By a still greater fatality, Louis was persuaded to comply with the solicitations of the American colonists, to assist them in throwing off their allegiance to Britain. To rend these colonies from Britain, which had deprived France of Canada and Nova Scotia, was too flattering to French vanity and French desire of revenge. Turgot in vain protested that the first cannon that was fired would insure revolution; Louis consented to the American alliance, and thus set the seal to his own destruction. Bitterly did he rue this afterwards, still more bitterly was it rued by his queen when they both saw the fatal infection of Republicanism brought back from America by the army. When Turgot saw that this fatal war was determined upon, he retired before the wild rage of the noblesse and clergy, and from the ruinous weakness of the king. Minister after minister rapidly succeeded each other in the vain endeavour to keep up the old partial laws and privileges, the old extravagance and encumbrances, at the command of the king, and yet avert revolution. In turn Clugny, Necker, and Calonne withdrew discomfited.As soon as the Ministry had been restored, the House reassembled for the election of a new Speaker in the room of Mr. Abercromby, who had declared his intention of resigning, having no longer sufficient strength to perform the arduous duties imposed on him by his office. When his intention was announced, he received, through Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell, the highest testimony of the esteem in which he was held by the two great parties, not only for his conduct in the Chair, but also for his strenuous exertions to improve the mode of conducting the private business of the House. This was in accordance with precedent, but as a matter of fact Mr. Abercromby was a very weak Speaker, and his ruling had been repeatedly questioned by the House. He was chosen Speaker in 1835. On his resignation of that office he was raised to the peerage as Lord Dunfermline. Mr. Handley nominated Mr. Shaw Lefevre, member for North Hants, as a person eminently qualified to succeed to the vacant chair. Mr. Williams Wynn, a member of great experience and reputation in the House, proposed Mr. Goulburn, member for the University of Cambridge. The motion was seconded by Mr. Wilson Patten. It was a party contest, and tested the strength of the Ministry and the Opposition. The House divided on the motion that Mr. Shaw Lefevre do take the Chair, which was carried by a majority of eighteen, the numbers being 317 and 299.Before the re-assembling of Parliament the new Ministers had done all in their power to arouse a "No Popery!" cry in the country, because they intended to advise a dissolution of Parliament—although this had only sat four months—in order to bring in a more anti-Catholic and anti-Reform body. On the 9th of April, the day following the meeting of Parliament, Mr. Brand moved a resolution, that it was contrary to the first duties of the confidential advisers of the Crown to bind themselves by any pledge to refrain from offering the king such counsel as might seem necessary to the welfare of the kingdom. The new Ministers, who had entered office without any such pledge being demanded, for their sentiments were too well known to the king, yet, seeing that this resolution was the first of a series intended to end in a vote of want of confidence in them, at once opposed it, and threw it out by two hundred and fifty-eight to two hundred and twenty-six. The Marquis of Stafford made a similar motion in the Lords, and Sidmouth now spoke and voted against his late colleagues, to whom he must have been throughout opposed on all points; but the strangest thing must have been to hear Erskine, whilst supporting the motion, avowing his great repugnance to the Catholics, as people holding a gross superstition, the result of the darkness of former ages, and declaring that he never thought of encouraging them, but rather that they might feel inconvenience, though suffering no injustice; as if this were possible; for if they suffer no injustice they could feel no inconvenience. And this, after assuring the king that he would never again enjoy peace if he dismissed his Ministers for desiring to encourage them! The Marquis of Stafford's motion was rejected by a hundred and seventy-one against ninety.
The triumph of the mob had consummated the triumph of Jacobinism. The Republic was at length established, but not to the benefit of the Girondists. The ruin of royalty, for which they had so zealously laboured, was in reality their own ruin. The Jacobins, and at their head the sanguinary Robespierre, were left without a rival, except in that mob by which they worked, and which was destined to destroy them too. Danton appeared before the Assembly on the morning of the 10th, at the head of a deputation of the Commune, to state what had been done, and said plainly, "The people who send us to you have charged us to declare that they think you worthy of their confidence, but that they recognise no other judge of the extraordinary measures to which necessity has forced them to recur than the French nation—our sovereign and yours—convoked in primary Assemblies." This was announcing without disguise that the Clubs were the supreme authorities. The Assembly felt its weakness and professed to approve of everything. Next, the new Ministers were chosen; Roland, as Minister of the Interior; Servan, as War Minister; and Clavière as Minister of Finance. But to these were added Danton as Minister of Justice, Mongé as Minister of the Marine, and Le Brun as Minister of Foreign Affairs. They were to receive instructions, not from Louis, but from the Assembly. And now came into full light the mortal antagonism of the Assembly and the Clubs, and the real ascendency of the latter. The Assembly voted for the education of the Dauphin; the Clubs called for the utter removal of royalty. The Assembly recommended an active campaign against Foreign Powers, but mercy to the vanquished; the Clubs called for instant and universal vengeance on all supporters of royalty, who, they said, had intended to massacre the people and bring in the Prussians. They declared that there was no need of electoral bodies to form a new Assembly, but that every man, and some said every woman, was entitled to vote; and they insisted that the people ought to come in arms to manifest their wishes to the legislative body. This was plainly-avowed mob rule. Marat argued loudly for this and for purging France, as he called it, by cutting off every man, woman, and child that was not for mob rule; and Robespierre demanded the removal of the Assembly as effete and the summoning of a Convention. His advice was adopted, and the National Democratic Convention was convoked for the 21st of September. In the interval the Royalists were murdered in the prisons, and the Revolutionary Commune established at Paris. News of the most alarming character arrived from the frontier, Lafayette had gone over to the enemy, and the Prussians had taken Longwy.In Europe, Pitt was still bent on those attacks on the coast of France which long experience had shown were of little use as means of successful war, but highly objectionable, as fraught with excessive inhumanity to the innocent people of the seaboard. This, his second expedition, was aimed at St. Malo. A fleet of eighteen ships of the line, thirteen frigates, with sloops, fire-ships, and bomb-ketches, was put under the command of Lord Howe; but as Sir Edward Hawke, his senior, struck his flag, and refused to serve as second, Lord Anson, to get rid of the difficulty, put himself nominally at the head of the squadron. The command of the troops was given to the Duke of Marlborough, a brave man, but destitute of the genius of his father, and Lord George Sackville and Lord Granby were under him. There were fourteen thousand troops of the line and six thousand marines. With these went a number of aristocratic volunteers, amongst them Lord Downe, Sir John Armitage, and Sir John Lowther, the possessor of fourteen thousand pounds a-year. On the 5th of June, 1758, the transports anchored in Cancale Bay, and next day the troops were landed and led against St. Malo. This town, built on one of a cluster of granite rocks which rise out of the sea on that iron-bound coast, they found too strongly fortified to storm, but they burnt a hundred and thirty privateers and a great quantity of small craft in the harbour, and then returned to their ships. They then sailed for Le Havre, but were prevented by the wind from doing the same damage, and so continued their voyage to Granville and Cherbourg, whence they were driven by storm; and thereupon coasting a considerable way farther, but to no purpose, the fleet returned to Portsmouth, the main result being a heavy expense. Fox and the Opposition in the Commons called it breaking windows with guineas; and the old king, who had expressed his dislike of this sort of warfare, said we should brag of having burnt the French ships, and the French of having driven us away.This Act, which repealed the Test Act, provided another security in lieu of the tests repealed:—"And whereas the Protestant Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and the Protestant Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof respectively are by the laws of this realm severally established permanently and inviolably, I., A., B., do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, upon the true faith of a Christian, that I will never exercise any power, authority, or influence which I may possess by virtue of the office of ——, to injure or weaken the Protestant Church, as it is by law established in England, or to disturb the said Church, or the bishops and clergy of the said Church, in the possession of any rights and privileges to which such Church, or the said bishops and clergy, are or may be by law entitled."
The English took the field in the summer of 1763 against Meer Cossim with six hundred Europeans and one thousand two hundred Sepoys. Major Adams, the commander of this force, was vigorously resisted by Meer Cossim, but drove him from Moorshedabad, gained a decided victory over him on the plains of Geriah, and, after a siege of nine days, reduced Monghyr. Driven to his last place of strength in Patna, and feeling that he must yield that, Meer Cossim determined to give one parting example of his ferocity to his former patrons, as, under their protection, he had given many to his own subjects. He had taken prisoners the English belonging to the factory at Patna, amounting to one hundred and fifty individuals. These he caused to be massacred by a renegade Frenchman in his service, named Sombre. On the 5th of October his soldiers massacred all of them except William Fullarton, a surgeon known to the Nabob. The mangled bodies of the victims were thrown into two wells, which were then filled up with stones. This done, the monster Cossim fled into Oude, and took refuge with its Nabob, Sujah Dowlah. The English immediately entered Patna, which was still reeking with the blood of their countrymen, and proclaimed the deposition of Meer Cossim, and the restoration of Meer Jaffier as Nabob of Bengal.
Thus this mighty armada—of which such high things were expected—was dispersed; Rodney, sending part of his fleet to Jamaica, proceeded to join Arbuthnot at New York, with eleven ships of the line and four frigates. The news of his approach reached the French and Americans there, at the same time as that of the return of De Guichen to Europe, and spread the greatest consternation. To consider what was best to do in the circumstances, a meeting was proposed at Hartford, in Connecticut, between Washington and Rochambeau, which took place on the 21st of September. At this moment a discovery took place which had a startling effect on the Americans, and was calculated to inspire the most gloomy views of their condition. General Arnold, who had fought his way up from the humble station of a horse-dealer to that which he now held, had, on all occasions, shown himself an officer of the most daring and enterprising character. Having been appointed military governor of Philadelphia, after its evacuation by General Clinton in 1778, as a post where he might recover from the severe wounds which he had received in the recent campaign, he began a style of living much too magnificent for his finances, for, with all his abilities, Arnold was a vain and extravagant man. He married a beautiful young lady of that city of Royalist origin. Rumours to his disadvantage were soon afloat, originating in this cause, for whatever he did was regarded by the staunch Whigs with an unfavourable eye. Congress was the more ready to listen to charges against him, because, involved himself in debts incurred by his extravagance, he pressed them for large claims upon them, which they had no means to satisfy. Commissioners were selected by them to examine his claims, and these men, appointed for their hard, mean natures, reduced his demands extremely. Arnold uttered his indignation at such treatment in no measured terms, and the consequence was that he was arrested, tried by a court-martial, on various charges of peculation in his different commands, and for extortion on the citizens of Philadelphia. Some of these were declared groundless, but others were pronounced to be proved, and Arnold was condemned to be reprimanded by the Commander-in-Chief. This put the climax to his wrath. Washington, who had, in Arnold's opinion, been as unjustly exalted and favoured for his defeats and delays, as he himself had been envied and repressed for his brilliant exploits, was of all men the one from whom he could not receive with patience a formal condemnation. This sentence was carried into effect in January, 1779, and Arnold, stung to the quick, was prepared to perpetrate some desperate design. The opportunity came when he was placed in command of West Point, on the Hudson, which was the key to all intercourse between the Northern and Southern States.LORD LIVERPOOL. (After the Portrait by Sir T. Lawrence, P.R.A.)
That the spirit of the Bostonians had ripened into actual rebellion was unequivocally shown in the course of the year 1773. The Gaspee Government schooner, commanded by Lieutenant Dudingston, had been singularly active in putting down smuggling about Rhode Island. The Rhode Island packet coming in one evening from Newport to Providence, instigated by the general anger against the Gaspee—for the Rhode Islanders were great smugglers—refused to pay the usual compliment of lowering the flag to the schooner. Dudingston fired a shot across her bows, and, on her paying no regard to that, gave chase. The packet, however, ran close in shore, and the Gaspee following too eagerly, ran aground. It was on a sandy bottom, and the return of the tide would have lifted her off undamaged; but the smuggling population of Providence put off to her in the night, whilst she lay in a position so as to be incapable of using her guns, surprised, boarded, and set fire to her, carrying the lieutenant and the crew triumphantly on shore. Government offered a reward of five hundred pounds for the discovery of the perpetrators of this daring outrage; but though it was well known who the perpetrators were, no one would give any information. On the contrary, the most violent threats were uttered against any one who should do so.
George III., at the time of the sudden death of his grandfather, was in his twenty-second year. The day of the late king's death and the following night were spent in secret arrangements, and the next morning George presented himself before his mother, the Princess-dowager, at Carlton House, where he met his council, and was then formally proclaimed. This was on the 26th of October, 1760.Hardly had they arrived, when a discharge of cannon was heard. The Assembly was horror-struck; and the king exclaimed, "I assure you I have forbidden the Swiss to fire!" But he was interrupted by fresh reports of cannon, showing that a fierce conflict was taking place at the Tuileries. No sooner was the royal family gone than the gensdarmes and the National Guard fraternised with the people, and breaking open the chief gate with hatchets rushed into the court. They then formed in column, and turning the guns which had been left in the court on the palace, they called out to the Swiss within to give up the place to them, and they would be friends. The Swiss, to show their amicable disposition, threw cartridges out of the windows, but remained firm to their duty. Some of the mob, with long poles and hooks at the end, then dragged some of the Swiss out of the vestibule and murdered them. They next fired three of the cannon right into the palace, and the Swiss thereupon returned a smart fire of musketry. Those of the servants and courtiers that still remained in the palace now made haste to escape, if possible. Cléry, one of the king's valets-de-chambre, who has left a vivid narrative of these events, escaped by dropping from a window upon the terrace. At the same moment the mob was breaking in at the grand entrance. They found a stout piece of timber placed as a barrier across the staircase, and the Swiss and some of the National Guard entrenched behind it; then commenced a fierce struggle; the barrier was forced, and the throng pushed back the Swiss up the staircase. These now fired a sharp volley, and the crowd fled, crying that they were betrayed. They were struck by another volley in their retreat, and the Swiss then descended into the court, made themselves masters of the cannon, and, firing, killed a great number. Had the Swiss followed their advantage and scoured the streets of the city, they would have completely trodden out this insurrection, releasing the royal family, and, had there been any one in command capable of it, he would have ended the Revolution as promptly as Buonaparte did afterwards. Buonaparte, then a poor lieutenant of artillery, was himself a spectator of the scene; and it was his opinion that the Swiss only wanted an adequate commander to crush the whole rebellion. But, by that fatality which attended all Louis XVI.'s affairs, at this moment arrived M. d'Hervilly from the Assembly with the king's order not to fire on the people, but to follow d'Hervilly to the Assembly. This was, in fact, to leave the palace at the mercy of the mob. Such as were in the court did follow d'Hervilly to the Assembly, where he promised them their lives and security under the protection of that body. At this sight the populace recovered their courage. The palace was attacked on both sides; the crowds every moment became greater, and the Swiss poured successive volleys upon them from the windows. Numbers fell dead before they forced an entrance; but this once effected, the crowd not only rushed in a dense mass up the great staircase, but dragged up cannon by main force to blow open the interior doors. For some time the Swiss made a stout stand against this raging mob; but being few against tens of thousands, and having exhausted their cartridges, they grounded their arms and called for quarter. They called in vain; the bloodthirsty sansculottes commenced a relentless massacre of them; women and children, armed with knives, assisted in their slaughter. The unhappy men, fixing their bayonets, drove the furious mass before them, resolving to cut their way through the Champs Elysées to Courbevoie, where was another detachment of their countrymen in barracks; but no sooner were they outside than they were surrounded and shot and cut down without mercy. Vainly did they cry for quarter; none was given. They then broke and fled in small parties, one of them seeking to gain the Assembly for protection; but they were butchered, nearly to a man, their heads stuck on pikes and paraded through the city.
Lord Eldon, who was by no means weary of political life, became uneasy about his position, and certain arrangements at which the king had mysteriously hinted. The Lord Chancellor religiously obeyed his injunction to abstain from speaking on politics to anybody. But he was revolving in his mind not less anxiously who was to be the new leader of the House of Commons, and how the Constitution in Church and State might be best protected against the spirit of innovation. On the king's return from his northern metropolis the Lord Chancellor was about to press upon him the promotion to the vacant leadership of the House of Commons of Mr. Peel, who had won high distinction in the late debate upon the Catholic peers, when he found, to his unspeakable chagrin, that Lord Liverpool himself had selected Mr. Canning, and overcome the royal objections to him on the ground of his having been formerly the champion of the queen. He had represented to the king that this was the only arrangement by which the Whigs could be effectually excluded, and he gave him an assurance that Catholic Emancipation, though left an open question, should be resolutely opposed. Great as Mr. Canning's talents for Parliament were, and great as was the want of talent on the Ministerial side of the House, it was not without the utmost reluctance that the Cabinet consented to receive him as an associate. They invited him to fill the place vacated by Lord Londonderry, because he was forced upon them by circumstances, and they felt that the Government could not go on without his aid. His only competitor was Mr. Peel, who had not yet had sufficient opportunity of evincing his great powers for the conduct and discussion of public affairs to command the station which many of his colleagues would have gladly seen assigned to him. Canning was unpopular with the anti-Catholic party in general, and particularly obnoxious to the Lord Chancellor; and, besides, there was the great objection of his having been the friend and adherent of the queen. But Lord Liverpool, the Premier, having been associated with him from early life, was so thoroughly convinced that he was the fittest man for the post, and so well acquainted with his transcendent powers of intellect, that he prevailed upon him to relinquish the Governor-Generalship of India, to which he had been appointed, and to accept the vacant Secretaryship for Foreign Affairs, together with the leadership of the Commons.Reproduced by André & Sleigh, Ld., Bushey, Herts.
Whilst the debate was proceeding, great crowds gathered round the House, and became even more numerous and more agitated. Walpole, irritated by the persuasion that these throngs were collected by the arts of the Opposition, threw out a remark which he afterwards deeply repented. He said gentlemen might call themselves what they liked, but he knew whom the law called "Sturdy Beggars." This phrase, carried out of doors, highly incensed the crowd, who considered that it was meant to cast contempt on the people at large. At two o'clock in the morning, and after thirteen hours' debate, on division there appeared two hundred and sixty-six for the measure, and two hundred and five against. The great increase of the minority struck Walpole with surprise and alarm.The Session promised for some weeks to be very dull; no subjects more stirring being brought forward or announced than the settlement of the Civil List, the discharge of insolvent debtors, the suppression of Sunday newspapers, and the reading of the Athanasian Creed. To one of those subjects, the Civil List, Lord Eldon thus jocosely alluded in a letter to his daughter:—"Our royal master seems to have got into temper again, as far as I could judge from his conversation with me this morning. He has been pretty well disposed to part with us all, because we would not make additions to his revenue. This we thought conscientiously we could not do in the present state of the country, and of the distresses of the middle and lower orders of the people. To which we might add, too, that of the higher orders."His terms were rejected with disdain. Yet he had a last interview with Metternich, in which he hoped to terrify him by a dread of the future preponderance of Russia; but, seeing that it made no impression, he became incensed, and adopted a very insolent tone towards the Austrian Minister. "Well, Metternich," he demanded, "how much has England given you to induce you to play this part towards me?" Metternich received the insult in haughty silence. Buonaparte, to try how far the diplomatist still would preserve his deference towards him, let his hat fall: Metternich let it lie. This was a sign that the Austrian had taken his part; it was, in fact, the signal of war. Yet, at the last moment, Napoleon suddenly assumed a tone of conciliation, and offered very large concessions. He had heard the news of the defeat of Vittoria. But it was too late. The Congress terminated on the 10th of August, and the Allies refused to re-open it. On the 12th of August, two days after the termination of the armistice, Austria declared herself on the side of the Allies, and brought two hundred thousand men to swell their ranks. This redoubtable force was commanded by her general, Prince von Schwarzenberg.
Thus was destroyed in Egypt all the prestige of the battles of Alexandria and Aboukir Bay. The consequence of these two badly-planned and worse-executed expeditions was the declaration of war against Britain by the Porte, the seizure of all British property in the Turkish dominions, and the formation of a close alliance between Turkey and France. But the triumph over the British had not relieved the Turks of the Russians. Admiral Siniavin still blockaded the Dardanelles, and another Russian squadron, issuing from the Black Sea, blockaded the mouth of the Bosphorus. The Turks came boldly out of the Dardanelles and attacked Siniavin on the 22nd of May and on the 22nd of June; but on both occasions they lost several ships, and were expecting heavier inflictions from the Russians, when they were suddenly relieved of their presence by the news of the Treaty of Tilsit, which had been contracted between Alexander of Russia and Buonaparte. Alexander, by this, ceased to be the ally, and became the enemy of Britain. It was necessary, therefore, for Siniavin to make all speed for the Baltic before war could be declared between the two nations, after which his return would be hopeless. The Russian admiral, however, before quitting the Mediterranean, had the pleasure of taking possession of Corfu, which Buonaparte had made over to Alexander.
[See larger version]The year, gloomy in itself from the dislocation of trade and the discontent of the people, terminated still more gloomily from another cause—the death of the Princess Charlotte. This event, wholly unexpected, was a startling shock to the whole nation. This amiable and accomplished princess was not yet twenty-two. She had been married only in May, 1816, to Prince Leopold of Coburg, and died on the 6th of November, 1817, a few hours after being delivered of a stillborn child. What rendered the event the more painful was that her death was attributed to neglect by her accoucheur, Sir Richard Croft. Dr. Baillie, who saw her soon after her confinement, refused to join in the issue of a bulletin which the other medical men had prepared, stating that she was going on well, and a few hours proved the fatal correctness of his opinion. Sir Richard, overwhelmed by the public indignation and his own feelings, soon afterwards destroyed himself. No prince or princess had stood so well with the nation for many years. The people saw in her a future queen, with the vigour, unaccompanied by the vices and tyrannies, of Elizabeth. She had taken the part of her mother against the treatment of her father, and this was another cause which drew towards her the affections of the people. All these hopes were extinguished in a moment, and the whole nation was plunged into sorrow and consternation, the more so that, notwithstanding the twelve children of George III., there had only been this single grandchild, and several of his sons remained unmarried.During this protracted agony of suspense and alarm business was almost at a standstill. Nobody seemed to think or talk of anything but the rebellion—the chances of success and the possibility of having to submit to a republic. There could not be a more striking proof of the inability of Lord Clarendon to cope with this emergency than his dealings with the proprietors of the World, a journal with a weekly circulation of only 500 or 600 copies, which subsisted by levying blackmail for suppressing attacks on private character. It was regarded as a common nuisance, and yet the Lord-Lieutenant took the editor into his confidence, held private conferences with him on the state of the country, and gave him large sums for writing articles in defence of law and order. These sums amounted to ￡1,700, and he afterwards gave him ￡2,000 to stop an action in the Court of Queen's Bench. Mr. Birch, the gentleman in question, was not satisfied with this liberal remuneration for his services; the mine was too rich not to be worked out, and he afterwards brought an action against Sir William Somerville, then Chief Secretary, for some thousands more, when Lord Clarendon himself was produced as a witness, and admitted the foregoing facts. The decision of the court was against Birch; but when, in February, 1852, the subject was brought before the House of Commons by Lord Naas, the Clarendon and Birch transactions were sanctioned by a majority of 92.详情
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