Not only in Parliament, but everywhere the cry for Reform rose with the distress. Hampden Clubs were founded in every town and village almost throughout the kingdom, the central one being held at the "Crown and Anchor" in the Strand, London, its president being Sir Francis Burdett, and its leading members being William Cobbett, Major Cartwright, Lord Cochrane, Henry Hunt, and others. The object of these clubs was to prosecute the cause of Parliamentary reform, and to unite the Reformers in one system of action. With the spirit of Reform arose, too, that of cheap publications, which has now acquired such a vast power. William Cobbett's Political Register, on the 18th of November, 1816, was reduced from a shilling and a halfpenny to twopence, and thence-forward became a stupendous engine of Reform, being read everywhere by the Reformers, and especially by the working-classes in town and country, by the artisan in the workshop, and the shepherd on the mountain. The great endeavour of Cobbett was to show the people the folly of breaking machinery, and the wisdom of moral union.
[See larger version]Richard Hare, made Lord Ennismore, with patronage.[See larger version]
Pichegru, on his part, having driven back Clairfait, turned round on the Duke of York, who lay at Tournay. There he met with a severe repulse, and fell back with heavy loss; but Clairfait having again advanced to regain Courtrai, Pichegru once more engaged and defeated him. Clairfait then fell back into Flanders, to cover Ghent, Bruges, and Ostend. Pichegru, urged on against his better judgment by St. Just, who was the Commissioner from the Convention, sent Kleber and Marceau across the Sambre to attack General Kaunitz; but Kaunitz gave the French a severe defeat, killing four thousand of them; and had the Austrians been as rapid as they were brave, they might have nearly exterminated the whole of the French division. This success inspirited the Allies to advance actively, but the Duke of York, not taking into account the habitual slowness of German troops, shot ahead, expecting to fall in with Clairfait's columns at Turcoing; but there he only found the French, under Souham and Bonnaud, who well nigh enveloped him by their vast numbers, totally defeated, and nearly took him prisoner. This gave such a panic to the Austrians, that the entire army fell back, and Francis II., thoroughly discouraged, withdrew from the command and left it to the Prince of Coburg. The Duke of York rallied, and maintained his ground at Tournay against Pichegru, and Kaunitz followed up his advantage against Kleber and Moreau, driving them across the Sambre; but these were only temporary successes. Jourdain, finding no Prussians in the Moselle, drew nearer to the camp of Pichegru. There were various conflicts at Ypres, Charleroi, and on the plains of Fleurus. The Allies drove the French three times across the Sambre, but they returned with fresh and never-ending forces, and compelled the Allies to a general retreat. Bruges opened its gates to the French; Pichegru, aided by Moreau, compelled the Duke of York to retire successively on Oudenarde, Tournay, and Antwerp, places filled with the fame of Marlborough. At Antwerp the Duke of York was joined by Lord Moira, with ten thousand men, intended originally for La Vendée, but too late to prevent the massacre of Savenay. The English garrison quitted Ostend, and came round to Antwerp; and the British occupied that town, whilst Clairfait lay at Louvain, and the two armies, unitedly, protected Mechlin.CHAPTER X. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).But for Newcastle to form a Cabinet was no such easy matter. Pitt refused to take office with him unless he had the whole management of the war and foreign affairs. The king then agreed to send for Henry Fox, who accepted the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer; but Newcastle was so sensible of Fox's unpopularity that he was terrified at undertaking an Administration with Fox and without Pitt, though he was equally reluctant to let a Cabinet be formed without the former. For three months the fruitless endeavours to accomplish a Ministry went on, Parliament sitting all the time, and a great war commencing. Finally, the king and Newcastle were compelled to submit to the terms of "the Great Commoner," as they called Pitt, who became Secretary of State, with the management of the war and foreign affairs. Newcastle became again First Lord of the Treasury, but without one of his old supporters, and Legge Chancellor of the Exchequer; Holderness, a mere cipher, was the other Secretary of State; Anson was placed at the head of the Admiralty; Lord Temple was made Lord Privy Seal; and Pratt, an able lawyer and friend of Pitt, Attorney-General. Fox condescended to take the office of Paymaster of the Forces; and thus, after a long and severe struggle, the feeble aristocrats, who had so long managed and disgraced the country, were compelled to admit fresh blood into the Government in the person of Pitt. But they still entertained the idea that they only were the men, and that wisdom would die with them. One and all, even the otherwise sagacious Chesterfield, prognosticated only dishonour and ruin for such a plebeian appointment. "We are no longer a nation," said Chesterfield; "I never yet saw so dreadful a prospect."
Contemporary with Cowper was Mrs. Tighe, the author of "Psyche," an allegorical poem, in which the beauty of the sentiment made acceptable that almost exploded form of composition. But there was at this period a number of writers who had much more false than true sentiment. The euphuism of the reign of Queen Elizabeth broke forth in another fashion. A kind of poetical club was formed at Batheaston, the residence of Lady Miller, near Bath. She and her guests, amongst whom was Miss Seward, wrote verses, which they published under the title of "Poetical Amusements." A still more flaunting school set themselves up amongst the English at Florence, one of whom, a Mr. Robert Merry, dubbed himself "Della Crusca," whence the clique became known as the "Della Cruscan School." Amongst the members of it figured Mrs. Piozzi, the widow of Thrale the brewer, Boswell, Johnson's biographer, Mary Robinson, the younger Colman, and Holcroft, the dramatist, with others of less name. They addressed verses to each other in the most florid and extravagant style under the names of "Rosa Matilda," "Laura Maria," "Orlando," and the like. The fashion was infectious; and not only were the periodicals flooded by such silly mutual flatteries, but volumes were published full of them. Gifford, the editor of the Quarterly Review, and translator of Juvenal, attacked this frenzy in a satire called the "Baviad," and continued the attack in the "M?viad," which, however, was more particularly a censure on the degraded condition of the drama. This put an end to the nuisance, and Gifford won great fame by it; though, on referring to his two celebrated satires, we are surprised at their dulness, and are led to imagine that it was their heaviness which crushed these moths of literature. Gifford had himself a great fame in his day, which was chiefly based on his formidable position as editor of the Quarterly Review.
The proceedings of Parliament having ceased to occupy public attention, the time had come for political demonstrations of various kinds in the country, giving expression to the feelings that had been excited by the state of public affairs and the conduct of the Government. The first and most remarkable of these was a banquet, given at Dover, on the 30th of August, to the Duke of Wellington as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, at which nearly 2,000 persons sat down to dinner. The toast of the day was proposed by Lord Brougham, who occupied a peculiar position, as a Liberal ex-Chancellor opposing a Liberal Administration, and wishing to see them supplanted by their Conservative opponents. He was greeted with tumultuous cheering when he rose to propose the health of the Duke of Wellington. He had, according to Greville, intruded himself upon the company, and made a speech in which bombast alternated with eloquence. The reply of the Duke of Wellington was a perfect contrast to Brougham's oratorical flight, in its quietness and modesty. But if the great chiefs of the Conservative party were moderate in the expression of their feelings during the vacation, some of their followers went to the opposite extreme of violence and indiscretion. At a dinner of the Conservative Registration Society, on the 30th of October, Mr. Bradshaw, the member for Canterbury, dared to speak of the young Queen in the following terms:—"Brought up under the auspices of the citizen King of the Belgians, the serf of France, and guided by his influence, the Queen thinks if the monarchy lasts her time, it is enough," and so on. In proportion to the violence of the manifestations of disloyalty among the Tories, was the fervour of loyalty evinced by Mr. O'Connell and his followers in Ireland. At a meeting at Bandon, on the 5th of December, the famous agitator, in the midst of tremendous cheering, the entire assembly rising in response to the concluding appeal, said:—"We must be, we are, loyal to our young and lovely Queen. God bless her! We must be, we are, attached to the Throne, and to the lovely being by whom it is filled. She is going to be married. God bless the Queen! I am a father and a grandfather; and in the face of heaven I pray with as much honesty and fervency for Queen Victoria as I do for any of my own progeny."But far more important are the wondrous powers evolved from the study of heat. The pioneer in this branch of work was the Hon. H. Cavendish, who was born in 1731, and devoted his life, until his death in 1810, to the pursuits of science. He was followed by Dalton, who made several important discoveries in chemistry, particularly with reference to the gases, and in the doctrine of heat. With the greatest modesty and simplicity of character, he remained in the obscurity of the country, neither asking for approbation nor offering himself as an object of applause. In 1833, at the age of sixty-seven, he received a pension from Government, which he enjoyed till 1844, when he died. His discoveries may be said to have terminated at the age of forty, though he laboured for thirty years after. His first sketch of the atomic theory was propounded as early as 1807.
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