The Ministry of Addington was felt to be utterly inadequate to the difficulties of the times. The country felt that Pitt or Fox must soon be called to the helm. Addington had shown a desire to strengthen his administration by bringing into it George Tierney, whom he had appointed Treasurer of the Navy and a Privy Councillor. Pitt, who had an intense dislike to Tierney—with whom he had, in 1798, fought a duel—showed increasing determination, from the introduction of Tierney to the Cabinet, to oppose the Ministry of Addington with all his vigour. An opportunity was given him on the 27th of February. The Hon. Sir Charles Yorke, the Secretary-at-War, had introduced a Bill for consolidating all the existing laws respecting the volunteers. In the debate on the second reading of this Bill on this day, a question was incidentally introduced by Sir Robert Lawley as to the exact state of the king's health, which, he said, concerned the safety of the country as much as the affairs of the volunteers. Fox followed up this idea, and demanded more perfect information on this subject from Ministers. He declared that the House had no information on this important subject, and he asked whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer really had any. He supported the motion for an adjournment which Sir Robert Lawley had made, in order that the House might be put in possession of the truth. Fox made it felt that he was looking forward to the fact of a regency. Addington, on this, declared that there was no necessity for any serious measures, that he was persuaded that the king's indisposition would be of short duration. Pitt made some strong observations on the conduct of Ministers in keeping Parliament in the dark on this head, though he opposed the adjournment.The year 1816 was a most melancholy year. Both agricultural and manufacturing labourers rose in great masses to destroy machinery, to which, and not to the temporary poverty of the whole civilised world, exhausted by war, they attributed the glut of manufactured goods, and the surplus of all kinds of labour. In Suffolk and Norfolk, and on the Isle of Ely, the agricultural labourers and fen-men destroyed the threshing-machines, attacked mills and farms, pulled down the houses of butchers and bakers, and marched about in great bands, with flags inscribed "Bread or blood!" In Littleport and Ely shops and public-houses were ransacked, and the soldiers were called out to quell the rioters, and much blood was shed, and numbers were thrown into prison, of whom thirty-four were condemned to death, and five executed. The colliers and workers in the iron mines and furnaces of Staffordshire and Warwickshire, as well as in the populous districts of South Wales, were thrown out of work, and the distress was terrible. The sufferings and consequent ferments in Lancashire were equally great. In Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Derbyshire, the Luddites broke out again, as they had done in 1812, and by night demolished the stocking-frames and the machinery in the cotton-mills. Great alarm existed everywhere, and on the 29th of July a meeting was called at the "City of London" Tavern to consider the means of relieving the distress, the Duke of York taking the chair, the Dukes of Kent and Cambridge, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and others attending. Many palliatives were proposed, but Lord Cochrane and other reformers declared that the only effectual remedy would be the abolition of the Corn Law. Soup-kitchens were recommended, but in Scotland these were spurned at as only insults to the sufferers; at Glasgow the soup-kitchen was attacked, and its coppers and materials destroyed; and at Dundee the people helped themselves by clearing a hundred shops of their provisions.
Upon the formation of the Shelburne Cabinet, and the news of Rodney's victory over De Grasse, the negotiations were still continued, Mr. Grenville only being recalled, and Mr. Alleyne Fitzherbert, afterwards Lord St. Helens, being put in his place. France, Spain, Holland, were all groaning under the cost and disasters of the war, yet keeping up an air of indifference, in order to enhance their demands. The Americans were more decided, for they were stimulated by the accounts of the wretched condition of affairs at home. It was represented to Franklin by Congress, that, however France or Spain might delay proposals for peace, it was necessary for the United States. The position of Franklin, nevertheless, was extremely difficult. There was the treaty of alliance between France and the States of 1778, strictly stipulating that neither party should conclude either peace or truce without the other. What added to the difficulty was, that France had, within the last two years, shown an unusual interest and activity of assistance. Franklin, in order to strengthen his hands for the important crisis, requested that other commissioners might be sent to Paris; and John Jay quickly arrived from Spain, John Adams from Holland, and Henry Laurens from London. The American Commissioners soon became strongly impressed with the sentiment that France and Spain were keeping back a peace solely for their own objects; and this was confirmed by a letter of M. de Marbois, the secretary of the French legation at Philadelphia, which had been seized by an English cruiser, and had been laid by Mr. Fitzherbert before them. This letter appeared to be part of a diplomatic correspondence between the French Minister, Vergennes, and the French Minister in America, which threw contempt on the claim which America set up to a share of the Newfoundland fisheries. It created a strong belief that France was endeavouring to keep America in some degree dependent on her; and Jay and Adams were extremely incensed at Vergennes, and not only accused Franklin of being blindly subservient to the French Court, but it made them resolve that no time should be lost in effecting a separate treaty. Vergennes contended for the rights of the Indian nations between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi, and of Spain on the lower Mississippi, and this the American Commissioners perceived to be an attempt to divide and weaken their territory. A private and earnest negotiation for peace with England was therefore entered upon as soon as a severe illness of Franklin permitted.
Before another attempt was made to open the portals of the Legislature the question was brought to a practical issue by an event similar to the Clare election, by which O'Connell forced on the decision with regard to Catholic Emancipation. The City of London had returned Baron Rothschild as one of its members; and at the morning sitting on the 26th of July, 1850, he presented himself at the table to take the oaths. When the clerk presented the New Testament, he said, "I desire to be sworn on the Old Testament." Sir Robert Inglis, in a voice tremulous with emotion, exclaimed—"I protest against that." The Speaker then ordered Baron Rothschild to withdraw. An animated debate followed as to whether the Baron could be sworn in that way, although he declared that that was the form of oath most binding upon his conscience. He presented himself a second time, when there was another long debate. Ultimately, on the 6th of August, to which the matter was adjourned, the Attorney-General moved two resolutions—first, that Baron Rothschild was not entitled to vote in the House till he took the oath in the form prescribed by law; and, second, that the House would take the earliest opportunity in the next Session to consider the oath of abjuration, with a view to the relief of the Jews. These resolutions were carried—the first, by a majority of 92 to 66; the second, by 142 to 106.But Buonaparte did not content himself with stabs at the reputation of his enemies—he resorted to his old practices of assassination. The booksellers of Germany, ignoring the dominance of Buonaparte in their country, though he had completely silenced the press in France, dared to publish pamphlets and articles against the French invasion and French rule in Germany. Buonaparte ordered Berthier to seize a number of these publishers, and try them by court-martial, on the plea that they excited the inhabitants to rise and massacre his soldiers. Amongst the booksellers thus arrested was John Philip Palm, of Nuremberg. The charge against him was that he had published a pamphlet entitled, "L'Allemagne dans son profond abaissement." This production was attributed to M. Gentz, a writer who was most damaging to the influence of Buonaparte, and Palm was offered his pardon if he would give up the author. He refused. Nuremberg, though occupied by French soldiers, was under the protection of Prussia, which was, just now, no protection at all. Palm was carried off to Braunau, in Austria. This place was still occupied by Buonaparte, in direct violation of the Treaty of Pressburg; so that Buonaparte, in the seizure and trial of Palm, was guilty of the breach of almost every international and civil law; for, had Palm been the citizen of a French city, his offence being a mere libel did not make him responsible to a military tribunal. The French colonels condemned him to be shot, and the sentence was immediately executed on the 26th of August. The indignation and odium which this atrocious act excited, not only throughout Germany, but throughout the civilised world, caused Buonaparte, with his usual disregard of truth, to say that the officers had done all this without any orders from him, but out of their own too officious zeal.
From the Picture by T. R. HARDY.CHAPTER XVII. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).
Murat hastened in disguise to Naples to consult with his wife, who had as much courage and more judgment than he had; but this availed him nothing. On the 20th of May his generals signed a convention with the Austrians at Casa Lanza, a farmhouse near Capua, to surrender Capua on the 21st, and Naples on the 23rd, on condition that all the Neapolitan officers who took the oath of allegiance to King Ferdinand should retain their respective ranks, honours, and estates. At this news Murat fled out of Naples, and, with a very small attendance, crossed over in a fisherman's boat to the island of Ischia, and his wife went on board the vessel of Commodore Campbell, which, however, she was only able to effect by a guard of three hundred English sailors and marines, for the lazzaroni were all in insurrection. Commodore Campbell, having received Caroline Buonaparte, her property and attendants on board his squadron, then sailed to Gaeta, where were the four children of Murat, took them on board, and conveyed them altogether to Trieste, the Emperor of Austria having given Madame Murat free permission to take up her residence in Austria, under the name of the Countess of Lipano.
There was also a vast deal of decorations of ceilings and staircases still going on, and foreign artists flocked over to execute it. Laguerre, a Frenchman, succeeded Verrio in this department, and his works yet remain at Hampton Court, Burleigh, Blenheim, and other places. Laguerre was appointed to paint the cupola of St. Paul's, designs having been offered also by Antonio Pellegrini, who had thus embellished Castle Howard; but their claims were overruled in favour of Sir James Thornhill. Besides these, there were Lafosse, who had decorated Montagu House, Amiconi, a Venetian, and others, who executed many hundred square yards of such work in England. Such was the fashion for these foreign decorators, that when a native artist appeared equal to any one of them in skill and talent, and superior to most, he found himself paid at a very inferior and invidious rate.Whilst Burgoyne had been looking in vain for aid from New York, Sir Henry Clinton, at length daring the responsibility of a necessary deed, had set out with three thousand men, in vessels of different kinds, up the Hudson. On the 6th of October—eleven days before Burgoyne signed the capitulation—Clinton set out. Leaving one thousand men at Verplank's Point, he crossed to the other bank with his remaining two thousand, and landed them at Stony Point, only twelve miles from Fort Montgomery. He advanced with one-half of his force to storm Fort Clinton, and dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell to attack Fort Montgomery. Both forts were to be attacked, if possible, at the same instant, to prevent the one from aiding the other. The simultaneous assaults took place about sunset. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell was killed leading his column against Fort Montgomery, but his brave troops entered and drove the garrison of eight hundred men from the place. Clinton found the approach to the fort of his own name much more arduous. But on went our brave fellows till they reached the foot of the works, where, having no ladders, they hoisted one another on their shoulders to the embrasures, through which they pushed past the cannon, and drove the Americans from their guns, and across the rampart, at the points of their bayonets. It was dark by the time the forts were taken, but the Americans soon threw light enough on the scene by setting fire to several vessels which were moored close under the guns of the forts. Had the English been disposed to risk the attempt to save them, they were prevented by several strong booms and chains thrown across the river. These they afterwards broke through, and, on the 13th of October, at the very moment that Burgoyne was making his first overtures for surrender, the English troops under General Vaughan ascended, in small frigates, as far as Esopus Creek, only thirty miles overland to Saratoga. But Burgoyne having now surrendered, and Gates being at liberty to send down strong reinforcements to co-operate with Putnam, the English vessels and troops were recalled, and returned to New York. Such was the campaign of 1777; equally remarkable for the valour of the British troops, and for their misfortunes; for the imbecility of their Government, and the incapacity or rashness of their commanders.
CAPTURE OF WOLFE TONE. (See p. 464.)
The sum of twenty millions was divided into nineteen shares, one for each of the colonies, proportioned to the number of its registered slaves, taken in connection with the market price of slaves in that colony, on an average of eight years, ending with 1830. But no money was payable in any colony until it should have been declared by an Order in Council that satisfactory provision had been made by law in such colony for giving effect to the Emancipation Act. Two of them were so perverse as to decline for several years to qualify for the reception of the money; but others acted in a different spirit. Believing that the system of apprenticeship was impolitic, they declined to take advantage of it, and manumitted their slaves at once. Antigua was the first to adopt this wise course. Its slaves were all promptly emancipated, and their conduct fully justified the policy; for on Christmas Day, 1834, for the first time during thirty years, martial law was not proclaimed in that island. Thus, the effect of liberty was peace, quietness, and confidence. Bermuda followed this good example, as did also the smaller islands, and afterwards the large island of Barbadoes; and their emancipation was hailed by the negroes with religious services, followed by festive gatherings. Jamaica, and some other islands, endeavoured to thwart the operation of the new law, as far as possible, and took every advantage in making the apprentices miserable, and wreaking upon them their spite and malice. They met with harsher treatment than ever, being in many instances either savagely ill-used or inhumanly neglected. Considering their provocations, it was generally admitted that they behaved on the whole very well, enduring with patience and resignation the afflictions which they knew must come to an end in a few years. The total number of slaves converted into apprentices on the 1st of August, 1834, was 800,000. The apprenticeship did not last beyond the shorter time prescribed, and on the 1st of August, 1838, there was not a slave in existence under the British Crown, save only in the island of Mauritius, which was soon required by instructions from the Home Government to carry the Act into effect.Mr. Charles Osborne, made judge of the King's Bench ￡3,300
Such was the state of things in Ireland when the news of the French Revolution arrived and produced an electric effect throughout the country. The danger of permitting such atrocious incitements to civil war to be circulated among the people was obvious to every one, and yet Lord Clarendon allowed this propagandism of rebellion and revolution to go on with impunity for months.? Mitchel might have been arrested and prosecuted for seditious libels any day; the newsvendors who hawked the United Irishman through the streets might have been taken up by the police, but the Government still remained inactive. Encouraged by this impunity, the revolutionary party had established confederate clubs, by means of which they were rapidly enlisting and organising the artisans of the city, at whose meetings the most treasonable proceedings were adopted.详情
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