The unfortunate king was obliged to submit, and retain his present incompetent Ministers. These incompetent Ministers, on their part, now believing themselves indispensable, became at once proportionably assuming, and even insolent, in their demands. Grenville and Bedford put several direct demands to the king as the conditions even of their condescending to serve him: that he would promise to have no further communications with Lord Bute, nor to allow him the slightest share in his councils; that he would dismiss Bute's brother, Mr. Mackenzie, from the office of Privy Seal of Scotland, and from the management of Scottish affairs; that he would dismiss Lord Holland from being Paymaster of the Forces, and appoint Lord Granby Commander-in-Chief. The king, after some demur, submitted to all these conditions, except the appointment of Lord Granby, and escaped that only by Granby himself declining the post. George submitted, because he could not help it, to these imperious conditions; but he inly resented them, and did not avoid showing it by his coldness towards both Bedford and Grenville. At this, the haughty Bedford took fire, and read the king a severe lecture before leaving town for Woburn. He complained of the king showing kindness to the enemies of the administration; and demanded whether the king had kept his promise not to consult Lord Bute.
[See larger version]On the 17th of March, a few nights after Mr. Cobden's motion, Mr. Miles brought forward a motion for relief to the agricultural interest in the reduction or remission of taxation. He complained that there had been an importation of wheat during the last thirty-two months seven or eight times greater in amount than in the thirty-six months immediately subsequent to the introduction of the Corn Law of 1828. The abundance of meat in Leadenhall, Smithfield, and Newgate Markets, through the importation of foreign cattle, was also made a subject of reproach against the Ministry, and he told the House, as the spokesman of the agricultural party, "that they had no confidence in the measures which the Government proposed." They thought that anything would be better than their present position. They saw that the tariff which was passed three years ago was now going to be revised again, and that the shield of protection which was thrown over some of the productions of their industry was about to be removed still farther from them. In such circumstances they could not refrain from asking themselves what there was to prevent the Corn Laws from going next? Mr. Disraeli then, in a strain of sarcasm which is stated to have elicited cheers and laughter from the House, assailed the consistency of the Premier, and the tone in which he rebuked the mutinous and rebellious members of his party. He believed, he said, Protection to be in the same condition now as Protestantism had been in 1828, and he, who honoured genius, would rather see the abolition of all Protection proposed by Mr. Cobden than by any right honourable gentleman or by any noble lord on either side of the House. It might be necessary, before such an abolition was accomplished, for the Premier to dissolve the Parliament for the benefit of the party which he had betrayed, and to appeal to the country, which universally mistrusted him. His solemn and deliberate conviction was that a Conservative Government was an organised hypocrisy.
By the Acts 6 and 7 William IV., c. 71, a Board of Commissioners, called the "Tithe Commissioners of England and Wales," was appointed, the object of which was to convert the tithes into a rent-charge, payable in money, but varying in amount according to the average price of corn for seven preceding years. The amount of the tithes was to be calculated on an average of the seven years preceding Christmas, 1835; and the quantity of grain thus ascertained was to remain for ever as the annual charge upon the parish. The annual money value was ascertained from the returns of the Comptroller of Corn, who published annually, in January, the average price of an Imperial bushel of wheat, barley, and oats, computed from the weekly averages of the corn returns during the seven preceding years. The Commissioners reported in 1851 that voluntary commutations had been commenced in 9,634 tithe districts; 7,070 agreements had been received, of which 6,778 had been confirmed; and 5,529 drafts of compulsory awards had been received, of which 5,260 had been confirmed. Thus in 12,038 tithe districts the rent charges had been finally established by confirmed agreements or confirmed awards.But there was another topic started in this first Imperial Parliament which was as odious to George III. as the perfidious conduct of his late Russian ally. As one means of bringing about the union with Ireland, Pitt held out to the Irish Catholics the argument that by having Irishmen in the united Parliament they would be most likely to obtain a repeal of the Catholic disabilities. Both he and Lord Cornwallis had sent circulars to this effect, anonymous, it is true, but with a secret avowal of their authorship, amongst the leading Catholics, which had a great effect in procuring their assent to the union. Lord Castlereagh, who as Secretary of State for Ireland had helped to carry the union, claimed the redemption of this pledge. The matter was talked over in the Cabinet during the autumn of 1799, and again in September, 1800. Pitt introduced the subject about the middle of January in the Privy Council. But in the interval the Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, had betrayed the plan to the king, and in conjunction with Lord Auckland had convinced his Majesty that it would involve a violation of the Coronation Oath. George was indignant, and almost furious. At the levee on the 28th of January, when Lord Castlereagh was presented, he said to Dundas, "What is this which this young lord [Castlereagh] has brought over to fling at my head?" He alluded to a plan for Catholic emancipation, and added, "I shall reckon every man my personal enemy who proposes any such measure! This is the most jacobinical thing I ever heard of." Dundas replied that his Majesty would find amongst those friendly to the measure some whom he had never supposed to be his enemies. On the 31st of January Pitt wrote to the king, assuring him that the union with Ireland would render it absolutely necessary that important questions regarding the Catholics and Dissenters should be discussed; but, as he found how extremely such topics were disliked by his Majesty, and yet how just it was that Catholics should be admitted to Parliament as well as Protestant Dissenters, who were already admitted, he begged to be permitted to resign. At the same time, not to inconvenience his Majesty, he was willing to hold office till his Majesty had reconstructed a Cabinet wholly to his mind. George replied, the very next day, that Mr. Pitt's letter had occasioned him the liveliest concern; that, so far from exposing him to the agitation of this question, he had flattered himself that the union, by uniting the Protestants of both kingdoms, would for ever have excluded the question of Catholic emancipation. He expressed his ardent wish that Pitt should continue to be his Minister as long as he lived; and he only required, as a condition, that he should stave off this question. Pitt replied, on the 3rd of February, that his Majesty's determined tone on the subject of Catholic emancipation left him no alternative but to resign, in compliance with his duty; and that, as his Majesty's resolve was taken, it would certainly be best for the country that his retirement should be as early as possible. On the 5th the king wrote, accepting Pitt's resignation, though with expressions of deep regret.Such was Massena's situation, so early as the commencement of November—having to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of Portugal—Oporto, Coimbra, Abrantes—and all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena's army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: "It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial exposé as the whole expense of the entire French army."
What a contrast immediately presents itself in the generous nature of Steele, in the genial and pure writings of Addison! Both Addison and Steele were poets, Steele principally a dramatic poet, of considerable success; Addison was the author of "Cato," a tragedy, and the "Campaign," celebrating the victory of Blenheim, with other poems. But the reputation of both Steele and Addison rests on their prose. They were the introducers of essay and periodical writings, and carried these to a perfection which has never been surpassed. Richard Steele (b. 1671; d. 1729) has the honour of originating this new department of literature—a departmentwhich has grown into such importance, that the present age would scarcely know how to exist without it. He started the "Tatler" in 1709, issuing it three times a week, and was joined by Addison in about six weeks. The interest with which this new literary paper was expected at the breakfast tables of that day, can only be likened to that which the morning papers now excite. In 1711, the "Tatler" having come to an end, the "Spectator" was started on the same plan, jointly by Steele and Addison, and, this ceasing in 1712, in the following year the "Guardian" took its place. Steele was the largest contributor to the "Tatler" and "Guardian," Addison to the "Spectator." Various of their contemporaries furnished papers, Swift amongst the rest, but there are none which can compare with the vigorous, manly writing of Steele, and the elegant, and often noble, compositions of Addison. The mixture of grave and gay was admirable. In these papers we find abundant revelations of the spirit and manners of the times. The characters of Sir Roger de Coverley, Will Wimble, etc., have an imperishable English interest. The poetic and generous nature of Joseph Addison (b. 1672) was demonstrated by his zealous criticisms on Milton's "Paradise Lost," which mainly contributed to rescue it from the neglect which it had experienced. Addison, after Sir Philip Sidney, was the first to call attention to our old popular ballads, "Chevy Chase" and "The Babes in the Wood," the eulogies on which probably led Bishop Percy to the collection of the precious "Reliques" of the ballad lore of former ages. The "Spectator" and "Guardian" were published daily. Steele afterwards published the "Englishman," with which Addison had no concern, and it only reached to fifty-seven numbers. These two fellow-labourers, both in literature and Parliament, after nearly fifty years' friendship, were sundered by a mere political difference—the question of limiting the royal prerogative of creating peers, in 1719, the last year of Addison's life.
The Association had become so formidable, and was yet so carefully kept within the bounds of law by "Counsellor O'Connell," in whose legal skill the Roman Catholics of all classes had unbounded confidence, that the Government resolved to procure an Act of Parliament for its suppression. Accordingly, on the 11th of February, 1825, a Bill was brought into the House of Commons by the Irish Chief Secretary, Mr. Goulburn, under the title of Unlawful Societies in Ireland Bill. The plural form caused a great deal of debating. The Government declared they wished to include the Orange Society as well as the Catholic Association. But the Opposition had no faith in this declaration, and Mr. Brougham stated that they would put down the Catholic Association with one hand and pat the Orange Society on the back with the other. The debates on the subject were very animated, and touched upon constitutional questions of the widest interest to the public. The Irish Attorney-General said he did not deny that if a set of gentlemen thought fit to unite for those purposes, it was in their power to do so; but then came the question as to the means which they employed, and those means he denied to be constitutional. "They have," he said, "associated with them the Catholic clergy, the Catholic nobility, many of the Catholic gentry, and all the surviving delegates of 1791. They have established committees in every district, who keep up an extensive correspondence through the country. This Association, consisting originally of a few members, has now increased to 3,000. They proceeded to establish a Roman Catholic rent; and in every single parish, of the 2,500 parishes into which Ireland is divided, they appointed twelve Roman Catholic collectors, which make an army of 30,000. Having this their army of collectors, they brought to their assistance 2,500 priests, and the whole ecclesiastical body. And thus provided, they go about levying contributions on the peasantry." This Mr. Plunket pronounced to be unconstitutional, though not in the strict sense illegal; the Association was a representative and a tax-levying body. He denied that any portion of the subjects of this realm had a right to give their suffrages to others, had a right to select persons to speak their sentiments, to debate upon their grievances, and to devise measures for their removal. This was the privilege alone of the Commons of the United Kingdom. He would not allow that species of power to anybody not subjected to proper control. But to whom were those individuals accountable? Where was their responsibility? Who was to check them? Who was to stop their progress? By whom were they to be tried or rebuked if found acting mischievously? People not acquainted with Ireland were not aware of the nature of this formidable instrument of power, greater than the power of the sword. Individuals connected with it went into every house and every family. They mixed in all the relations of private life, and afterwards detailed what they heard with the utmost freedom. The Attorney-General could not conceive a more deadly instrument of tyranny than it was when it interfered with the administration of justice. Claiming to represent six millions of the people of Ireland, it denounced as a public enemy, and arraigned at the bar of justice, any individual it chose to accuse of acting contrary to the popular interest. Thus the grand inquest of the people were the accusers, and there was an unlimited supply of money to carry on the prosecution. The consequence was that magistrates were intimidated, feeling that there was no alternative but to yield, or be overwhelmed by the tide of fierce popular passions.BATTLE OF NAVARINO: THE "ASIA" ENGAGING THE SHIPS OF THE CAPITAN BEY AND MOHURREM BEY. (See p. 262.)
In the south, affairs had been as ill conducted by the English commanders as in the north they had been carried on well. Governor Martin had made an effort to recover North Carolina. He had collected a number of Highlanders, recently emigrated to America, and a number of back-woodsmen, called Regulators, and sent them, under the command of Colonels Macdonald and Macleod, to compel the inhabitants to submission. They were to be supported by regular troops to be landed at Wilmington, and General Clinton was daily expected with the reinforcements from England. But Clinton did not appear, and the impatient Highlanders and Regulators, in marching from Cross Creek to Wilmington, were decoyed into a swamp, and there attacked and beaten. Macleod and most of the Highlanders were taken prisoners, and the Regulators, such as escaped, made again for the woods.
After contending with such difficulties—for the Committee was, in truth, combating with all the powers of the Crown—it was not likely that it would produce a very effective report. In fact, desirable as it was that a deep and searching inquiry should have been made, and the mysteries of that long reign of corruption thrown open, the fact that the Monarch and the Minister had gone hand in hand through the whole of it was, on the very surface, fatal to any hope of a successful issue, and what rendered this fatality greater was, that the Committee too obviously went into the question hotly to crush an old antagonist who had defeated and humiliated them for a long course of years, rather than to serve the nation. When, therefore, on the 30th of June, they presented their report, the feeling, on its perusal, was one of intense disappointment. It alleged that, during an election at Weymouth, a place had been promised to the Mayor if he would use his influence in obtaining the nomination of a retiring officer, and that a church living had been promised to the Mayor's brother-in-law for the same purpose; that some revenue officers, who refused to vote for the ministerial nominees, were dismissed; that a fraudulent contract had been given to Peter Burrell and John Bristow, two members of the House of Commons, for furnishing money in Jamaica for the payment of the troops, by which they had pocketed upwards of fourteen per cent. But what were these few trifling and isolated cases to that great system of corruption which the public were satisfied had spread through all Walpole's administration, and which abounded with far more wonderful instances than these? The very mention of them, and them alone, was a proclamation of defeat.Buonaparte now prepared for his coronation. Whilst at Mayence, on the Rhine—where the German princes flocked to pay abject homage to him as their protector, no nations, except Great Britain, Russia, and Sweden, keeping aloof—he despatched one of his aides-de-camp, General Caffarelli, an Italian, to invite the Pope to go to Paris to crown the new emperor and empress. Pius VII. had already been compelled to submit to the terms of the Concordat, which had made such inroads into the ancient power of the Church; and he knew very well that to refuse this request would bring down upon him fresh humiliations. Buonaparte, who affected to imitate Charlemagne as the founder of the French nation, passing over all the kings of France as unworthy of notice, determined to inaugurate the Second Empire by a still bolder stretch of authority than Charlemagne himself. That monarch had condescended to make the journey to Italy to receive the privilege of coronation from Pope Leo; but Buonaparte resolved that poor old Pope Pius VII. should come to him in France. His desire was carried out to the letter, and Pius arrived at Fontainebleau on the 25th of November. The 2nd of December having been fixed for the coronation, the Cathedral of Notre Dame was gorgeously decorated for the occasion, and the ceremony was performed amidst the utmost pomp and magnificence, Napoleon himself putting the crown on his head and then placing the Empress's diadem on the head of the kneeling Josephine. During the whole proceedings the Pope was made to play a secondary part. He simply "assisted" at the function. The ceremony was followed by a profuse creation of marshals and nobles.
Ministers carried their indemnity in the Commons by one hundred and sixty-two against sixty-nine; but this did not prevent a prolongation of the demands of the Reformers for a searching inquiry into their employment of the spies. Many petitions were presented to the House of Commons for this inquiry—one of them from Samuel Bamford, who had been a sufferer by imprisonment. On the 3rd of February Hone's case was brought forward by William Smith, of Norwich; on the 10th, Lord Archibald Hamilton made a motion for inquiry into similar prosecutions of persons in Scotland, and especially of Andrew M'Kinley, and this was supported by Sir Samuel Romilly and others, but rejected; yet the next day Mr. Fazakerley made a demand for a rigid inquiry into the employment of the spies, and for ascertaining whether they really had exceeded their instructions. Here was an opportunity for Ministers to clear themselves, were they really innocent of sending them out to excite as well as to discover conspirators. There was a violent debate, but the motion was rejected by one hundred and eleven against fifty-two. The discussion left no doubt of the employment of Oliver and others, and this fact being put beyond dispute, Ministers should, in self-vindication, have cleared themselves, if they were guiltless, as their friends pretended; but they did not do so. On the 17th Lord Folkestone moved for inquiry into the treatment in prison of Mr. Ogden and others, and a similar motion was made on the 19th, in the Lords, by the Earl of Carnarvon. In both cases Ministers, instead of courting inquiry, resented it, and closed the door of investigation by large majorities. Lords Sidmouth, Bathurst, and Liverpool were prominent in staving off these inquiries; and Lords Grosvenor, King, and Holland were earnest in urging the necessity of such inquiry for their own good fame. Lord Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby, put this in the strongest light. He said that he thought Ministers "had been much calumniated, but they would be most so by themselves if they refused to inquire into those acts, when inquiry, according to their own statements, would fully acquit them of the charges laid against them." This was so self-evident that the fact that they would not admit this inquiry might, were there no other grounds for decision, be taken as positive proof of their guilt. But it is not likely that Oliver and his comrades, who were for months in daily communication with Ministers whilst on their detestable missions, would have dared so far to exceed their orders, or, had they done so, that they would have been protected at the expense of the reputations of Ministers themselves, and rewarded into the bargain. The instructions to these men were undoubtedly of too dark a character to be produced in open daylight.详情
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