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类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-09-24 20:17:19

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The question of the regency was again brought forward, on the 6th of July, by Mr. Robert Grant, in pursuance of a notice he had previously given. The unbounded personal popularity of the kingwho, unlike his predecessor shut up in seclusion and resembling Tiberius, went about sailor-like through the streets, frank, talkative, familiar, good-humoured, delighting the Londoners with all the force of pleasant contrastrendered it increasingly difficult and delicate on the part of the Opposition to propose any measure disagreeable to a Sovereign who was the idol of the multitude, from whom no evil could be apprehended, and whose death, even in the ordinary course of Providence, it seemed something like treason to anticipate as likely to occur within a few months. They were, therefore, profuse in their declarations of respect, of admirationnay, almost of venerationfor a monarch whom a beneficent Providence had so happily placed upon the Throne of Great Britain. The division on Mr. Grant's motion was still more decidedly favourable to the Government, the numbers beingAyes, 93; noes, 247majority, 154.[161]

Whilst these events had been taking place in Spain and Portugal, Great Britain had been sending money and troops to oppose Buonaparte in other quarters. Early in the spring Austria was in the field; in July a powerful fleet, carrying an army, sailed from the Downs, to create a diversion on the coast of the Netherlands, and other operations were commenced in the south of Italy. The army destined for the Netherlands amounted to forty thousand men, attended by a fleet of thirty-five sail of the line and twenty frigates, to assist where they might be needed. Buonaparte had contemplated making a great port of Antwerp, and had expended much money and labour in docks and fortifications there; but finding that the port of Antwerp was not deep enough for first-rate ships of war, he undertook to render Flushing capable of receiving and protecting a large fleet. He still contemplated, by the co-operation of Denmark and Russia, the sending forth a fleet, some day, which might cope with the British navy, or enable him to invade England. For this purpose he was building ships at Antwerp and Flushing; and it was, no doubt, these circumstances which determined the British to direct their attack on Flushing and Antwerp. Captain, afterwards Sir George Cockburn, was of opinion that these preparations of Napoleon could never affect England; that no possession of Zealand, or any part of it, could be kept by England, from its extreme unhealthiness to foreigners, and even to Dutchmen; and that it was much better for Britain to let Buonaparte build ships, and take them whenever they came out to sea, than to sacrifice the lives of our troops for no permanent benefit in this region of bogs, stagnant water, and malaria. Had these forty thousand troops been sent to support Wellington, and half the money that this fatal expedition cost, they would have enabled him to drive the French triumphantly out of Spain, and create the most magnificent diversion for Austria, as well as the most honourable to England.The Session of 1850 was creditably distinguished by the establishment of a policy of self-government for our colonies. They had become so numerous and so large as to be utterly unmanageable by the centralised system of the Colonial Office; while the liberal spirit that pervaded the Home Government, leading to the abolition of great monopolies, naturally reacted upon our fellow-subjects settled abroad, and made them discontented without constitutional rights. It was now felt that the time was come for a comprehensive measure of constitutional government for our American and Australian Colonies; and on the 8th of February, Lord John Russell, then Prime Minister, brought the subject before the House of Commons. It was very fully discussed, Sir William Molesworth, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Labouchere, and others who had taken an active part in colonial affairs, being the principal speakers. With regard to Canada, great progress had already been made in constitutional government. The same might be said of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in which the practice of administration approximated to that observed in Great Britain. It was determined to introduce representative institutions of a similar kind in Cape Colony. In Australia it was proposed that there should be but one Council, two-thirds elected by the people and one-third nominated by the Governor. Mr. Roebuck objected strongly to the Government measure, because it left the colonists free, to a great extent, to gratify the strong desire almost universally felt among them to have power to choose a Constitution for themselves, instead of[606] having a Constitution sent out to them, cut and dry. He wanted the House to plant at once liberal institutions there, which would spare the colonists the agony of working out a scheme of government for themselves. He declared that "of all the abortions of an incompetent Administration, this was the greatest." A ready-made Constitution had been sent out by the Government to South Africa; why, then, could not Parliament send out a ready-made Constitution to Australia? Lord John Russell replied to Mr. Roebuck's arguments, and after a lengthened debate the Bill was read a second time. There was a strong division of opinion in committee as to whether there should be two Chambers or one. Sir William Molesworth moved an amendment to the effect that there should be two, which was rejected by a majority of 218 against 150. The Bill passed the House of Commons on the 18th of May, and on the 31st was brought into the Lords, where also it was subjected to lengthened discussions and various amendments, which caused it to be sent back to the Commons for consideration on the 1st of August. On the motion of Lord John Russell the amendments were agreed to, and the Bill was passed. This was the principal legislative work of the Session and possessed undoubted merits.

"Child, is thy father dead?"

At length, after much mischievous delay, the Government ventured to lay hands upon the disseminators of sedition and the organisers of rebellion. On the 13th of May John Mitchel was arrested and committed to Newgate. On the 15th, Mr. Smith O'Brien, who had been previously arrested and was out on bail, was brought to trial in the Queen's Bench, and arraigned on ex officio information as being a wicked, seditious, and turbulent person, and having delivered a speech for the purpose of exciting hatred and contempt against the Queen in Ireland, and inducing the people to rise in rebellion. He was defended by Mr. Butt, a Conservative barrister, who spoke of the ancient lineage and estimable character of the prisoner, concluding thus:"Believe me, gentlemen, all cannot be right in a country in which such a man as William Smith O'Brien is guilty, if guilty you pronounce him, of sedition." At the conclusion of this sentence the majority of the bar, and of the people in court, rose from their seats and loudly cheered, the ladies in the galleries waving their handkerchiefs. The jury were locked up all night without refreshments, but they could not agree. The next day Meagher was tried, with a similar result, and was hailed by a cheering multitude outside, whom he addressed from a window in the Nation office. Mitchel, however, was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to transportation for fourteen years; he was immediately conveyed in the police prison van to a small steamer which waited in the bay, and then to a man-of-war which conveyed him to Bermuda.If the scandalous gossip of the Court may be trusted, the king did not allow affairs of State, or public displays, or the death of the queen to wean him even for a week from his attachment to Lady Conyngham. Mr. Freemantle, a rather cynical commentator on public affairs, wrote as follows:"Lady C. has been almost constantly at the Ph?nix Park, but has not appeared much in public." Again, the same writer remarks, "I never in my life heard of anything equal to the king's infatuation and conduct towards Lady Conyngham. She lived exclusively with him during the whole time he was in Ireland at the Ph?nix Park. When he went to Slane, she received him dressed out as for a drawing-room; he saluted her, and they then retired alone to her apartments. A yacht is left to bring her over, and she and the whole family go to Hanover. I hear the Irish are outrageously jealous of her, and though courting her to the greatest degree, are loud in their indignation at Lord C. This is just like them. I agree in all you say about[220] Ireland. As there is no chance of the boon being granted, no lord-lieutenant could have a chance of ingratiating himself, or of fair justice done him, with the king's promises and flattery."

During the French war, when the Paris fashions were intercepted, much variety in the fashion of dress took place amongst both gentlemen and ladies; but before the peace had arrived the most tasteless costumes had become general, and the waists of both sexes were elevated nearly to their shoulders. The tight skirts and short waists of the ladies gave them the most uncouth aspect imaginable; and the cut-away coats and chimneypot hats of the gentlemen were by no means more graceful. The military costume had undergone an equally complete revolution, and with no better success.Thus ended the rebellion of 1848, which had so long kept the country in a state of alarm. It is true that some of the leaders headed small bodies of insurgents in the county of Waterford, and attacked several police barracks, but in none of the affrays were the insurgents successful. The police, who were not more than one to fifty of the rebels, routed them in every instance without any loss of life on their part. The constabulary were then 10,000 strong in Ireland, and Smith O'Brien confidently counted upon their desertion to his ranks; but though the majority of the force were Roman Catholics, they were loyal to a man. Dillon and O'Gorman had escaped to France, but Terence McManus, a fine young man, who had given up a prosperous business as a broker in Liverpool, to become an officer in the "Army of Liberation," was arrested in an American vessel proceeding from Cork to the United States. A special commission for the trial of the prisoners was opened on the 21st of September, at Clonmel, high treason having been committed in the county Tipperary.

On the 19th of February the men heard an awful and mysterious sound, as if of thunder, beneath their feet. They instantly rushed to their arms, and thus many lives were saved. A tremendous earthquake shook down all the parapets built up with so much labour, injured several of the bastions, cast to the ground all the guard-houses, made a considerable breach in the rampart of a curtain in the Peshawur face, and reduced the Cabul gate to a shapeless mass of ruins. In addition to this sudden destruction of the fortificationsthe labour of three monthsone-third of the town was demolished. The report states that, within the space of one month, the city was thrown into alarm by the repetition of full 100 shocks of this phenomenon of Nature. Still, the garrison did not lose heart or hope. With indomitable energy, they set to work immediately to repair the damage. The shocks had scarcely ceased when the whole garrison was told off into working parties, and before night the breaches were scalped, the rubbish below was cleared away, and the ditches before them were dug out. From the following day all the troops off duty were continually at work, and so well sustained were their energy and perseverance, that by the end of the month the parapets were entirely restored, or the curtain was filled in, where restoration was impracticable, and every battery re-established. The breaches were built up with the rampart doubled in thickness, and the whole of the gates re-trenched. So marvellously rapid was the work of restoration that Akbar Khan declared that the earthquake must have been the effect of English witchcraft, as Jelalabad was the only place that escaped.

[See larger version]One great article of manufacture and export, however, down to this period, continued to be that of our woollens. To guard this manufacture many Acts had been passed at different times, prohibiting the exportation of the raw material. Immediately after the Revolution a fresh Act of this kind was passed, and such was the jealousy even of the Irish and of our American colonies weaving woollen cloths, that, in 1689, an Act was passed prohibiting the exportation of wool or woollen goods from Ireland or our plantations to any country except England. Having taken measures thus to confine as much as possible the profit of the woollen manufacture to England, the next year, which saw all protecting duties taken off corn, saw also leave given for the exportation of woollen cloths duty-free from England to any part of the world. Sir William Davenant estimates the value of the yearly growth of wool in England at this time at about 2,000,000, and the value of its woollen manufactures at 8,000,000. He calculates that one-fourth of this amount was exported. In 1738 Mr. John Kay invented the mode of casting the shuttle by what is called a "picking-peg," by which means the weaver was enabled to weave cloths of any width, and throw off twice the quantity in the same time. In 1758 the Leeds Cloth Hall was erected, and, about twenty years afterwards, a hall for white cloths.

The reading of this French note aroused at once the old feeling of enmity between France and England. If there was a strong resentment against the Americans before, it now grew tenfold. The war became popular with all, except the extreme Opposition. Lord North moved an appropriate address to the king; the Opposition moved as an amendment to it that his Majesty should dismiss the Ministers. Loyal addresses from both Houses were, however, carried by large majorities. In consequence of the French note,[251] the king ordered Lord Stormont to quit Paris, and the Marquis de Noailles took his departure from London, where, in spite of his official character, he was no longer safe from popular insult. Orders were also sent to the Lord-Lieutenants of the several counties to call out the militia.

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Tillotson and South were the great authors of sermons of this period. Tillotson was one of the most popular preachers of the time, but may be said to have done more good by his liberal and amiable influence at the head of the Church than by his preaching. There is a solid and genuinely pious character about the sermons of Tillotson which suited the better-trained class of mind of his age, but which would now be deemed rather heavy. South has more life and a more popular style; he was therefore more attractive to the courtiers of his day than to the sober citizens, and he has larded his text with what were then deemed sprightly sallies and dashing phrases, but which are now felt as vulgarisms. Both divines, however, furnished succeeding preachers with much gleaning.News now arrived of peace concluded between Britain and France. The French, to whom their possessions were restored, at once ceased hostilities and went to occupy their reacquired settlements. But Tippoo continued the war, bent on taking Mangalore. Nothing could now have prevented the English from completely conquering but the stupidity of the Council of Madras. They sent commissioners to treat with Tippoo, who, once getting them into his camp, made them really prisoners, kept all information from them, and induced them to issue orders to the English officers to cease hostilities. By these orders a junction between Stuart and Colonel Fullarton, and the immediate investment and seizure of Seringapatam, Tippoo's capital, were prevented. Fullarton had overrun a great portion of the southern districts of Mysore, and had entered into close alliance with the Zamorin of Calicut, the Rajah of Travancore, and other rajahs, tributary to Tippoo, all the way from Cochin to Goa. With ample supplies of provisions and other aids from these chiefs, Fullarton was in full march to join Stuart, and laid siege to Seringapatam, when he received peremptory orders to give up the enterprise, as the British were about concluding terms with Tippoo. Exceedingly disconcerted by these commands, which thus frustrated the results of this wonderful campaign, Fullarton, however, had no alternative but to obey, and Tippoo thus held on till he had starved out Campbell, and gained the fort of Mangalore. Then he concluded peace on condition of mutual restitution of all conquests since the war. This peace was signed on the 11th of March, 1784.Whilst Chatham was heading the Opposition in a determined onslaught on the Government, the latter were also compelled to face the awkward American question. Great hopes had been entertained that the people of Boston would be much calmer after the departure of Governor Bernard. Hutchinson, the Deputy-Governor, was not only an American, but a man of a mild temper. But the temper of the Bostonians was now so much excited, that the leaders of the non-importation Act were more vehement than ever. The English merchants presented a petition to Parliament showing that, in consequence of the import duties and the combinations of the colonists to resist them, the exports from England to these colonies had fallen off in 1769 by the amount of seven hundred and forty thousand pounds; that the revenue received from duties paid in America had fallen off from one hundred and ten thousand pounds per annum to thirty thousand pounds.

Brazilian 0 10 0 66 0 0The Repeal AgitationDebate in the Dublin CorporationThe Monster MeetingsO'Connell's Speech at TaraThe Arms BillDismissal of the Repeal MagistratesSpeeches of the Duke of WellingtonThe Arms Bill becomes LawProclamation of the Clontarf MeetingO'Connell's Counter-ProclamationArrest and Trial of O'ConnellThe SentenceIt is reversed by the House of LordsRejoicings on O'Connell's LiberationThe Excitement at CorkDecline of O'ConnellHis Breach with the Young Ireland PartyIrish Debates in ParliamentApproach of the Irish FamineThe Devon CommissionIts ReportArrival of the Potato DiseaseThe FamineThe Relief Committee of the Society of FriendsThe Famine in UlsterA Description of Cork and SkibbereenDemoralisation of the PopulationPolicy of the Whig CabinetLord George Bentinck's Railway PlanFailure of the new Poor Law and of the Public WorksThe Temporary Relief ActFather MathewPrivate BenevolenceMunificence of the United States.In the House of Commons, too, the Speaker, Sir John Cust, was removed by death at the same moment, and Sir Fletcher Norton was elected in his place. On the 22nd of January, the same day that Sir Fletcher Norton was made Speaker of the House of Commons, the Marquis of Rockingham moved in the Lords for an inquiry into the state of the nation. The crumbling down of the Cabinet continued. James Grenville resigned; Dunning, the Solicitor-General, and General Conway, followed; and on the very day of Lord Rockingham's motion, the Duke of Grafton himself laid down the Seals. The whole of his administration had thus vanished, like a mere fog ministry, at the first reappearance of the luminary, Chatham.

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