[See larger version]But Lord Castlereagh called on Parliament to maintain the same scale of expenditure and exertion till the great drama was completed. He estimated that there would still be wanted for 1814 four million pounds for the Peninsula, and six million pounds for Germany. He stated that our army in all quarters of the world amounted to two hundred and thirty thousand men, and that it was probable that we should have occasion to send from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand men to Holland, which, he recommended, should be raised by drafts from the militia. Of seamen, one hundred and forty thousand, and thirty-one thousand marines were voted, as it was resolved to chase the flag of the troublesome Americans from the seas. All these proposals were assented to without hesitation, and with the warmest encomiums on the achievements of Lord Wellington in Spain and the south of France, Parliament adjourned on the 26th of December till the 1st of March, 1814.Soon after, a resolute attack was made on the right of the British centre by a great body of cavalry, which rode impetuously into the front of the squares and of thirty pieces of artillery. Though cut down in heaps, they drove the artillerymen from their guns, but these only retreated amongst the infantry, carrying with them the implements for serving the guns, and, the moment the infantry repelled their assailants a little, the men were at their guns again, and renewed the firing. The cuirassiers fought most undauntedly; they rode along the very front of the squares, firing their pistols into them, or cutting at them with their swords. Again and again they dashed forward to break the squares, but in every instance were met with such a destructive fire that they were compelled to draw off, only a mere fragment of this fine cavalry surviving this heroic but fatal attempt. From that time the French continued the battle chiefly by an incessant fire of artillery along the whole line, which the British avoided in great part by lying on their faces.
Whilst these changes had been passing at home, the effervescence in America had grown most riotous and alarming. Boston took the lead in tumultuous fury. In August, the house of Mr. Oliver, the newly appointed stamp-distributor, was attacked and ransacked; his effigy was hanged on a tree, thenceforward honoured by the name of the Liberty Tree. It was then taken down, paraded about the streets, and committed to the flames. The colonel of the militia was applied to, but sent an evasive answer, showing that there were others above the mob who enjoyed what the mob were doing. With this encouragement they broke out afresh, crying, "Liberty and Property!" which, said a colonial authority, "was their cry when they meant to plunder and pull down a house." This time they gutted and partly demolished the houses of the registrar-deputy of the Admiralty, the comptroller of the customs, and the lieutenant-governor, destroying a great quantity of important papers. In New York, delegates assembled from nine different colonial Assemblies. The governor forbade them to gather, declaring their meetings unprecedented and unlawful, but he took no active measures to prevent their deliberations. The Congress met in October, and sat for three weeks. They appointed Mr. Timothy Ruggles, from Massachusetts, their chairman, and passed fourteen resolutions denying the right of the mother country to tax them without their own consent; and they drew up petitions to the king and Parliament. Everywhere associations were established to resist the importation of British manufactures after the 1st of January next, and it was agreed that they should dissolve themselves as soon as the stamp tax was abolished. But it is well known, from letters addressed to Franklin, that the Republican element was already widely spread through the colonies, and this very first opportunity was seized on by its advocates to encourage the idea of throwing off the allegiance to England without further delay.Sir Robert Peel did all in his power to form out of the materials at his disposal a Ministry that should command the confidence of the country. On the 16th he issued an address to his constituents at Tamworth, in which he announced the policy that should guide the new Government. He declared his intention to correct all proved abuses and real grievances; to preserve peace at home and abroad; to resist the secularisation of Church property in any part of the United Kingdom; to fulfil existing engagements with Foreign Powers; to observe a strict economy in the public expenditure; and promised an impartial consideration of what was due to all interests, agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial. He said:—"With regard to the Reform Bill itself, I accept it as a final and irrevocable settlement of a great constitutional question; a settlement which no friend to the peace and welfare of the country would attempt to disturb either by direct or insidious means. I will carry out its intentions, supposing those to imply a careful review of old institutions, undertaken in a friendly spirit, and with a purpose of improvement."GREENWICH HOSPITAL
On the 13th of September Charles James Fox died at Chiswick House, the residence of the Duke of Devonshire. He had been for a considerable time suffering from dropsy, and had got as far as Chiswick, in the hope of gathering strength enough to reach St. Anne's Hill, near Chertsey, his own house. But his days were numbered. He was only fifty-eight years of age. During his illness his colleagues and so-called friends, with that strange coldness and selfishness which always distinguished the Whigs, with very few exceptions, never went near him. Those honourable exceptions were the Duke of Devonshire, who had offered him his house, the Prince of Wales, his nephew, Lord Holland, his niece, Miss Fox, and his old friend, General Fitzpatrick. Still, Fox was not deserted by humbler and less known friends. Lords Grenville and Howick, his colleagues, rarely went near him, and all the Ministry were too busy anticipating and preparing for the changes which his decease must make. When this event took place there was a great shifting about, but only one new member of the Cabinet was admitted, Lord Holland, and only one resigned, the Earl Fitzwilliam. Lord Howick took Fox's department, that of Foreign Affairs; Lord Holland became Privy Seal; Grenville, First Lord of the Admiralty; and Tierney, President of the Board of Control. Sidmouth, afterwards so prominent in Tory Cabinets, still sat in this medley one as President of the Council, and Lord Minto was gratified by the Governor-Generalship of India. As Parliament was not sitting at the time of Fox's death, Ministers ordered his interment in Westminster Abbey, and he was carried thither on the 10th of October, the twenty-sixth anniversary of his election for Westminster, and laid almost close to the monument of Chatham, and within a few inches of the grave of his old rival, Pitt.
[See larger version]It is impossible to conceive the extent of suffering and desolation inflicted upon society, almost every family being involved, more or less, in the general calamity. Flourishing firms were bankrupt, opulent merchants impoverished, the masses of working people suddenly thrown out of employment, and reduced to destitution; and all from causes with which the majority had nothing to do—causes that could have been prevented by a proper monetary system. If Bank of England notes had been a legal tender, to all intents and purposes supplying the place of gold as currency; if these notes had been supplied to the country banks in any quantities they required, ample security being taken to have assets equal to their respective issues, then the currency would have had an elastic, self-adjusting power, expanding or contracting according to the requirements of commerce. Inordinate speculation would not have been stimulated by a reckless system of credit, and business would have been conducted in a moderate and judicious manner, instead of rushing on at a high pressure that rendered a crash inevitable. The Government, after anxious and repeated deliberations, supplied a remedy on this principle. They determined to issue one-pound and two-pound notes of the Bank of England, for country circulation, to any amount required. In the meantime the Mint was set to work with all its resources in the coining of sovereigns, which, for the course of a week, were thrown off at the rate of 150,000 a day. The notes could not be manufactured fast enough to meet the enormous demand for carrying on the business of the country. In this dilemma the Bank was relieved by a most fortunate discovery—a box containing ￡700,000, in one- and two-pound notes that had been retired, but which were at once put into circulation. The people having thus got notes with Government security, the panic subsided, and the demand for gold gradually ceased. The restoration of confidence was aided by resolutions passed at a meeting of bankers and merchants in the City of London, declaring that the unprecedented embarrassments and difficulties under which the circulation of the country laboured were mainly to be ascribed to a general panic, for which there were no reasonable grounds; that they had the fullest confidence in the means and substance of the banking establishments of the capital and the country; that returning confidence would remove all the symptoms of distress caused by the alarms of the timid, so fatal to those who were forced to sacrifice their property to meet unexpected demands. The new measures so promptly adopted and so vigorously carried into effect, raised the circulation of the Bank of England notes in three weeks from ￡17,477,290 to ￡25,611,800. Thus the regular and healthful action of the monetary system was restored by an adequate circulation of paper money, on Government security, without specie to sustain it. There were at the time of the crash 770 country bankers; 63 stopped payment, 23 of them having subsequently resumed business, and paid twenty shillings in the pound; and even those that were not able to resume, paid an average of seventeen shillings and sixpence in the pound. It was estimated that the total loss to the country by this panic was one hundred million pounds.In Ireland the effervescence assumed the shape of resistance to commercial injustice. It was, indeed, impossible to condemn too strongly the injustice which that country had endured for ages, and in nothing more than in the flagrant restrictions heaped upon its commerce and manufactures in favour of English interests. The Irish now seized on the opportunity while America was waging war against the very same treatment to imitate the American policy. They formed associations in Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, and other places, for the non-importation of British goods which could be manufactured in Ireland, till England and Ireland were placed on an equal footing in all that related to manufactures and commerce. Ministers, who had turned a deaf ear for years, and almost for ages, to such complaints, were now alarmed, especially as there was a rumour of French invasion, which might be so materially aided by disaffection in Ireland. They therefore made a pecuniary grant to relieve the commercial distress in Ireland, and passed two Acts for the encouragement of the growth of tobacco and hemp, and the manufacture of linen in that island. These concessions, however, were not deemed sufficient, and the people formed themselves into Volunteer Associations, appointing their own officers, and defraying the cost of their own equipments. This was done under the plea of the danger of invasion; but Government knew very well that American agents had been very busy sowing discontent in Ireland, and they saw too much resemblance in these things to the proceedings on the other side of the Atlantic not to view them with alarm. The Marquis of Rockingham, who had been well instructed in the real grievances of Ireland by Burke, moved in the House of Lords, on the 11th of May, for the production of all papers necessary to enable the House to come to a full understanding of the trade of Ireland and of mercantile restrictions on it with a view to doing impartial justice to that kingdom. Lord Gower promised that these should be ready for production next Session.
The majority obtained on their Irish policy was about the number the Ministry could count upon on every vital question. It was not sufficiently large to exempt them from the imputation of holding office on sufferance; but if they were defeated, and were succeeded by the Conservatives, the new Government, it was plain, could not hope to exist even on those terms; while Lord Melbourne had this advantage over Sir Robert Peel, that he was cordially supported by the Sovereign. Having escaped the Irish ordeal, it might be supposed that he was safe for a considerable time. But another question arose very soon after, on which the Cabinet sustained a virtual defeat. The Assembly in Jamaica had proved very refractory, and, in order to avoid the evil consequences of its perversity, Mr. Labouchere, on the 9th of April, brought forward a measure which was a virtual suspension of the constitution of the island for five years, vesting the government in the Governor and Council, with three commissioners sent from England to assist in ameliorating the condition of the negroes, improving prison discipline, and establishing a system of poor laws. This measure was denounced by the whole strength of the Opposition. The question may be thus briefly stated. Before the Act of Emancipation in 1833, all punishments were inflicted on slaves by the domestics of the master, who was unwilling to lose the benefit of their services by sending them to prison. But when emancipation took place, that domestic power was terminated, and new prison regulations became necessary. The Colonial Legislature, however, persistently refused to adopt any, and continued a course of systematic resistance to the will of the supreme Government, whose earnest and repeated recommendations had been utterly disregarded. Under the apprenticeship system negroes were treated worse than they were under the old condition of slavery, because the planters knew that the time of enfranchisement was at hand. But though, when the hour of liberty, August 1st, 1840, was seen to be very near, the Jamaica Assembly voluntarily brought the apprenticeship system to a termination, they accompanied the measure with an angry protest against any interference by the British Parliament. It was contended, on the part of the Government, that if such a state of things were permitted to exist, the authority of Great Britain over its colonies would speedily be lost, and every little island that owed its political existence to the protection afforded by the Imperial Government, would, without scruple, set its power at defiance. Such being the state of the case, it might be supposed that no serious objection would be raised to the course adopted, in the interests of humanity and good government. But the Conservatives seized the opportunity for another party contest, and became quite vehement in their defence of the constitutional rights of the Jamaica planters. The debate was protracted for several nights, and counsel against the Bill were heard at great length. Eventually the division took place at five in the morning on the 6th of May, when the numbers were 294 to 289, giving the Government a majority of only five, which was regarded as tantamount to a defeat. On the 7th of May, therefore, Lord John Russell announced that Ministers had tendered their resignation, which was accepted by the Queen. He assigned as the reason for this step that the vote which had passed must weaken the authority of the Crown in the colonies, by giving support to the contumacy of Jamaica, and encouraging other colonies to follow its bad example. This obvious consideration rendered more painfully apparent the weakness of the Government, arising from division among its supporters; for if anything could have induced the different sections of the Liberal party to suppress their differences, it would have been the necessity of interposing, in the manner proposed by the Government, to shield the unhappy negroes from the oppression of their exasperated taskmasters. Indeed, in spite of various attempts to patch up the Cabinet, its members were at hopeless cross-purposes.The elections for the new Parliament were carried on with much vigour, and there were upwards of a hundred contested ones. In some cases the contest was extremely violent, considering the death of the king was almost daily expected, and that the term of the Parliament must necessarily be a short one. In Westminster there were no less than six candidates. Lord Cochrane was about to depart for Chili to take the command of the naval forces of that state, and therefore did not offer himself again. There were Sir Francis Burdett again, the Honourable Douglas Kinnaird, Sir Murray Maxwell, Sir Samuel Romilly, Major Cartwright, and Mr. Henry Hunt, commonly called Orator Hunt. Of these Sir Murray Maxwell was a Tory, and received severe treatment. Major Cartwright and Hunt obtained very little support, and soon withdrew from the contest. The members returned were Romilly and Burdett, a Whig and a Radical. For London were returned four new members, all Whigs, Wood, Wilson, Waithman, and Thorpe. Brougham patriotically stood for Westmoreland, to break, if possible, the influence of the Lowther family; but he was compelled to retire on the fourth day, and two of the Lowther family were returned. A hundred and ninety new members were returned, and the Opposition gained considerably by the election. An acute observer, well accustomed to party battles, remarked that Government did not appear much beloved, and that they had almost spent all their war popularity; and they were not destined to recover it in the coming year.
Thus passed the winter of 1821-22. Parliament met on the 5th of February, 1822, for the transaction of business, and was opened by the king. In his Speech from the Throne he expressed regret for the agricultural distress that prevailed in England; and he had the unpleasant task imposed upon him of referring to a state of things in Ireland the reverse of what might have been expected from his conciliation policy—"a spirit of outrage" that had led to daring and systematic violations of the law which he submitted to the consideration of Parliament. In the House of Lords the Address was adopted without opposition. In the Commons amendments were proposed by Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Hume, which were rejected by large majorities. The state of Ireland was the first subject that occupied the attention of the legislature. A salutary change had been effected in the executive of that country. Lord Talbot, the late Viceroy, was a man of narrow and exclusive spirit, wedded to the régime of Protestant ascendency. But according to a system of counterpoise which had been adopted in the Irish Government, his influence was checked by his Chief Secretary, Mr. Charles Grant, a man of large mind, enlightened principles, and high character. This system tended to keep the rival parties in a state of conflict, and naturally weakened the authority of the Government. A modification in the English Cabinet led to corresponding changes in Ireland. The spirit of discontent among the commercial classes in England induced Lord Liverpool to enter into a compromise with the Grenville-Wynn party, and the Marquis of Buckingham, its chief, was created a duke; Lord Sidmouth retired from the Home Office, and was succeeded by Mr. Peel; the Marquis Wellesley became Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; while Mr. Plunket, a man of Liberal politics and transcendent abilities, was appointed Irish Attorney-General in the room of Mr. Saurin, the champion of unmitigated Protestant ascendency. The Liberal tendencies of these statesmen were to some extent counteracted by the appointment of Mr. Goulburn, the determined opponent of the Catholic claims, as Chief Secretary. Lord Liverpool, however, defended the appointment on the ground that a man's opinions on the Catholic question should not disqualify him for office in Ireland, "it being understood that the existing laws, whatever they may be, are to be equally administered with respect to all classes of his Majesty's subjects, and that the Roman Catholics are in any case to enjoy their fair share of the privileges and advantages to which they are by law entitled."[See larger version]No sooner had the insurrection of Aranjuez taken place, and Ferdinand been proclaimed king, than, so early as April the 8th, General Casta?os informed Sir Hew Dalrymple, the governor of Gibraltar, that there was an end of the policy of Godoy, which had made Spain the slave of France and the foe of Britain. Sir Hew sent a prompt dispatch to England with the news, and, till he could receive instructions from the British Government, he maintained friendly relations with the Spaniards. When the junta of Seville was formed, and there was every reason to believe that Spain would make a determined resistance, on his own responsibility he encouraged the merchants of Gibraltar to make a loan of forty thousand dollars to the junta without premium; and Captain Whittingham, an officer well acquainted with Spain, went to Seville to assist in planning the best means of preventing the French from passing the Sierra Morena. On the 8th of June Sir Hew received a dispatch from Lord Castlereagh, informing him that the British Government had determined to send ten thousand men immediately to the assistance of the Spanish patriots. But this was preceded four days by a proclamation which had outstripped Lord Castlereagh's dispatch, stating that his Majesty had ordered all hostilities towards Spain to cease, and all Spanish ships at sea to be unmolested. Admiral Collingwood took the command of the whole British fleet on the coast of Spain, ready to co-operate. He landed Mr. Cox to proceed to Seville as confidential agent, and about the middle of June General Spencer arrived at Cadiz with five thousand British soldiers. About the same time, the junta of Seville declared themselves at peace with Great Britain, and sent four commissioners to England to settle diplomatic relations between the countries.
Meanwhile these disturbances elsewhere were having a disastrous effect upon the fortunes of the war in Lombardy. At first, indeed, everything pointed to the success of the Italian cause. In May Peschiera fell, and Radetzky, venturing beyond the Quadrilateral, was defeated by Charles Albert at Goito. Already the Italians had rejected the help which Lamartine offered them from France, and Austria in despair appealed to Lord Palmerston for the mediation of Britain. Well would it have been for the Italians if terms could have been arranged. Lord Palmerston, indeed, who had already sent off a private note to the British Minister at Vienna, advising the Austrians to give up their Italian possessions at once, now consented to propose an armistice, while asserting that "things had gone too far to admit of any future connection between Austria and the Italians." But nothing came of the proposal; the Sardinians declined to consent to the armistice, which would only be for the benefit of Radetzky, who was at this moment somewhat hardly pressed; and the maximum of the concessions offered by the Austrian envoy, Baron Hummelauer, was that Lombardy should be freed from its connection with Austria while Venice should be retained. Palmerston considered the surrender insufficient, and the war went on."I recommend you to take into your early consideration whether the principles on which you have acted may not with advantage be yet more extensively applied; and whether it may not be in your power, after a careful review of the existing duties upon many articles, the produce or manufacture of other countries, to make such further reductions and remissions as may tend to ensure the continuance of the great benefits to which I have adverted, and, by enlarging our commercial intercourse, to strengthen the bonds of amity with foreign Powers."
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On the 17th of July—a week after the burial of the King—the Queen went in state to meet Parliament. She was received along the line of procession with extraordinary enthusiasm; and never on the accession of a Sovereign was the House of Peers so thronged by ladies of rank. A tone of kindness, mercy, and conciliation, befitting her youth and sex, marked her first Speech from the Throne. She stated that she regarded with peculiar interest the measures that had been brought to maturity for the mitigation of the criminal code, and the reduction of the number of capital punishments; promised that it should be her care to strengthen our institutions, civil and ecclesiastical, by discreet improvement, wherever improvement was required, and to do all in her power to compose and allay animosity and discord. Immediately on the delivery of the Royal Speech Parliament was prorogued in order to its dissolution. The general elections speedily followed, and were all over early in August. The Ministerial candidates were accused of making an unconstitutional use of the Queen's name in their addresses, and availing themselves of her popularity to strengthen the position of the Government, and the Conservatives asserted that the Queen had no partiality for her present advisers, whom she found in office, and bore with only till Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues should feel strong enough to take their places. The elections did not materially alter the balance of parties, the Whigs still commanding a small majority.详情
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