The Session of 1753 was distinguished by two remarkable Acts of Parliament. The one was for the naturalisation of the Jews, the other for the prevention of clandestine marriages. The Jew Bill was introduced into the Lords, and passed it with singular ease, scarcely exciting an objection from the whole bench of bishops; Lord Lyttelton declaring that "he who hated another man for not being a Christian was not a Christian himself." But in the Commons it raised a fierce debate. On the 7th of May, on the second reading, it was assailed by loud assertions that to admit the Jews to such privileges was to dishonour the Christian faith; that it would deluge the kingdom with usurers, brokers, and beggars; that the Jews would buy up the advowsons, and thus destroy the Church; that it was flying directly in the face of God and of Prophecy, which had declared the Jews should be scattered over the face of the earth, without any country or fixed abode. Pelham ridiculed the fears about the Church, showing that, by their own rigid tenets, the Jews could neither enter our Church nor marry our women, and could therefore never touch our religion, nor amalgamate with us as a people; that as to civil offices, unless they took the Sacrament, they could not be even excisemen or custom-house officers. The Bill passed by a majority of ninety-five to sixteen; but the storm was only wafted from the Parliament to the public. Out-of-doors the members of Parliament, and especially the bishops, were pursued with the fiercest rancour and insult. Members of the Commons were threatened by their constituents with the loss of their seats for voting in favour of this Bill; and one of them, Mr. Sydenham, of Exeter, defended himself by declaring that he was no Jew, but travelled on the Sabbath like a Christian. The populace pursued the members and the bishops in the streets, crying, "No Jews! No Jews! No wooden shoes!" In short, such was the popular fury, that the Duke of Newcastle was glad to bring in a Bill for the repeal of his Act of Naturalisation on the very first day of the next Session, which passed rapidly through both Houses.
[See larger version]Affairs had now assumed such an aspect that the different sections of the Opposition saw the necessity of coalescing more, and attending zealously; but still they were divided as to the means to be pursued. A great meeting was held on the 27th of November at the Marquis of Rockingham's, to decide on a plan of action. It was concluded to move for a committee on the state of the nation, and Chatham being applied to, advised that the very next day notice should be given that such a motion should be made on Tuesday next, the 2nd of December. The motion was made, the committee granted, and in it the Duke of Richmond moved for the production of the returns of the army and navy in America and Ireland. Whilst Lord North—who, if he had been his own master, would have resigned—was refusing to produce the necessary papers, the Lords consented to this measure; and at this very moment came news of the surrender at Saratoga, which was speedily confirmed.
RETREAT OF THE ROYALISTS FROM TOULON. (See p. 423.)Before the close of 1792 the French resolved to send an ambassador to the United States to demand a return of the aid given to the Americans in their revolution, by declaration of war against Great Britain. M. Genet was dispatched for this purpose at the beginning of 1793. Still neutrality was maintained, though our ambassador was withdrawn from Paris, and M. Chauvelin was no longer recognised in an official capacity by the British Court. This gentleman, however, continued in London, ignoring the loss of his official character, and officiously pressing himself on the attention of Ministers as still French plenipotentiary. Lord Grenville was repeatedly obliged to remind him that he had no power to correspond with him officially. He, however, informed him privately that, if the French Government wished to be duly recognised in Great Britain, they must give up their assumed right of aggression on neighbouring countries and of interference with established Governments. The French Girondist Ministers took advantage of this letter which Chauvelin transmitted to them to send a reply, in which, however, having now invaded Holland, they gave no intimation of any intention of retiring. They even declared that it was their intention to go to war with Britain; and if the British Government did not comply with their desires, and enter into regular communication with them, they would prepare for war. Lord Grenville returned this letter, informing Chauvelin again that he could receive no official correspondence from him in a private capacity. This was on the 7th of January, 1793; Chauvelin continued to press his communications on Lord Grenville, complaining of the Alien Bill, and on the 18th presented letters of credence. Lord Grenville informed him, in reply, that his Majesty in the present circumstances could not receive them. These circumstances were the trial and conviction of Louis XVI. On the 24th arrived the news of Louis's execution, and Chauvelin immediately received passports for himself and suite, and an order to quit the kingdom within eight days. This order created the utmost exultation in the French Convention, for the Jacobins were rabid for war with all the world, and on the 1st of February the Convention declared war against Britain, and the news reached London on the 4th. Such was the Ministerial explanation.
The regathering of Parliament, on the 11th of November, was distinguished by two circumstances of very unequal interest. The Prince of Wales, having arrived at his majority, took his seat as Duke of Cornwall, as it was well known, intending to vote for a great measure which Fox was introducing regarding India. We shall now almost immediately enter on the narration of the important events which had been transpiring in India during the American war. It is sufficient here to observe that these were of a nature to give the most serious concern and alarm to all well-wishers of the country, and of the unfortunate natives of that magnificent peninsula. Fox's measure for the reform and restraint of the East India Company was comprehended in two Bills, the first proposing to vest the affairs of the Company in the hands of sixteen directors, seven of them to be appointed by Parliament, and afterwards sanctioned by the Crown, and nine of them to be elected by the holders of stock. These were to remain in office four years; the seven Parliament nominees to be invested with the management of the territorial possessions and revenues of the Company; the nine additional to conduct the commercial affairs of the Company under the seven chief directors; and both classes of directors to be subject to removal at the option of the king, on an address for the purpose from either House of Parliament. The second Bill related principally to the powers to be vested in the Governor-General and Council, and their treatment of the natives.Mar had left London on the 2nd of August to raise the Highlands. In order to blind the agents of Government he ordered a royal levée on the 1st, and on the following night got on board a collier bound for Newcastle, attended by Major-General Hamilton and Colonel Hay. From Newcastle they got to the coast of Fife in another vessel. On the 6th of September he raised the standard of the Chevalier at Kirkmichael, a village of Braemar. He was then attended by only sixty men, and the Highland chiefs, extremely alive to omens, were startled by the gilt ball falling from the summit of the pole as it was planted in the ground. The standard was consecrated by prayers, and he was in a few days joined by about five hundred of his own vassals. The gentlemen who came on horseback, only about twenty at first, soon became several hundreds, and were named the Royal Squadron. The white cockade was assumed as the badge of the insurgent army, and clan after clan came in; first the Mackintoshes, five hundred in number, who seized on Inverness. James was proclaimed by Panmure at Brechin, by the Earl Marshal at Aberdeen, by Lord Huntly at Gordon, and by Graham, the brother of Claverhouse, at Dundee. Colonel Hay, brother of the Earl of Kinnaird, seized Perth, and in a very short time the country north of the Tay was in the hands of the insurgents.
The massacre of Savenay had not settled La Vendée. In the spring of 1794 armed parties were again on foot. The largest body was that under Charette, posted on the Isle Noirmoutier, to which many of the fugitives who escaped from the massacre of Savenay betook themselves. Amongst these was the wounded General D'Elbée, with his wife, and a brother of Cathelinau. Charette quitted the isle to make an attack on some of the Republican troops left in small bodies in the country, consigning the care of the sick and wounded to the protection of a garrison of one thousand eight hundred men. This garrison was soon corrupted by the Republican general, Turreau; it surrendered, and D'Elbée and his wife were both shot, and the sick and wounded treated with merciless cruelty. This was about the only place of any strength left the Vendéans; but a worse misfortune was at hand. The young and chivalrous Henri La Roche-Jaquelein, marching, at the head of a body of his own peasantry, between Trementine and Nouaillé, met two Republican soldiers. The count generously offered them quarter; but, instead of accepting it, one of them instantly levelled his musket and shot him through the head. The two soldiers were immediately dispatched by his followers and, supposing that a Republican column must be at hand, they buried the three hastily in one grave and fled. The young count was only in his twenty-first year, and with him died the hopes and confidence of his peasantry. Stofflet succeeded him in the command of his people, but Charette might be considered the Commander-in-Chief of the Vendéans.Mr. Vandeleur, made judge of Queen's Bench 3,300
EXPULSION OF THE PROFESSORS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ANTWERP. (See p. 355.)In prosecution, however, of his unrighteous engagement to Catherine, he mustered the large army he had engaged to bring against Turkey, and in February, 1788, he made a formal proclamation of war, having no cause of hostility to assign of his own, but merely that his alliance with Russia demanded that he should support that power in its equally lawless invasion of Turkey. The Prince of Saxe-Coburg, who commanded one division of Joseph's army, entered Moldavia, and spent the whole campaign nearly in the siege and reduction of the fortress of Choczim. The Emperor himself accompanied another division, the destination of which was the renewal of the siege of Belgrade. He had been led by Catherine to hope, as his reward for the co-operation, the recovery of Bosnia and Servia, the acquisition of Moldavia and Wallachia, and the extension of his boundaries to the Dnieper. But, having waited some time for the junction of the Russians, Joseph's army assembled on the banks of the Danube in February, and occupied itself in securing the banks of that river and of the Save. Joseph himself joined it in April, accompanied by his favourite marshal and counsellor, Lacy, and having also with him, but paying little attention to him or his advice, the brave and able Laudohn, who had so successfully coped with Frederick of Prussia in Silesia. On the 24th he took the little fortress of Szabatch, whilst another part of his army suffered a defeat from the Turks at Dobitza. He then sat down before Belgrade, but carried on the siege with such slackness as to disgust his own troops and astonish all Europe. He was at length roused by the advance of the vizier, Yussuff, who was coming rapidly down upon him. At his approach, Joseph precipitately retreated behind the Save, while Yussuff threw bridges over the Danube at Cladova, broke the Austrian cordon by the defeat of a portion of the forces of General Wartesleben on the heights of Meadiha, and swept through the banat of Temeswar, Joseph's own territory, which he held, and threatened to invade Hungary. Joseph hastened with forty thousand men to support Wartesleben, leaving General Laudohn to conduct the war in Croatia. The army was delighted to have Laudohn at their head instead of the Emperor. He led it on the very day of his arrival against the fortress of Dobitza, which he took; he then passed the Save, drove the Turks before him, defeated seven thousand of the enemy before Novi, and took that place, where his operations were suspended by the winter. Joseph gained little credit by his junction with Wartesleben. The Turks attacked him, and, though they were for the moment repulsed, the Emperor retreated in a dark night, and Turks and Austrians resumed their former positions. After taking Verplanka, the campaign ended with a three months' truce. But the Austrians had suffered more severely from the miasma of the marshes of the Danube and Save than from the Turks.Pitt, though he remained determined against our continuing to send soldiers to Germany, was so elated at the success of Frederick that, on the meeting of Parliament, on the 1st of December, he supported the vote of six hundred and seventy thousand pounds as a subsidy to Prussia, George having entered into a new convention with Frederick to defend his Electorate. Pitt, on the same occasion, pronounced a glowing eulogium on Clive's proceedings in India. This great Minister had, in fact, formed the most extensive designs for the colonial aggrandisement of England, and the repulse of France in those quarters. At his suggestion, Lord Loudon had been sent to North America, and as he had failed to render any service, General Abercrombie had gone out to supersede him. Pitt already, however, had his eye on a young officer, Wolfe, whom he deemed the true hero for that service; whilst, on the opposite side of the globe, he was watching the proceedings of another young officer with immense pleasure—namely, Clive. These two remarkable men, under the fostering genius of Pitt, were destined to destroy the ascendency of France in those regions, and to lay the foundations of British power on a scale of splendour beyond all previous conception.
THE FLIGHT OF LAWLESS. (See p. 283.)The Emigrants had continued to flock to Coblenz, and their number, with their families, now amounted to nearly one hundred thousand of the most wealthy and influential class in France. They continued to make preparations for war, and it is no wonder that the people of France beheld their menacing attitude with uneasiness. Though the king publicly wrote letters to the Emigrants, desiring them to return to their country, and employ themselves as good citizens under the Constitution, there was a strong suspicion that he privately gave them different advice. That the king did maintain a secret correspondence with some of the insurgents is certain; but it is neither proved, nor does it appear probable, that he sanctioned their intention of making war on the country. But their obstinate absence drove the Assembly now to such severe measures against them as compelled Louis to exercise his veto in their favour, and he thus destroyed his popularity with the public, and caused himself to be considered as really in league with the Emigrants. Nevertheless, it was the advice of all the king's Ministers, as well as it appears to have been his own feeling, that they should return, for they might have added immensely to the influence in favour of the throne. Louis, therefore, again exhorted the Emigrants to return; but they continued inflexible. He next wrote to the officers of the army and navy, deploring the information that he had received that they were quitting the service, and that he could not consider those his friends who did not, like himself, remain at their posts; but this was equally ineffectual, and the Minister of War reported to the Assembly that one thousand nine hundred officers had deserted. The Assembly was greatly incensed; the Girondists deemed it a good opportunity to force the king to deal a blow at the nobility and at his own brothers. On the 20th of October Brissot ascended the tribune, and demanded measures of severity against the Emigrants. At the close of the debate a decree was passed requiring the king's brothers to return to France within three months, on pain of forfeiting all their rights as citizens, and their claims as princes on the succession to the Crown. On the 9th of November a second decree was passed, declaring that all Frenchmen assembled on the frontiers were suspected of conspiracy against the country; that all such as should continue there till the 1st of January should be treated as traitors; that princes and public functionaries should become amenable to the same punishments; that the incomes of all such Emigrants, from lands, moneys, or offices, should from the present moment be sequestrated; that a court should be appointed in January to try them; and that any Frenchman, after this, crossing the frontiers, or found guilty of endeavouring to seduce the people from their allegiance, should be put to death.详情
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