Prussia having been introduced into the debate, on the 1st of March it was renewed by Mr. Martin, followed by Francis, Fox, and others, who argued that the secret was thus out; we were fighting again on account of the old mischief—German alliances. Pitt defended the policy of Ministers. He asked whether Russia was to be permitted to drive the Turks from Europe and plant herself in Constantinople, with Greece as part of her empire? In that case, Russia would become the first maritime power in the world, for her situation in the heart of the Mediterranean, and with Greeks for her sailors—the best sailors in that sea—would give her unrivalled advantages, and make her the most destructive opponent of British interests that had ever arisen. Pitt drew a dark character of the Czarina—the Messalina of the North; reminded the House of her endeavours to strike a mortal blow at us during the American war; of her arrogance and insolence on many occasions, and said that he did not envy Fox the honour of having his bust ordered by this notorious woman from Nollekens, the sculptor. Fox well deserved this hard blow, for he had shown a strange blindness to the grasping designs of Russia, and confessed that, whilst in office, he had refused to concur in remonstrances to Russia against the seizure of the Crimea. The motion of Whitbread was rejected by a majority of two hundred and forty-four against one hundred and sixteen.
The whole army now crossed the river at leisure, and marched towards Lahore. Lord Hardinge issued a proclamation, in which he stated that the war was the result of the wanton and unprovoked incursion of the Sikhs; that the British Government wanted no acquisition of territory, but only security for the future, indemnity for the expenses of the war, and the establishment of a government at Lahore, which should afford a guarantee against such aggressions in the time to come. The Ranee and her durbar, or council, now saw the necessity of prompt submission, which was tendered by plenipotentiaries sent to the British camp, who threw the whole blame of the war on the uncontrollable troops. They were well received by the Governor-General, and a treaty was without difficulty concluded on the 15th of February at a place called Kussoor. By the terms of the treaty, all the territory lying between the river Beas and the Sutlej was ceded to the British Government. The sum of one million sterling was to be paid for the expenses of the war; but the sum was found too heavy, and instead Gholab Singh was rewarded for his fidelity to the British by the grant of a large tract of territory between the Beas and the Indus. Peace having been thus concluded, the young Maharajah, Dhuleep Singh, was received by the Governor-General at his camp with Oriental pomp; and on the 22nd of February Sir Henry Hardinge entered Lahore at the head of his victorious army, taking possession of the gates, the citadel, and the Royal palace.The British Ministry adopted the advice most cordially. Lord Liverpool, in the House of Lords, and Lord Castlereagh, in the Commons, on the 6th of April, announced the astounding fact of the escape of Buonaparte, and proposed addresses from both Houses to the Prince Regent, recommending the most energetic measures of co-operation with the Allies now finally to crush this lawless man. Whitbread vehemently opposed this measure, declaring that it was not our business "to commence a new crusade to determine who should fill the throne of France." This was true enough; but it was a truth, in the then temper of the Government or public, which was not likely to be attended to. The addresses were carried in both Houses without any division, and Lord Wellington was nominated to command the forces which should take the field for Great Britain; and these were to amount to no fewer than one hundred and fifty thousand, and to consist of a moderate number of British soldiers, and the rest to be paid Hanoverians, Belgians, Dutch, and Germans. Parliament immediately voted the enormous sum of ninety million pounds for supplies, knowing the vast subsidies which would be required by the Allied monarchs, besides the large sum necessary to pay our own quota of troops.
However, the agitation of the working classes continued; and, when Parliament met in February, 1839, the concluding paragraph of the Speech referred to the disturbances and combinations among the working classes: "I have observed with pain the persevering efforts which have been made in some parts of the country to excite my subjects to disobedience and resistance to the law, and to recommend dangerous and illegal practices. For the counteraction of all such designs I depend upon the efficacy of the law, which it will be my duty to enforce, upon the good sense and right disposition of my people, upon their attachment to the principles of justice, and their abhorrence of violence and disorder." In the course of the debate in the Commons Sir Robert Peel adverted to the paragraph referring to illegal meetings. Having read several extracts from the speeches of Mr. Stephens, Dr. Wade, and Mr. Feargus O'Connor delivered at Chartist meetings, he quoted, for the purpose of reprehending, a speech delivered by Lord John Russell at Liverpool in the previous month of October, when, alluding to the Chartist meeting, the noble lord said, "There are some perhaps who would put down such meetings, but such was not his opinion, nor that of the Government with which he acted. He thought the people had a right to free discussion which elicited truth. They had a right to meet. If they had no grievances, common sense would speedily come to the rescue, and put an end to these meetings." These sentiments, remarked Sir Robert Peel, might be just, and even truisms; yet the unseasonable expression of truth in times of public excitement was often dangerous. The Reform Bill, he said, had failed to give permanent satisfaction as he had throughout predicted would be the case, and he well knew that a concession of further reform, in the expectation of producing satisfaction or finality, would be only aggravating the disappointment, and that in a few years they would be encountered by further demands.The circumstance sank deeply into the mind of the king, and, resenting especially the conduct of Grenville—who had acted as though he held a monopoly of office,—he determined to be rid of him. He therefore consulted with his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland. That prince, to whom age and infirmities seemed to have given a degree of wisdom, declared the offer of the Ministry to Pitt to be the necessary step, and willingly undertook to make it. But knowing that Pitt would not even listen to the proposal without Temple, he dispatched a summons to Stowe for that nobleman, and himself, infirm as he was, went to Hayes, to learn the will of the great commoner personally. Pitt showed himself disposed to accept the office, on condition that general warrants should be declared illegal; that the officers dismissed on account of their votes be restored; and that an alliance with Protestant powers, and especially with Prussia, should be formed, to counterbalance the compact between France and Spain. This was asking a great deal; but Pitt demanded more in the particulars of appointments, namely, that Pratt, who had opposed the Court so decidedly as regarded Wilkes and general warrants, should be Lord Chancellor, and he opposed the Court desire that the Duke of Northumberland should be at the head of the Treasury. Pitt, moreover, designed the Treasury for Temple. But, when Temple arrived, he refused to take office at all. The fact was that just now he was making a reconciliation with his brother, Grenville, and was averse from throwing him overboard. So far from joining Pitt, he was on the verge of another breach with him. Pitt, disconcerted by this repulse, with a weakness to be deplored in so great a man, refused to accept the offer to form a ministry at all.By the marvellous aids of canals and steam-engines manufacturing power became most immensely augmented in all directions, but especially in the spinning and weaving of cotton goods. The machines invented by Wyatt and Paul in 1733, and improved by Arkwright in 1767, if not invented anew, without knowledge of Wyatt and Paul's plan of spinning by rollers—a moot point; the spinning-jenny with seven spindles, invented by James Hargreaves, a weaver near Blackburn, in 1767; and the mule-jenny, combining the working of the machines of Arkwright and Hargreaves, by Samuel Crompton, in 1779, completely superseded spinning cotton yarn by hand. These machines were first worked by water power, but steam power was used after the steam-engine had been invented; and the growth of cotton-spinning became rapid beyond conception, spreading over all Lancashire and the midland counties in a marvellous manner. The cotton-mills of Robert Peel, in Lancashire and Staffordshire; of the Strutts, at Belper, in Derbyshire; of Dale, at New Lanark; of Robinson, at Papplewick; and Arkwright, at Cromford, which raised these gentlemen to vast wealth, being only the leviathans amongst swarming concerns of less dimensions.
No sooner was this treaty signed than Junot was ordered to cross the Bidassoa with thirty thousand men, and march through Spain for the Portuguese frontier. Two additional armies, partly of French and partly of Spaniards, supported him, and another army of forty thousand was stationed at Bayonne, intended, it was said, to act as an army of reserve, in case the British should land and attempt to defend Portugal, but in reality it was intended for the subjugation of Spain itself. Junot, who had formerly been Buonaparte's ambassador at the Court of Lisbon, made rapid marches through Spain. The Prince Regent of Portugal, knowing that resistance was in vain, sent the Marquis of Marialva to state to the Courts of France and Spain that he had complied with the whole of their demands, as regarded the admission of British goods, and demanded the arrest of the march of the invading army. But no notice was taken of this, and Junot pushed on with such speed as to exhaust his troops with fatigue. He was anxious to seize the persons of the royal family, and therefore this haste, accompanied by the most solemn professions of his coming as the friend and ally of Portugal—as the protector of the people from the yoke of the British, the maritime tyrants of Europe.
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After the Painting by SEYMOUR LUCAS, R.A., in the National Gallery of British Art
But whilst Gifford was thus demolishing an outbreak of bad taste, a much more remarkable evidence that those who lay claim to good taste frequently have it not was given by the appearance of several new plays and other documents attributed to Shakespeare. The chief of these was "Kynge Varrtygerne," a tragedy, edited by Samuel Ireland. Numbers of persons of high name and pretension, as Dr. Parr, Boswell, Pye, the laureate, Chalmers, the editor of an issue of "British Poets," Pinkerton, a writer of all sorts of things, etc., became enthusiastic believers and admirers of these pretended discoveries. They turned out to be impudent forgeries by the son of the editor, named William Henry Ireland, and are in reality such trash that they are a melancholy proof of how little value, from some learned persons, is the adoration of Shakespeare. Malone, in an "Inquiry" into the authenticity of these writings, in 1796, completely exposed their spuriousness. Pinkerton, one of their most zealous advocates, himself perpetrated a similar forgery of a volume of Scottish poems, issued as ancient ones. He enjoyed the particular patronage of Horace Walpole.The British public, thrilled by the news of his heroic achievements, fully sympathised with the victorious general. The thanks of both Houses of Parliament were voted to him and the army, and the Duke of Wellington expressed in the House of Lords the highest admiration of his generalship. Sir Charles Napier became the civil governor of the province which his sword had won for his Sovereign; and he showed by the excellence of his administration that his capacity as a statesman was equal to his genius as a general. He encouraged trade; he carried on extensive public works; he erected a pier at Kurrachee, extending two miles into the water, and forming a secure harbour; he organised a most efficient police; he raised a revenue sufficient to pay the whole expenses of the administration, giving a surplus of ￡90,000, which, added to the prize-money, brought half a million sterling into the Company's treasury in one year. The cultivators of the soil were protected in the enjoyment of the fruits of their industry; artisans, no longer liable to be mutilated for demanding their wages, came back from the countries to which they had fled; beautiful girls were no longer torn from their families to fill the zenanas of Mohammedan lords, or to be sold into slavery. The Hindoo merchant and the Parsee trader pursued their business with confidence, and commerce added to the wealth of the new province. The effect of these reforms was conspicuous in the loyalty of the Scindians during the revolt of 1857.SCENE AT THE "SURRENDER" BANQUET IN DERRY. (See p. 287.)
During the months of April and May Florence and all the other towns of Tuscany recovered from the revolutionary fever, and returned to their allegiance. At Bologna the Austrians met with a determined resistance. The garrison consisted of 3,000 men, including some hundreds of the Swiss Guards, who had abandoned the service of the Pope. They defied the Austrians, stating that the Madonna was all for resistance, and was actively engaged in turning aside the rockets of the enemy. But the heavy artillery did its deadly work notwithstanding; and after a short bombardment the white flag was hung out, the city capitulated, and the garrison laid down their arms, but were permitted to march out unmolested. Ancona also capitulated on the 10th, and Ferrara was occupied without resistance by Count Thurn. In fact, the counter-revolution was successful all over Central Italy, except in the Papal States, which now became the centre of universal interest. The leaders of the revolutionary party, chased from the other cities of Italy, were warmly welcomed at Rome, and gladly entered the ranks of its defenders.The system of combination had spread very widely in 1837 and 1838. So great was the terrorism produced that conviction for an outrage was very rare. The utmost precautions were taken to prevent discovery in committing assassination. Strangers were sent to a great distance for the purpose; and even if they were detected, few persons would run the risk of coming forward as witnesses. The consequence was that in nine cases out of ten combination murders were perpetrated with impunity. In 1837 the Cotton Spinners' Association at Glasgow struck to prevent a reduction of wages in consequence of the mercantile embarrassments arising from the commercial crash in the United States. This association had its branches all over Scotland and the North of England. During sixteen years a total of ￡200,000 had passed through its hands. So extensive were its ramifications that, when it struck in the spring of 1837, no less than 50,000 persons, including the families of the workers, were deprived of the means of existence, and reduced to the last degree of destitution. Crowds of angry workmen paraded the streets and gathered round the factory gates, to prevent other people from going in to work; fire-balls were thrown into the mills for the purpose of burning them. At length the members of the association went so far as to shoot one of the new hands in open day in a public street of Glasgow. In consequence of this outrage the sheriff of Lanarkshire proceeded with a body of twenty policemen and arrested the members of the secret committee, sixteen in number, who were found assembled in a garret, to which they obtained access by a trap-ladder, in Gallowgate of that city. This was on Saturday night, August 3rd. On the Monday following the strike was at an end, and all the mills in Glasgow were going. The jury found the prisoners guilty of conspiracy, and they were sentenced to transportation, but the murder not proven—a result which excited some surprise, as the evidence was thought to have warranted a general verdict of "Guilty." This was, two years after, followed by their being all liberated from confinement by Lord Normanby, then Home Secretary.Here all further progress became impossible. The Spaniards having reduced their debt to less than one half the original sum, were fighting stoutly to reduce it to nothing. There appeared no chance but for arms to decide it. Cardinal Fleury, with his usual pacific disposition, made an effort to avert the war by guaranteeing to undertake the payment of the ninety-five thousand pounds by Spain, provided that the British fleet was withdrawn from the Mediterranean. But English spirit, even in Walpole, had now reached its limit of patience. The king and the nation were equally in a mood for war. Walpole, therefore, ceased to listen any longer to the Spanish objections, but took his stand on the true British ground of resistance to the right of search, and on that of an acknowledgment of all British rights and claims in North America. Instead of withdrawing the Mediterranean fleet, he ordered its reinforcement, sent Sir Chaloner Ogle with fresh ships to the West Indies, and Sir John Norris was ordered to put to sea with a third squadron. The above demands being peremptorily made from the Court of Madrid, and being rejected, war was proclaimed in London on the 19th of October. Walpole, who had reluctantly resorted to this master evil, as he heard the rejoicings, exclaimed, "They may ring the bells now, but they will soon be wringing their hands!" The first symptoms of the consequences which the war was likely to produce were seen in the new hopes which it awoke in the ranks of the Jacobites. Large numbers of them met at Edinburgh, and drew up a bond of association, pledging one another to take arms and venture life and fortune for the restoration of the Stuart. On the other hand, those nations on which England calculated for aid hung back and remained neutral. The Dutch were bound to furnish certain troops in case of war, and, before the declaration of it, Horace Walpole was despatched by his brother to demand their production; but they pleaded the menaces of France, which threatened them with invasion by fifty thousand men if they assisted the English, and which held out to them the prospect of their obtaining that trade to the Spanish colonies which England had enjoyed. As for France herself, she assumed an air rather ominous of war than of peace, and thus Britain was left alone in the contest.
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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 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.
The effect of steam communication between Great Britain and Ireland was to increase very greatly the traffic of those countries. It has been stated that in order to save the salaries of one or two junior clerks, it was determined to cease keeping any official records of this traffic, with the exception of grain and flour. In the absence of such records we can only arrive at an approximation to the quantity and value of the exports and imports. It was, however, estimated by persons acquainted with the subject, that the quantity of agricultural produce imported into Liverpool alone in 1832 was worth four millions and a half sterling; and this produce consisted chiefly of live stock—horses, sheep, and pigs—which could not have been so profitably brought over by sailing vessels. The value of agricultural produce brought to the port of Bristol from Ireland in the same year was one million sterling. The total value of all sorts of live animals brought from Ireland to Liverpool in 1837 was ￡3,397,760. One of the most curious items in the traffic is the egg trade. In the course of the year 1832 no less than ￡100,000 was paid for Irish eggs in Liverpool and Bristol alone. Looking at the whole traffic between the two islands, we perceive that the amount of tonnage employed in 1849 was 250 per cent. more than it was in 1801. Up to 1826 the increase was not so rapid as subsequently, it being then only 62 per cent. on the whole period, showing an annual increase of 2-2/5 per cent., whereas for the quarter of a century that followed, the increase was 188 per cent., the annual increase being 8 per cent.The active mind, strong will, and philanthropic spirit of Mr. Stanley, now transferred from Ireland to the Colonial Secretaryship, found an important field for their exercise in the Colonial Office. He applied his energies to the abolition of negro slavery in the West Indies, and was happily more successful in that work than in his attempt to tranquillise Ireland. The time had arrived when the labours on behalf of the negro race, of Clarkson, Wilberforce, Mackintosh, Brougham, Buxton, Lushington, and William Smith were to be followed with success, by the abolition of slavery in the British West Indian colonies. The Society of Friends, as became that philanthropic body, led the van in the movement which began in 1823, when Wilberforce presented a petition from them in the House of Commons. Soon afterwards, when Mr. Buxton brought forward a resolution condemning slavery as repugnant to Christianity and to the British Constitution, Mr. Canning moved a counter-resolution as an amendment, recommending reforms in the system, which, he alleged, might be safely left to the West Indian Assemblies; and if they refused to do their duty, the Imperial Parliament might then interfere. These resolutions were carried, although any one acquainted with the history of the West Indies might have known that they would be perfectly futile. No amelioration of the system could be rationally expected from the reckless adventurers and mercenary agents by whom many West Indian plantations were managed. The infamous cruelty of which the missionary Smith had been the victim showed that, while the colonial laws allowed the most horrible atrocities, there existed among the planters a spirit of brutality which did not shrink from their perpetration. Time was when such barbarities might have escaped with impunity; when in Great Britain it was maintained in high places, and even by the legislature, that slavery was defended by an impregnable fortress, that property in human flesh was not only expedient for the good of the commonwealth, and beneficial for the negro, but also a sacred institution, founded on the authority of the Bible. But, thanks to the indefatigable labours of the friends of the negro race, such abominable dogmas had been long reprobated by public opinion, and at the period now referred to no man ventured to promulgate such heresies in England. The moral sense of the nation had condemned slavery in every form. The missionaries had, in the midst of tremendous difficulties and cruel persecutions, enlightened the West Indian slaves with regard to their rights as men and their privileges as Christians; and while they inculcated patience and meek submission even to unjust laws, they animated their crushed hearts with the hope that the blessings of liberty would soon be enjoyed by them, and that humanity and justice would speedily triumph over the ruthless tyranny under which they groaned.详情
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