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Lord Shannon, for his patronage in the Commons ￡45,000On the 2nd of November the following letter was addressed to the Minister by Lord Stanley, containing an exposition of the grounds on which he dissented from the proposals submitted to the Cabinet:—
When he was removed, it was evident that the temporising system would do no longer. The head of the Cabinet must take one side or the other. The Prime Minister must be a friend or an enemy of progress—a Reformer or an anti-Reformer. In these circumstances the king had great difficulty in forming an Administration. The prostration of Lord Liverpool had come upon the political world "with the force of an earthquake," convulsing parties in the most violent and singular manner, and completely changing the aspect of affairs at Court and in the State. The Sovereign had before him, on one hand, Mr. Canning, the leader of the House of Commons, the most popular Minister, the most brilliant statesman in England since the days of Pitt. How could he put aside his claims to be Prime Minister? On the Tory side there was no statesman to whom the post could be safely entrusted. If Eldon could be kept in his place as Lord Chancellor, it was as much as could be expected at his time of life. The Duke of Wellington's military character, as well as his anti-Catholic feeling, prevented his being placed at the head of an Administration. Mr. Peel was considered too young to occupy so great a position. The latter was consulted, and gave it as his opinion that an anti-Catholic Ministry could not be formed. The issue was, that, after a fortnight's anxious suspense and difficulty, the king entrusted Mr. Canning with the formation of a Ministry. The task which he undertook was extremely delicate and difficult. He was greatly disliked by the chiefs of both parties. He belonged to no old aristocratic house. He had risen to the first position in the State by his genius and industry, by the wise and beneficent application of the most brilliant and commanding talents. These excited intense jealousy among those whose principal merit consisted in hereditary rank. When he had received the king's orders, though aware of their feelings towards him, he dealt with them in a frank and generous spirit. He wrote to his colleagues individually, courteously expressing his desire that the public service might still enjoy the advantages to be derived from the exercise of their administrative talents. Most of them answered evasively, pretending that they did not know who was to be Prime Minister, and postponing their decision till they had received that information. As soon as they learnt that they were to serve under Mr. Canning, the entire Administration, with very few exceptions, resigned. Mr. Peel did not share the antipathies of his aristocratic colleagues. Mr. Canning declared that he was the only seceding member of the Government that behaved well to him at this time; and so high was his opinion of that gentleman that he considered him to be his only rightful political heir and successor. He was not deceived on either of those points. Mr Peel, writing confidentially to Lord Eldon, on the 9th of April, expressed his feelings frankly, and they did him honour. His earnest wish was to see the Government retained on the footing on which it stood at the time of Lord Liverpool's misfortune. He was content with his own position as Home Secretary. Though differing from every one of his colleagues in the House of Commons on the Catholic question, he esteemed and respected them, and would consider it a great misfortune were his Majesty to lose the services of any of them, "but particularly of Canning." He was willing to retire alone if the rest of his colleagues, who did not feel the same difficulty, would consent to hold office with Canning. He advised the king that an exclusive Protestant Government could not be formed. He also said that he was out of the question as the head of a Government under the arrangement that he considered the best that could be made, namely, the reconstruction of the late Administration, "because it was quite impossible for Canning to acquiesce in his appointment." He was, however, ready to give Canning's Government his general support.
On the 23rd of December the committee met again in Fishamble Street, and resolved to address the Prince Regent on the invasion of their right to petition, appointing a general committee to meet again in Dublin on the 28th of February, 1812. In January, and at the commencement of February, Earl Fitzwilliam introduced the consideration of the state of Ireland, and Lord Morpeth proposed the same subject to the Commons, but both motions were rejected.
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."
Amid this melancholy manifestation of a convicted, yet dogged, treason against the people on the part of their rulers, many motions for reform and improvements in our laws were brought forward. On the part of Mr. Sturges Bourne, a committee brought in a report recommending three Bills for the improvement of the Poor Law: one for the establishment of select vestries, one for a general reform of the Poor Law, and one for revising the Law of Settlement. On the part of Henry Brougham, a Bill was introduced for appointment of commissioners to inquire into the condition of the charities in England for the education of the poor. There were many attempts to reform the Criminal Law, in which Sir Samuel Romilly especially exerted himself. One of these was to take away the penalty of death from the offence of stealing from a shop to the value of five shillings, another was to prevent arrests for libel before indictment was found, and another, by Sir James Mackintosh, to inquire into the forgery of Bank of England notes. There was a Bill brought in by Mr. Wynn to amend the Election Laws; and one for alterations in the Law of Tithes, by Mr. Curwen; another by Sir Robert Peel, father of the great statesman, for limiting the hours of labour in cotton and other factories; a Bill to amend the Law of Bankruptcy, and a Bill to amend the Copyright Act, by Sir Egerton Brydges; and finally a Bill for Parliamentary Reform, introduced by Sir Francis Burdett, and supported by Lord Cochrane, subsequently the Earl of Dundonald. All of these were thrown out, except the select Vestries Bill, Brougham's Bill to inquire into the public charities, a Bill for rewarding apprehenders of highway robbers and other offenders, and a Bill granting a million of money to build new churches. The cause of Reform found little encouragement from the Parliamentary majorities of the Sidmouths, Liverpools, and Castlereaghs. This list of rejections of projects of reform was far from complete; a long succession followed. The Scots came with a vigorous demand, made on their behalf by Lord Archibald Hamilton, for a sweeping reform of their burghs. Municipal reform was equally needed, both in Scotland and England. The whole system was flagrantly corrupt. Many boroughs were sinking into bankruptcy; and the elections of their officers were conducted on the most arbitrary and exclusive principles. The Scots had agitated this question before the outbreak of the French Revolution, but that and the great war issuing out of it had swamped the agitation altogether. It was now revived, but only to meet with a defeat like a score of other measures quite as needful. Lord Archibald Hamilton asked for the abolition of the Scottish Commissary Courts in conformity with the recommendation of a commission of inquiry in 1808; General Thornton called for the repeal of certain religious declarations to be made on taking office; and Dr. Phillimore for amendment of the Marriage Act of 1753; and numerous demands for the repeal of taxes of one kind or another all met the same fate of refusal.There was one object, however, to be gained which was deeply interesting to every true Briton in India as well as to the public at home, without which no victories however glorious, and no infliction of punishment however terrible, upon the enemy, would have been considered satisfactory—namely, the deliverance of the captives that were still held as hostages by Akbar Khan. On this subject the two generals, Pollock and Nott, held a consultation. Nott declared that the Government had thrown the prisoners overboard, and protested against taking any measures for their recovery. But Pollock was determined that the effort should be made, and took upon himself the responsibility of telling Nott to ignore his orders. Ellenborough, half-persuaded, sanctioned Pollock's remaining at Jelalabad until October, but commanded Nott to retire either by Quetta or Cabul. Nott and Pollock, however, disregarded these absurd orders, and the advance was continued. The duty of rescuing the prisoners was undertaken by Sale, whose own heroic wife was among them. He started in pursuit, taking with him a brigade from the army at Jelalabad. The captives had been hurried on towards the inhospitable regions of the Indian Caucasus, not suffered to sleep at night, and were stared at as objects of curiosity by the inhabitants of the villages through which they passed. They reached their destination, Maimene, on the 3rd of September, and there, in a short time, before Sale's brigade arrived, they had providentially effected their own ransom. The commander of their escort was Saleh Mahomed, a soldier of fortune, who had been at one time a soubahdar in Captain Hopkins's regiment of infantry, and had deserted with his men to Dost Mahomed. Between this man and Captain Johnson an intimacy sprang up, which the latter turned to account by throwing out hints that Saleh Mahomed would be amply rewarded, if, instead of carrying off his prisoners, he would conduct them in safety to the British camp. Days passed away without anything being done, till after their arrival at Maimene, when, on the 11th of September, Saleh Mahomed sent for Johnson, Pottinger, and Lawrence, and in a private room which had been appropriated to Lady Sale, he produced a letter which he had just received from Akbar Khan, directing him to convey the prisoners to a more distant prison-house. This seemed to be a sentence of hopeless captivity, but the officers' minds were soon relieved by another piece of intelligence—namely, a message from General Pollock that if Saleh Mahomed released the prisoners he should receive a present of 20,000 rupees, and a life pension of 1,000 rupees a month. Saleh said to them, "I know nothing of General Pollock, but if you three gentlemen will swear by your Saviour to make good to me what Synd Moortega Shah states that he is authorised to offer, I will deliver you over to your own people." The offer was gladly accepted; and an agreement was drawn up, in pursuance of which Saleh Mahomed and his European allies proclaimed their revolt to the people of Maimene and the surrounding country. They deposed the governor of the place, and appointed a more friendly chief in his stead. They supplied themselves with funds by seizing upon the property of a party of merchants who were passing that way. Major Pottinger assumed the functions of government, and issued proclamations, and called upon the chiefs to come in and make their salaam. But they might come for a different purpose, and hence they began to fortify themselves, and prepare for a very vigorous defence. While thus employed, a horseman was seen rapidly approaching from the Cabul side of the valley, who proved to be the bearer of glad tidings. The Jugduluk Pass had been forced; Akbar Khan had been defeated by General Pollock at Tizeen, and had fled, no one knew whither. This was delightful news indeed. The power of the oppressor was now broken, and the captives were free. Early next morning they started for Cabul, sleeping the first night upon stony beds under the clear moonlight; they were awakened by the arrival of a friendly chief, who brought a letter from Sir Richmond Shakespear, stating that he was on his way to Maimene with a party of horse. On the 17th of September Shakespear, with his cavalry, came up. Pushing on again, they were met by a large body of British cavalry and infantry, under the command of Sir Robert Sale. "In a little time the happy veteran had embraced his wife and daughter; and the men of the 13th had offered their delighted congratulations to the loved ones of their old commander. A royal salute was fired. The prisoners were safe in Sale's camp. The good Providence that had so long watched over the prisoners and the captives now crowned its mercies by delivering them into the hands of their friends. Dressed as they were in Afghan costume, their faces bronzed by much exposure, and rugged with beards and moustachios of many months' growth, it was not easy to recognise the liberated officers, who now came forward to receive the congratulations of their friends."
These godless atrocities, these enormous murders, beyond all historic precedent, proclaimed a people which had renounced God as well as humanity; and they soon proceeded to avow this fact, and to establish it by formal decree. In their rage for destroying everything old, there was nothing that escaped them. They altered the mode of computing time, and no longer used the Gregorian calendar, but dated all deeds from the first year of Liberty, which they declared to have commenced on the 22nd of September, 1792. The next and greatest achievement was to dethrone the Almighty, and erect the Goddess of Reason in His place. Under the auspices of the Goddess of Reason they did a very unreasonable thing: they deprived all working people and all working animals of one rest-day in every month. Instead of having the four weeks and four Sundays in a month, they decimalised the months, dividing them each into three decades, or terms of ten days each, so that there were only three rest-days, instead of four, in the month.Scarcely had Lord Exmouth reached home when he was ordered forth again to avenge this outrage, and he sailed from Plymouth on the 28th of July, 1816, with a fleet of twenty-five large and small ships. At Gibraltar he was joined by the Dutch Admiral Van Cappellan with five frigates and a sloop, to which were added a number of British gunboats. On the 27th of August Lord Exmouth sailed right into the formidable harbour of Algiers, and dispatched a messenger to the Dey, demanding instant and ample recompense for the outrage; the delivery of all Christian slaves in the kingdom of Algiers; the repayment of the money received by the Dey for the liberation of Sicilian and Sardinian slaves; the liberation of the British consul—who had been imprisoned—and of two boats' crews detained; and peace between Algiers and Holland. The messenger landed at eleven o'clock, and two hours were given the Dey to prepare his answer. The messenger remained till half-past two o'clock, and no answer arriving, he came off, and Lord Exmouth gave instant orders for the bombardment. The attack was terrible. The firing from the fleet, which was vigorously returned from the batteries in the town and on the mole, continued till nine in the evening. Then most of the Algerine batteries were knocked literally to pieces, but the firing did not cease till about eleven. No sooner was the assault over than a land wind arose and carried the fleet out of the harbour, so that the vessels were all out of gunshot by two o'clock in the morning. A wonderful spectacle then presented itself to the eyes of the spectators in the fleet. Nine Algerine frigates, a number of gunboats, the storehouses within the mole, and much of the town were in one huge blaze, and by this they could see that the batteries remained mere heaps of ruins. The next morning Lord Exmouth sent in a letter to the Dey with the offer of the previous day, saying, "If you receive this offer as you ought, you will fire three guns." They were fired. The Dey made apologies, and signed fresh treaties of peace and amity, which were not of long endurance. But within three days one thousand and eighty-three Christian slaves arrived from the interior, and were received on board and conveyed to their respective countries.
[See larger version]JOSEPH HUME.
THE EARL OF MAR RAISING THE PRETENDER'S STANDARD. (See p. 28.)The conditions first agreed upon were, that both England and France were to withdraw their support, either by men or money, to the war in Germany. France was to evacuate the few towns that she held there, as well as Cleve and Guelders. Minorca was to be restored in exchange for Belleisle, which thus fully justified Pitt's capture of that little and otherwise useless island. The fortifications of Dunkirk were to be reduced to the state required by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.详情
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