The Parliamentary proceedings of 1839 were closed by an elaborate review of the Session by Lord Lyndhurst, which he continued annually for some time while the Liberals were in power. This display took place on the 24th of August, when the noble and learned lord moved for a return of all Bills that had arrived from the House of Commons since the commencement of the Session, with the dates at which they were brought up. He could point to the fact that Ministers had with difficulty carried a colourless Jamaica Bill, and had once more failed to pass the Irish Corporation Bill.On the passage, the squadron of Sir John Warren came in sight of the French fleet of Villaret-Joyeuse, of nine ships of the line, but it bore away, and left them to pursue their course. They entered the Bay of Quiberon on the 25th of June and, after much wrangling as to the best situation for landing, they put the troops ashore at the village of Carnac. There they were immediately joined by Georges Cadoudal, d'Allègre, Dubois-Berthollet, and other Chouan chiefs, with about four thousand or five thousand of their wild and bandit-looking soldiers. Along with the Chouans came troops of peasants, crying "Vive le Roi!" and bringing in abundance of fresh eggs, poultry, and other provisions. Puisaye was delighted, and felt confident that all Brittany was ready to rise. But this delusion was soon dissipated. The Emigrants, accustomed to regular armies, looked with contempt on this wild and ragged band, and they, on their part, were not restrained, on the landing of the arms and uniforms, from seizing and carrying them off, without much exertion on the part of Puisaye. There was danger of bloodshed. At length, in about a couple of days, ten thousand of them were put into red coats, and furnished with muskets. But fatal dissensions prevented all operations. Puisaye proposed to march up the country, seize different towns, such as Vannes and Rennes, and take up their position behind the Mayenne; but d'Hervilly refused to march till the troops were formed into regular regiments, and the Emigrants joined him in despising the Chouans, and in complaining that they had not been taken to La Vendée to join Charette. Puisaye and d'Hervilly also disputed the supreme command, and Puisaye had to dispatch letters to London, to Count d'Artois, on the subject. At length, after five days had been wasted in this contention, Puisaye proposed that they should endeavour to carry Fort Penthièvre, which stood on a small peninsula on Quiberon Bay, and was united to the main land by a sandy isthmus. To this d'Hervilly consented, and Sir John Warren agreed to support him in the attempt. On the 1st of July Warren began to bombard the fort, and on the 3rd, the place being warmly assailed by both the British and the Chouans, the Republicans surrendered. Meanwhile, Puisaye had sent off emissaries all over Brittany, to rouse Scépeaux, Charette, Stofflet, and the rest of the insurgent chiefs. The news of the landing had flown all over Brittany in a few days, and the Royalists were full of joy.
With Lord Eldon, however, he held different language, complaining bitterly of the difficulties in which the Ministers had involved him. He is represented as struggling desperately in meshes from which he found it impossible to extricate himself; and, as usual with weak minds, he threw all the blame of his misery on others. In reference to an interview, Lord Eldon remarks: "I was not sent for afterwards, but went on Thursday, the 9th of April, with more addresses. In the second interview, which began a little before two o'clock, the king repeatedly—and with some minutes intervening between his repeated declarations, musing in silence in the interim—expressed his anguish, pain, and misery that the measure had ever been thought of, and as often declared that he had been most harshly and cruelly treated—that he had been treated as a man whose consent had been asked with a pistol pointed to his breast, or as obliged, if he did not give it, to leap down from a five-pair-of-stairs window. What could he do? What had he to fall back upon?" After relating much more in the same strain, Lord Eldon adds: "Little more passed, except occasional bursts of expression, 'What can I do? What can I now fall back upon? What can I fall back upon? I am miserable, wretched. My situation is dreadful; nobody about me to advise with. If I do give my consent, I will go to the baths after all, and from thence to Hanover. I'll return no more to England. I'll make no Roman Catholic peers; I will not do what this Bill will enable me to do. I'll return no more. Let them get a Catholic king in Clarence! [I think he also mentioned Sussex.] The people will see that I did not wish this.' There were the strongest appearances, certainly, of misery. He more than once stopped my leaving him. When the time came that I was to go, he threw his arms around my neck, and expressed great misery. I left him at about twenty minutes or a quarter before five. I certainly thought when I left him that he would express great difficulty, when the Bill was prepared for the Royal Assent, about giving it." The writer adds, sarcastically:—"I fear that it seemed to be given as a matter of course." Next day, Lord Eldon wrote to his daughter: "The fatal Bill received the Royal Assent yesterday afternoon. After all I had heard in my visits, not a day's delay. God bless us and His Church." At Windsor, on the 13th of April, the king pronounced over the Bill that he so hated the words—"Le Roy le veult."The third reading of the Arms Bill passed by a majority of 66, and soon received the Royal Assent. In the Queen's Speech at the close of the Session there was a very pointed reference made to the state of Ireland. Her Majesty said that she had observed with the deepest concern the persevering efforts made to stir up discontent and disaffection among her subjects in Ireland, and to excite them to demand the repeal of the union; and from her deep conviction that the union was not less essential to the attainment of good government in Ireland than to the strength and stability of the empire, it was her firm determination, with the support of Parliament, and under the blessing of Divine Providence, to maintain inviolate that great bond of connection between the two countries. She thus concluded, "I feel assured that those of my faithful subjects who have influence and authority in Ireland will discourage to the utmost of their power a system of pernicious agitation which disturbs the industry and retards the improvement of that country, and excites feelings of mutual distrust and animosity between different classes of my people."The new Premier, however, was resolute, and persevered with his arrangements. He found an excellent successor to Lord Eldon, as Chancellor, in Sir John Copley, the Master of the Rolls, who was created Lord Lyndhurst. Mr. Peel, as Home Secretary, was succeeded by Mr. Sturges Bourne, who retired after a few weeks to make way for the Marquis of Lansdowne. He represented a section of the Whigs, prominent among whom were Brougham, Tierney and Burdett, who gave their support to the Ministry. The Duke of Clarence succeeded Lord Melville as First Lord of the Admiralty, and the Marquis of Anglesey the Duke of Wellington as Master-General of the Ordnance. Viscount Palmerston was appointed the Secretary at War, with which office he commenced his long, brilliant, and popular career as a Cabinet Minister. The new Master of the Rolls was Sir John Leech, the Attorney-General Sir James Scarlett, and the Solicitor-General Sir N. Tindal. Mr. Lamb, afterwards Lord Melbourne, succeeded Mr. Goulburn as Chief Secretary of Ireland.
CHARLES JAMES FOX. (After the portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds.)Next came the declaration of war by the King of Prussia, which Buonaparte styled a treachery; but, on the contrary, the King of Prussia had only preserved faith towards his oppressor and insulter too long. Not only all Prussia, but all Germany was on fire to throw off the detested yoke of the oppressor, and Frederick William would have been a traitor to his people and to common sense to have hesitated. Yet he proposed terms of a mutual settlement. To place himself in a position of independent treaty, he suddenly left Berlin on the 22nd of January, and made his way to Breslau, where he was out of the reach of French arms, and in certainty of the arrival, at no very distant date, of Russian ones. He invited, however, the French ambassador to follow him, and he there proposed an armistice, on the conditions that the French should evacuate Dantzic and all the other Prussian fortresses on the Oder, and retire behind the Elbe, on which the Czar had promised that he would stop the march of his army beyond the Vistula. But Buonaparte treated the proposition with contempt; he was determined to give up nothing—to recover everything.The debate on Mr. Villiers's annual motion, on June 10, produced still further evidences of the decline of Protectionist principles. On that occasion Sir James Graham, who was currently believed to be better acquainted with the feelings of the Premier than any other of the Ministers, said, "He would not deny that it was his opinion, that by a gradual and cautious policy it was expedient to bring our system of Corn Laws into a nearer approximation to those wholesome principles which governed legislation with respect to other industrial departments. But it was his conviction that suddenly and at once to throw open the trade in corn would be inconsistent with the well-being of the community, and would give such a shock to the agricultural interest as would throw many other interests into a state of convulsion. The object of every Government, without distinction of party, for the last twenty years, had been to substitute protecting duties for prohibitory duties, and to reduce gradually protecting duties, where it had them to deal with. He approved of this as a safe principle, and showed that it was the keystone of the policy of Sir Robert Peel.... If they could show him that Free Trade with open ports would produce a more abundant supply to the labourer, they would make him [Sir James] a convert to the doctrine of Free Trade in corn. He confessed that he placed no value on the fixed duty of four shillings lately proposed; it would be of no avail as a protection, whilst it would be liable to all the obloquy of a protecting duty; and he therefore thought that if they got rid of the present Corn Law, they had better assent to a total repeal." Sir Robert Peel spoke more cautiously; but he began by striking away a favourite maxim of his party, in observing that experience proved that the high price of corn was not accompanied by a high rate of wages, and that wages did not vary with the price of corn. He said that he "must proceed, in pursuance of his own policy, to reconcile the gradual approach of our legislation to sound principle on this subject, with the interests which had grown up under a different state of things;" but he admitted that it would be "impossible to maintain any law on the ground that it was intended to keep up rents."
The history of Hume was much over-estimated in his own time, in spite of the despotic notions which abound in it. It was held up as a marvel of eloquence and acuteness. But after times always correct the enthusiasm of contemporaries, and Hume's history has been found not in every case trustworthy. When we now, indeed, take up Hume, we are surprised to find it a very plain, clear narrative of events, with many oversights and perversions, and nothing more. We wonder where are the transcendent beauties which threw our readers of the eighteenth century into raptures for which language scarcely gave expression. Whoever will read the correspondence of contemporaries with Hume, will find him eulogised rather as a demi-god than a man, and his works described in extravagant strains of praise.INTERIOR OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN 1742.The struggle for ascendency proceeding, Walpole and his party secured the interest of the Duchess of Kendal, who always took care to side with that which she thought the stronger. Carteret and his party, on the other hand, secured the interest of the other mistress, the Countess of Darlington, and her sister, Madame de Platen. Whilst affairs were in this position, the two Secretaries of State, Townshend and Carteret, accompanied the king to Hanover. There came upon the tapis the question of a marriage between the Count St. Florentin, the son of La Vrillière, the Secretary of State for France, and a daughter of Madame de Platen. Madame de Platen, however, demanded that La Vrillière should be made a duke, so that in due course of time her daughter would be a duchess. George I. warmly seconded this demand; and, had Bolingbroke used his influence, there was little doubt that it would have been accomplished. But the French nobility raised a huge outcry against this honour being conferred on the family of La Vrillière, which they deemed too obscure for such a dignity. Bolingbroke, however, was seeking his own objects through the other mistress, the Duchess of Kendal; and, notwithstanding the repulse which he had received from Walpole, he still calculated that his power would prevail, and he therefore smothered his personal vexation, and remained on the side of the Duchess of Kendal and Walpole, leaving Carteret and his allies, the Platens, to fight their own battle.
The English having deposed Suraja Dowlah, the nabob of Bengal, and set up their tool, the traitor Meer Jaffier, who had actually sold his master, the nabob, to them, the unfortunate Nabob was soon assassinated by the son of Meer Jaffier. But Meer Jaffier, freed thus from the fear of the restoration of the Nabob, soon began to cabal against his patrons, the English. Clive was absent, and the government conducted by Mr. Henry Vansittart, a man of little ability in his course of policy. All discipline ceased to exist amongst the English; their only thought was of enriching themselves by any possible means. Meer Jaffier was not blind to this. He saw how hateful the English were making themselves in the country, and was becoming as traitorous to them as he had been to his own master. Early, therefore, in the autumn of 1760, Vansittart and Colonel Caillaud marched to Cossimbazar, a suburb of Moorshedabad, where Meer Jaffier lived, at the head of a few hundred troops, and offered certain terms to him. Meer Jaffier appeared to shuffle in his answer; and, without more ceremony, the English surrounded his palace at the dead of night, and compelled him to resign, but allowed him to retire to Fort William, under the protection of the British flag; and they then set up in his stead Meer Cossim, his son-in-law.Bolingbroke (b. 1678; d. 1751) must be named with the prose writers of the age. Amongst his writings there is little that will now interest the reader. He wrote in a brilliant and pretentious style, as he acted; and his writings, like his policy, are more showy than sound. As a cold sceptic in religion, and a Jacobite in politics, proud and essentially selfish in his nature, we are not likely to find anything from his pen which can strongly attract us, or is calculated to benefit us. In the Tory party, to which he belonged, he was one of those brilliant and self-complacent apparitions, which have all the qualities of the meteor—dazzling, but speedily sinking into darkness, though his "Patriot King" had some temporary influence, and even furnishes the keynote to some of the earlier writings of Lord Beaconsfield.
Pampeluna and San Sebastian being invested, Lord Wellington proceeded with his main army to occupy the passes of the Pyrenees. These, Wellington, in his dispatches, says amounted to about seventy, and, in the service of securing these, he complains that he was left very much without the necessary supplies for his army. The British Government had, from some cause—he supposed to send them against the Americans—reduced the number of convoys, and many of our store-ships were taken by the French frigates and privateers. It was, as much as ever, in vain to expect the Spaniards to do anything to supply the deficiency, after all that the English had done for them. As fast as they got rid of the French, they busied themselves in making war on the clergy and putting them down. Wellington was, therefore, continually obliged to arrest his marches to wait for provisions. Notwithstanding, by the 7th of July he had driven Joseph Buonaparte through the mountains into France, chased Clausel beyond Tudela on the Ebro, and taken his post on the very edge of France. Buonaparte, alarmed at the progress of Wellington, displaced Jourdan as incapable, and sent back Soult to do what neither he, nor Ney, nor Marmont, nor Massena had been able to do before they were necessarily displaced—that is, arrest the onward march of Wellington into France.The plan of the campaign is said to have been laid down by Bernadotte, and adopted, after some slight revision, by General Moreau. That general, whom the jealousy of Buonaparte had expelled from France, and who had retired to America, now returned in the hope of seeing the fall of Buonaparte effected, and peace and a liberal constitution given to his country. He came not to fight against France, but against Buonaparte. The plan showed that they who devised it knew Napoleon's art of war. It was to prevent him from attacking and beating them in detail. Whichever party was first assailed was to retire and draw him after them, till the other divisions could close round him, and assail him on all sides. Blucher was the first to advance against Macdonald and Ney. As had been foreseen, Buonaparte hastened to support these generals with the Imperial Guard and a numerous cavalry, under Latour-Maubourg. But Blucher then retired, and, crossing the Katzbach, sat down near Jauer, so as to cover Breslau. The purpose was served, for Schwarzenberg, accompanied by the sovereigns of Russia and Prussia, as well as by Moreau, had rushed forward on Dresden, driving St. Cyr and twenty thousand men before them, who took refuge in Dresden. The Allies were at his heels, and on the 25th of August began to attack the city. They hoped to win it before Buonaparte could return, in which case they would cut off his line of communication with France—stopping the advance both of his supplies and reinforcements. But the very next day, whilst they were in vigorous operation against the city, and had already carried two redoubts, Buonaparte was seen advancing in hot haste over the bridges into Dresden. Warned of its danger, he had left Macdonald to defend himself, and now led his troops across the city and out at two different gates upon the enemies. The battle continued that day, and was resumed the next, by Buonaparte pushing forward immense bodies of troops from different gates, and concentrating them on the Allies. The attempt to take the city in Buonaparte's absence had failed, and now they saw themselves in danger of being enclosed by Murat—who had again been induced to join the Emperor—on the Freiberg road, and by Vandamme on the road to Pirna, by the Elbe. They were, therefore, compelled to fall back, and the withdrawal soon proved a flight. Napoleon pursued them hotly amid torrents of wind and rain, and made great slaughter, especially of the Austrians, who were seized with a panic of the enemy who had so often beaten them. Seven or eight thousand French were killed and wounded; but of the Allies, chiefly Austrians, more than twenty thousand were killed or disabled. During the engagement Moreau had both his legs shot away by a cannon ball, and died in a few days.详情
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