In this uneasy state of things Austria very unnecessarily put the match to the political train, and threw the whole of the south of Europe again into war. Don Joseph Molina, the Spanish Ambassador at Rome, being appointed Inquisitor-General at Spain, commenced his journey homewards, furnished with a passport from the Pope, and an assurance of safety from the Imperial Minister. Yet, notwithstanding this, he was perfidiously arrested by the Austrian authorities and secured in the citadel of Milan. The gross insult to Spain, and equally gross breach of faith, so exasperated the King and Queen of Spain that they would listen to nothing but war. The earnest expostulations of Alberoni, delivered in the form of a powerful memorial, were rejected, and he was compelled to abandon the cherished hopes of peaceful improvement and make the most active preparations for war.
"MY DEAR LORD ANGLESEY,—I have been very sensible, since I received your last letter, that the correspondence which that letter terminated had left us in a relation towards each other which ought not to exist between the Lord-Lieutenant and the king's Minister, and could not continue to exist without great inconvenience and injury to the king's service. I refrained from acting upon this feeling till I should be able to consult with my colleagues, and I took the earliest opportunity which the return to town of those who were absent afforded to obtain their opinion, which concurred with my own. Under these circumstances, having taken the king's pleasure upon the subject, his Majesty has desired me to inform you that he intends to relieve you from the Government of Ireland. I will shortly notify the arrangements which will become necessary in consequence.
REVENUE CUTTERS CAPTURING AN AMERICAN SMUGGLING VESSEL. (See p. 184.)
ARREST OF MAJOR ANDRé. (See p. 278.)The Duke of Wellington's declaration against Reform had all the effect of an arbitrary prohibition thrown in the way of a violent passion. The effect was tremendous; a revolutionary flame was kindled everywhere at the same instant, as if the whole atmosphere—north, south, east, and west—was wrapt in a sheet of electric fire. No words from any statesman in English history ever produced such an impression. The transports became universal; all ranks were involved; all heads, save the strongest and most far-seeing, were swept away by the torrent of excitement. John Bull's patience was gone. Parliamentary Reform was right; the time was come when it should be granted; and no man, not even the Duke of Wellington, should be allowed to withstand the nation's will. The unpopularity of the Duke with his own party swelled for the moment the current of the movement. High Churchmen declared that Reform would raise a barrier against Papal aggression, which they felt to be necessary, as experience had shown that the existing Constitution afforded no security. The old Tories, in their resentment on account of the concession to the Catholic claims, appeared to be ready to support the popular demands, if by so doing they could mortify or overthrow the Government. The inhabitants of the towns, intelligent, active, progressive, longed for Parliamentary Reform, because they believed it would remove the impediments which retarded the advancement of society. There were only two classes of the community who were believed at the time to be opposed to the Reform movement: first, the aristocratic Whigs, because Parliamentary Reform would destroy the influence by which they had for a century after the Revolution governed the country, but their accidental position as popular leaders obliged them for the time to go with the current; second, the class to whom Mr. Cobbett applied the term "borough-mongers," including all those who had property in Parliamentary seats, and could sell them, or bestow them, as they thought proper. The former, it was argued, were obliged to conceal their attachment to the old system, which had secured to a few great families a monopoly of government and its emoluments. The latter had become so odious to the nation that their opposition availed little against the rapid tide of public feeling and the tremendous breakers of popular indignation.[See larger version]
At the Congress, which began in June, William Stanhope, Horace Walpole, and Poyntz represented England. At Paris Lord Waldegrave supplied the place of Horace Walpole; and at the Hague the Earl of Chesterfield ably managed the national interests. At the Congress there was a frequent exchange of memorials and counter-memorials, but no real business was done. The only things which grew apparent were that France and Spain were becoming more reconciled, and that the league between Spain and the Emperor was fast dissolving.
The Council now recalled the English troops from Rohilcund; and Bristow demanded, in the name of the Council, from Asaph-ul-Dowlah, the young Nabob, a full payment of all arrears; and announced that, Sujah Dowlah being dead, the treaty with him was at an end. Under pressure of these demands, Bristow, by instructions from the new regnant members of the Council, compelled the young Nabob to enter into a fresh treaty with them; and in this treaty they introduced a clause to the full as infamous as anything which Hastings had done. In return for renewing the possession of the provinces of Corah and Allahabad, they compelled him to cede to them the territory of Cheyte Sing, the Rajah of Benares, though this did not at all belong to the Nabob of Oude, and was, moreover, guaranteed to Cheyte Sing by Hastings, in solemn treaty. The revenue of Cheyte Sing, thus lawlessly taken possession of, amounted to twenty-two millions of rupees; and the Nabob of Oude was also, on his own account, bound to discharge all his father's debts and engagements to the Company, and to raise greatly the pay to the Company's brigade. Hastings utterly refused to sanction these proceedings; but the Directors at home, who cared not how or whence money came, warmly approved of the transactions.WEDDING IN THE FLEET. (From a Print of the Eighteenth Century.)
In the meantime the Irish State trial, and the affairs of Ireland generally, were the subject of frequent discussions in both Houses of Parliament. On the 13th of February the Marquis of Normanby moved a resolution condemnatory of the policy of the Government, contrasting it with his own Administration, with the treatment of Canada, and with the liberal policy by which, he said, Austria had conquered disaffection in Lombardy. He was answered by Lord Roden and others, and on a division his motion was rejected by a majority of 175 to 78. On the same day the state of Ireland was introduced by Lord John Russell, in a speech which occupied three hours. The debate that followed lasted for nine days. The principal speakers who took part in it were Mr. Wyse, Sir James Graham, Mr. Young, Sir George Grey, Lord Eliot, Mr. Shaw, the Recorder of Dublin, Lord Howick, Lord Stanley, Mr. Macaulay, Sir William Follett, Sir Thomas Wilde, Sir F. Pollock, the English Attorney-General, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Sheil, and Sir Robert Peel. The discussion turned mainly upon the question whether or not O'Connell had had a fair trial, and upon this the lawyers and the House pronounced opinions in harmony with the interests of their respective parties. But nearly every topic that could be mentioned was brought up in the course of the monster debate. Sir Robert Peel concluded a long and able speech in defence of his Government with the following beautiful peroration:—"I have a firm conviction that if there were calm and tranquillity in Ireland, there is no part of the British empire that would make such rapid progress in improvement. There are facilities for improvement and opportunities for it which will make the advance of Ireland more rapid than the advance of any other country. I will conclude, then, by expressing my sincere and earnest hope that this agitation, and all the evil consequences of it, may be permitted to subside; and hereafter, in whatever capacity I may be, I should consider that the happiest day of my life when I could see the beloved Sovereign of these realms fulfilling the fondest wishes of her heart, possessing a feeling of affection towards all her people, but mingling that affection with sympathy and tenderness towards Ireland. I should hail the dawning of that auspicious day, when she could alight like some benignant spirit on the shores of Ireland, and lay the foundations of a temple of peace; when she could, in accents which proceeded from the heart—spoken to the heart rather than to the ear—call upon her Irish subjects of all classes and of all denominations, Protestants and Roman Catholics, Saxon and Celt, to forget the difference of creed and of race, and to hallow that temple of peace which she should then found, with sacrifices still holier than those by which the temples of old were hallowed—by the sacrifice of those evil passions that dishonour our common faith, and prevent the union of heart and hand in defence of our common country."On the 12th of April Wellington entered Toulouse amid the acclamations of the people. But Lord Wellington was accused by the French of fighting the battle five days after the abdication of Buonaparte, and therefore incurring a most needless waste of life. The fact was, that it was not till the afternoon of the 12th of April that Colonel Cooke and the French Colonel, St. Simon, arrived at Toulouse, bringing the official information that Buonaparte had abdicated at Fontainebleau on the 4th. Thus it happened that the battle was fought a week before the knowledge of the peace was received. Moreover, we have the evidence of Soult's own correspondence, that on the 7th of April, after he had heard of the entrance of the Allies into Paris, he was determined to fight another battle, and for the very reason that the Allies had entered Paris. When the English and French colonels arrived at Soult's camp with the same news that they had communicated to Wellington, Soult refused to submit to the Provisional Government until he received orders from Napoleon; nor did he acknowledge this Government till the 17th, when Wellington was in full pursuit of him towards Castelnaudary. On the 18th a convention was signed between Wellington and Soult, and on the following day a like one was signed between Wellington and Suchet. On the 21st Lord Wellington announced to his army that hostilities were at an end, and thanked them "for their uniform discipline and gallantry in the field, and for their conciliatory conduct towards the inhabitants of the country."Lord Oxford's case was brought at length to a termination also in his favour. His friends having complained of the hardship of keeping him without a hearing for nearly two years, the 24th of June was appointed for the trial to take place in Westminster Hall. The Commons again met in committee to complete the evidence against him; but it was now found that Walpole, who was the chairman, and who had formerly pursued the inquiry with all eagerness, had suddenly cooled, and seldom came near the Committee; and they therefore appointed a new one. In fact, he and Townshend, out of opposition, were doing that secretly which they could not do openly without loss of character—they were exerting themselves in favour of their old antagonist, and they soon hit on a scheme for bringing him off without any trial at all. The Lords were persuaded to listen to any evidence in support of the charge of misdemeanour before they heard that on the grave charge of treason, and the result foreseen by the Opposition took place when the resolution was reported to the Commons. They immediately determined that it was an infringement of their privileges, and declined compliance with it. This was what Walpole and the then partisans, secret or open, of Lord Oxford, had foreseen. The Commons refusing to attend in Westminster Hall on the day fixed, the Lords returned to their own House, and passed a resolution declaring the Earl of Oxford acquitted, an announcement received by the people with acclamation. The Commons then demanded that Oxford should be excepted from the Act of Grace; but, notwithstanding, he was released from the Tower, and the Commons never renewed the impeachment.详情
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