre, and humour of the most subtle and refined kind, and that in a clergyman, produced the oddest, and yet the most vivid, impressions on the reader. The effect was surprise, pleasure, wonder, and no little misgiving; but the novelty and charm of this original style were so great that they carried all before them, but not without the most violent censures from the press on his indecencies, especially considering his position as a clergyman. Sterne was the grandson of that Richard Sterne, a native of Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, who was chaplain to Archbishop Laud, and attended him on the scaffold. Laurence Sterne was the son of a lieutenant in the army, and was born at Clonmel, in Ireland, his grandfather having then become Archbishop of York. Sterne, therefore, on taking orders, was on the way of preferment, and received the rectory of Stillington and the perpetual curacy of Coxwold, both in Yorkshire. There he wrote not only sermons, but satire, particularly his "History of a Watchcoat." But it was his novel of "Tristram Shandy" which brought him into sudden popularity. After this, his "Sentimental Journey" completed his reputation; and his Maria and her lamb, his uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Yorick, Doctor Slop, the widow Wadman, and his lesser characters, usurped for a long period the tears and laughter of the nation.Well-disposed people happily comprised the great mass of the population of all ranks and classes, who responded with alacrity to the appeal of the Government for co-operation. Great alarm was felt in the metropolis lest there should be street-fighting and plundering, and it might be said that society itself had taken effective measures for its own defence. The 10th of April, 1848, will be a day for ever remembered with pride by Englishmen, and posterity will read of it with admiration. In the morning nothing unusual appeared in the streets, except that the shops were mostly closed, the roar of traffic was suspended, and an air of quiet pervaded the metropolis. No less than 170,000 men, from the highest nobility down to the humblest shopkeeper, had been enrolled and sworn as special constables—a great army of volunteers, who came forward spontaneously for the defence of the Government. In every street these guardians of the peace might be seen pacing up and down upon their respective beats, and under their respective officers. Among them was Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, acting as a private, under the command of the Earl of Eglinton. No soldiers appeared in the streets; but, during the previous night, the Duke of Wellington had taken the most effective measures to prevent any violation of the peace. Strong bodies of foot and horse police were placed at the ends of the bridges, over which the Chartists must pass from Kennington Common to Westminster, and these were assisted by large numbers of special constables, posted on the approaches at each side. And lest these should be overpowered by the Chartists in attempting to force a passage, a strong force of military—horse, foot, and artillery—was kept concealed from view in the immediate neighbourhood. The public buildings were all occupied by troops and strongly fortified. Two regiments of the line were stationed at Millbank Penitentiary. There were 1,200 infantry at the Deptford Dockyards. At the Tower 30 pieces of heavy field ordnance were ready to be shipped by hired steamers to any spot where their services might be required. The public offices at the West-end, Somerset House, and in the City, were occupied by troops and stored with arms. The Bank of England was strongly fortified, sandbags being piled all round upon the roof, as parapets to protect the gunners, while the interior was filled with soldiers. There were also similar barricades to the windows, with loopholes for muskets. In the space of Rose Inn Yard, at the end of Farringdon Street, a large body of troops was posted ready to move at a moment's notice, and another in the enclosure of Bridewell Prison. At several points immediately about Kennington Common, commanding the whole space, bodies of soldiers were placed out of view, but ready for instant action. The Guards—horse and foot—were all under arms, in Scotland Yard and in other places.
On assembling his remnant of an army in Brelowa, Buonaparte beheld a state of general disorganisation prevailing. Perishing with cold and hunger, every man was only mindful of himself. In a short time the whole village was pulled down to make camp-fires of the timber, for the weather was fiercely cold. He could scarcely prevent them from stripping off the roof under which he had taken shelter. He set out on his march for Wilna on the 29th of November. The army hurried along without order or discipline, their only care being to outstrip the Russians, who were, like famished wolves, at their heels; the Cossacks continually cutting down numbers of their benumbed and ragged comrades, who went along more like spectres than actual men. The thermometer was at twenty degrees below zero.
There was grave discontent and suffering in France, and Marshal Saxe, through General Ligonier, made proposals for peace. The news of these overtures gave great delight in England, but the king and Cumberland were bent on continuing the war. Pelham and Chesterfield advocated acceptance of the terms, but Newcastle sided with the king, to gain favour with him. As the terms, however, could not with decency be bluntly rejected, Cumberland solicited and obtained the post of negotiator in the matter for England; but the Ministers, desirous of peace, foreseeing that the wishes or the hasty temper of Cumberland would soon ruin every chance of accomplishing a treaty, the Earl of Sandwich was sent over to act as assistant to the duke; this meant that he was to overrule, if possible, the mischief Cumberland would be sure to make. Sandwich accordingly hastened over to Holland, and had a secret interview with the Marquis de Puisieulx, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, and, after much dodging on the part of the marquis, he managed to have the discussion removed from military negotiators to a congress at Aix-la-Chapelle.3The next day the war against France was proclaimed, and for the righteous cause of restoring the independence of the nations. Prussia, and indeed all Germany, had now been trampled on sufficiently to crush the effeminacy out of all classes—to rouse the true soul of liberty in them. Men of every rank offered themselves as the defenders and avengers of their country; the students at this moment not only sung, but aided freedom. The volunteers were formed into Black Bands, and others assumed the dress and arms of the Cossacks, who had won much admiration. They were disciplined in the system of Scharnhorst, and soon became effective soldiers. A leader was found for them after their own heart—the brave and patriotic Blucher, who had been reserving himself for this day, and Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, better tacticians than himself, were appointed to assist him, and carry out all the strategic movements; whilst Blucher, never depressed by difficulties, never daunted by defeat, led them on with the cheer from which he derived his most common appellation of Marshal Forwards—"Forwards! my children, forwards!" All classes hastened to contribute the utmost amount possible to the necessary funds for this sacred war. The ladies gave in their gold chains and bracelets, their diamonds and rubies, and wore as ornaments chains and bracelets of beautifully wrought iron.
Soon shall thy arm, unconquered Steam! afarThe Company was then compelled to reduce its dividends to six per cent. and apply to Parliament for a loan of a million and a half to meet its pecuniary difficulties. This, Ministers and Parliament complied with, and proceeding to relieve the Company of its embarrassments, Lord North proposed and carried a measure, by which the Company, which had no less than seventeen million pounds of tea in its warehouses, should, without limit of time, be authorised to export its teas to the British colonies of America duty free. This was thought a great and conciliatory boon to the Americans, but it proved otherwise. The import duty of threepence in the pound was still stubbornly retained, and the Americans, looking at the principle of taxation, and not at a mere temptation of a cheapened article, saw through the snare, and indignantly rejected it. The principal tea merchants declared that this would be the case, and that the whole Government scheme was wild and visionary.详情
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