The year 1800 opened in the British Parliament by a debate on an Address to the king, approving of the reply to an overture for peace by Buonaparte, as First Consul of France. The letter addressed directly to the king was a grave breach of diplomatic etiquette, and was answered by Lord Grenville, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in a caustic but dignified tone. A correspondence ensued between Lord Grenville and M. Talleyrand, as French Minister for Foreign Affairs; but it ended in nothing, as the British Minister distinctly declined to treat. If Buonaparte had been sincerely desirous of peace, he must have withdrawn the French army from Egypt, as it was there with the open declaration of an intention to make that country a stepping-stone to India. But, so far from this, Buonaparte was, at the same moment, preparing to make fresh and still more overwhelming invasions of Italy, Switzerland, and Germany, and the proposal was simply made to gain time.
In the department of philosophy flourished also Bishop Berkeley (b. 1684; d. 1753), author of "The Principles of Human Knowledge," whostartled the world with the theory that matter has no existence in the universe, but is merely a fixed idea of the mind; Dr. Mandeville, a Dutchman by birth, who settled in London, and published various medical and metaphysical works of a freethinking character; Hutchinson, an opponent of Dr. Woodward in natural history, and Newton in natural philosophy; and David Hartley, author of "Observations on Man." Bishop Butler, Warburton, Hoadley, Middleton, author of "A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers of the Church," and Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, were the leading theologians in the Church; but Dissent could also boast of its men of light and leading in Dr. Isaac Watts, author of a system of Logic and of the popular Hymns; Calamy, the opponent of Hoadley; Doddridge, and others.
Prussia, it might be supposed, would escape the invasion of Revolutionary principles in 1848. Great hopes had been excited on the accession of Frederick William IV. to his father's throne. Yet it was evident to close observers of the signs of the times that a spirit of sullen discontent was brooding over the population. There was a feeling that their amiable and accomplished Sovereign had disappointed them. He proved to be excessively sensitive to the slightest infringement of his prerogative, and he abhorred the idea of representative bodies, who might oppose constitutional barriers to his own absolute will. Hence, there grew up sensibly a mutual feeling of distrust between him and the people, and the natural effect on his part was a change from the leniency and liberality of his earlier years to a more austere temper, while a tedious, inactive, and undecided course of policy wore out the patience of those who expected a more constitutional system. Consequently, although the administration of the country was free from any taint of corruption, and was, on the whole, moderate and just, the revolutionary earthquake of 1848 shook the kingdom of Prussia to its very foundations.
In the midst of these cabals died the Regent, and Townshend, acting with Walpole, sent over Walpole's brother Horace to watch their interests at Paris. Carteret, on the other hand, ordered Sir Luke Schaub to make every exertion for the grant of the dukedom. On the arrival of Horace Walpole, Bolingbroke, obeying the impulses of the courtier and not of the man, immediately waited on him, and placed all his influence at the French Court at his service; but Walpole, who had an invincible repugnance to Bolingbroke, whilst he availed himself of the advantages offered by Bolingbroke, still kept him at a great and stately distance. Undeterred by this conduct, however, Bolingbroke swallowed his mortification, and continued to keep his eye and his hope on the Walpole Ministry. Unassisted by Bolingbroke, the dukedom could not be obtained; but George reconciled Madame Platen to the match by giving her daughter a portion of ten thousand pounds. Horace Walpole, at the same time, succeeded in getting Schaub recalled, and himself installed in his office of Ambassador at Paris—a decided victory over Carteret; indeed, so decided, that Carteret was removed from the Secretaryship to the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland.No sooner had the insurrection of Aranjuez taken place, and Ferdinand been proclaimed king, than, so early as April the 8th, General Casta?os informed Sir Hew Dalrymple, the governor of Gibraltar, that there was an end of the policy of Godoy, which had made Spain the slave of France and the foe of Britain. Sir Hew sent a prompt dispatch to England with the news, and, till he could receive instructions from the British Government, he maintained friendly relations with the Spaniards. When the junta of Seville was formed, and there was every reason to believe that Spain would make a determined resistance, on his own responsibility he encouraged the merchants of Gibraltar to make a loan of forty thousand dollars to the junta without premium; and Captain Whittingham, an officer well acquainted with Spain, went to Seville to assist in planning the best means of preventing the French from passing the Sierra Morena. On the 8th of June Sir Hew received a dispatch from Lord Castlereagh, informing him that the British Government had determined to send ten thousand men immediately to the assistance of the Spanish patriots. But this was preceded four days by a proclamation which had outstripped Lord Castlereagh's dispatch, stating that his Majesty had ordered all hostilities towards Spain to cease, and all Spanish ships at sea to be unmolested. Admiral Collingwood took the command of the whole British fleet on the coast of Spain, ready to co-operate. He landed Mr. Cox to proceed to Seville as confidential agent, and about the middle of June General Spencer arrived at Cadiz with five thousand British soldiers. About the same time, the junta of Seville declared themselves at peace with Great Britain, and sent four commissioners to England to settle diplomatic relations between the countries.
If Grenville and his Cabinet, in their ignorance of human nature, had made a gross mistake in their conduct towards Wilkes, they now made a more fatal one in regard to our American colonies. These colonies had now assumed an air of great importance, and were rapidly rising in population and wealth. The expulsion of the French from Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, the settlement of Georgia by General Oglethorpe, the acquisition of Florida from Spain, had given a compactness and strength to these vast colonies, which promised a still more accelerated and prosperous growth. At this period the inhabitants are calculated to have amounted to two millions of Europeans, and half a million of coloured people, Indians and negroes. The trade was becoming more extensive and valuable to the mother country. The imports from England, chiefly of her manufactures, amounted to three million pounds annually in value. They carried on a large trade with our West Indian islands and the Spanish American colonies, and French and Dutch West Indies. They also built ships for the French and Spaniards, in the West Indies. They had extensive iron and copper mines and works in different states. They manufactured great quantities of hats in New England. The fisheries of Massachusetts produced two hundred and thirty thousand quintals of dried fish, which they exported to Spain and Portugal, and other Catholic countries of Europe. Carolina exported its rice to these countries as well as to England; and they exported vast quantities of cured provisions, dye-woods, apples, wax, leather, tobacco from Virginia and Maryland (fifty thousand hogsheads annually to England alone) valued at three hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds. The masts from New England, sent over for the British navy, were the largest in the world.France ceded Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, stipulating for the free exercise of their religion by the inhabitants of Canada, and for their leaving the country if they preferred it, carrying away their effects, if done within eighteen months. Nova Scotia and Cape Breton were given up unconditionally. The boundaries of Louisiana were more clearly defined. The French retained the right to fish on part of the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to retain the two little islets of St. Pierre and Miquelon, as places of shelter for their fishermen, on condition that no batteries should be raised on them, nor more than fifty soldiers keep guard there. Their fishermen were not to approach within fifteen miles of Cape Breton.
Gage attempts to seize American Arms—Skirmish at Lexington—Blockade of Boston—The Second Congress at Philadelphia—Washington chosen Commander-in-Chief—Fall of Ticonderoga and Crown Point—Washington at Boston—Battle of Bunker's Hill—The Olive Branch Petition—Condition of the American Army—Expedition against Canada—Capture of Montreal—Arnold's Expedition—His Junction with Montgomery—Failure of the Attack on Quebec—The Employment of German Mercenaries—Washington seizes Dorchester Heights—Evacuation of Boston—Howe retires to Halifax—The War in Canada—Thomas's Retreat—Sullivan evacuates Canada—The War in the South—Attack on Charleston—Paine's Pamphlet, "Common Sense"—New York and Virginia decide for Independence—Debate in Congress—Report of the Committee—Arbitrary Proceedings—The Declaration—Overtures to France—Arrival of Lord Howe—Position of Washington—Howe's Overtures—Battle of Brooklyn—Washington's Retreat—His Desperate Position—Howe receives a Deputation from Congress—Washington retires Step by Step—Cornwallis's Pursuit—Close of the Campaign—The Articles of Confederation published by Congress—Fresh Overtures to France—Parliament votes large Sums of Money—John the Painter—Chatham demands a Cessation of Hostilities—Washington's Change of Tactics—Surprise of Trenton—Washington outman?uvres Cornwallis—He recovers New Jersey—Difficulties of Congress—Howe advances against Washington—Alteration of Howe's Plans—Battle of the Brandywine—Howe crosses the Schuylkill—Cornwallis enters Philadelphia—Battle of Germantown—Washington at Valley Forge—Burgoyne's Plan of Campaign—His Advance—St. Clair's Defeat—Burgoyne on the Hudson—The Beginning of his Misfortunes—Battle of Bemus's Heights—Burgoyne's Message to Clinton—He is Surrounded—He attempts to cut his Way through—The Surrender of Saratoga—Clinton's Failure to relieve Burgoyne—Close of the Campaign.Within a few days after the first passing of this Act, that is, in the first week of March, a body of weavers—said by the Government to amount to ten thousand men, but by a more competent authority, Samuel Bamford, the author of the "Life of a Radical," not to have exceeded four or five thousand—met in St. Peter's Field, at Manchester, and commenced a march southward. The intention was to proceed to London, to present to the Prince Regent, in person, a petition describing their distress. Bamford had been consulted, and had condemned the project as wild, and likely to bring down nothing but trouble on the petitioners. He believed that they were instigated by spies sent out by Government in order to find an opportunity of justifying their arbitrary measures. Suspicious persons had been trying him. But the poor, deluded people assembled, "many of them," says Bamford, "having blankets, rugs, or large coats rolled up, and tied knapsack-like on their backs. Some had papers, supposed to be petitions, rolled up, and some had stout walking-sticks." From their blankets, they afterwards acquired the name of Blanketeers. The magistrates appeared and read the Riot Act, and dispersed the multitude by soldiers and constables; but three or four hundred fled in the direction of their intended route, and continued their march, pursued by a body of yeomanry. By the time that they reached Macclesfield, at nine o'clock at night, they amounted to only one hundred and eighty; yet many of them persisted in proceeding, but they continually melted away, from hunger and from the misery of lying out in the fields on March nights. By the time that they reached Leek they were reduced to twenty, and six only were known to pass over the bridge at Ashbourne.
Having reported to Mr. Canning the result of his diplomatic efforts at Paris, the Duke set out on his journey to Vienna, where he arrived on the 29th of September, and where he expected the Congress to be held. But there again England's plenipotentiary, the great conqueror of Napoleon, who had restored the legitimate despots to their thrones, was treated with as little consideration as at Paris. Not till his arrival did he learn that the Congress which he was invited to attend was not to be held at Vienna at all, but at Verona. Meanwhile, in the interval between the adjournment from one city to another, the Allied Sovereigns were paying a visit of friendship to the King of Bavaria, whose system of government no doubt met with their unqualified approval. As the Duke's instructions forbade him to meddle with Italian affairs, he tarried at Vienna till he should receive further instructions from his own Government. While awaiting an answer he had opportunities of conferring personally with the Czar, who had obtained an ascendency in the councils of the Holy Alliance which rendered him the virtual master of every situation. With regard to the affairs of Turkey, the Duke succeeded in obtaining from his Imperial Majesty an assurance that, unless driven to it by some unforeseen and irresistible necessity, he would not come to an open rupture with the Sultan. He was not so successful in his exertions with regard to the Spanish question, on which the Czar was in an irritable mood. He said that Spain was the very centre and focus of revolutionary principles, and he felt it to be the duty not less than the policy of the Allied Sovereigns to trample them out at their source, and for this purpose he had proposed to contribute 150,000 men, whom he intended to march into Spain through French territory. In reply to the Duke's earnest remonstrances against this course, the Czar put a question which betrays the aggressive policy of military despots. He asked what he was to do with his army. It insisted upon being led against Turkey, and was only restrained because he had expressed his determination of employing it in putting down what he called Jacobinism in the west.
The Government determined to make the most formidable preparations for the preservation of the peace, and for putting down a riot, should it occur. Troops were seen directing their march from all quarters to the metropolis, and there was not a village in the vicinity which did not display the plumed helmet. George IV., always excessively fond of show and pomp, was resolved that the ceremonial of his coronation should outshine anything in history. The nation entered into the spirit of the occasion, and the metropolis was full of excitement. As early as one o'clock on the morning of the 19th of July, Westminster, the scene of this magnificent pageant, presented a dazzling spectacle. Even at that early hour, those who were fortunate enough to obtain places were proceeding to occupy them. From Charing Cross two streams of carriages extended, one to the Abbey and the other to Westminster Hall. The streets were crowded with foot passengers eager to secure seats on the platforms erected along the way, or some standing-place. All distinctions of rank were lost in the throng of eager expectants; judges, bishops, peers, commanders, wealthy citizens, richly dressed ladies, all mingled in the moving masses that converged towards the great centre of attraction.Before the report of the committee was presented, Mr. Hume, on the 4th of August, moved eleven resolutions declaring the facts connected with Orangeism, proposing an Address to the king, and calling his Majesty's attention to the Duke of Cumberland's share in those transactions. Lord John Russell, evidently regarding the business as being of extreme gravity, moved that the debate be adjourned to the 11th of August, plainly to allow the Duke of Cumberland an opportunity of retiring from so dangerous a connection; but instead of doing so, he published a letter to the chairman of the committee, stating that he had signed blank warrants, and did not know that they were intended for the army. Lord John Russell expressed his disappointment at this illogical course. If what he stated was true, that his confidence was abused by the members of the society in such a flagrant manner, he should have indignantly resigned his post of Grand Master, but he expressed no intention of doing so. Mr. Hume's last resolution, proposing an Address to the king, was adopted, and his answer, which was read to the House, promised the utmost vigilance and vigour. On the 19th the House was informed that Colonel Fairman had refused to produce to the committee a letter-book in his possession, which was necessary to throw light on the subject of their inquiry. He was called before the House, where he repeated his refusal, though admonished by the Speaker. The next day an order was given that he should be committed to Newgate for a breach of privilege, but it was then found that he had absconded.
The Repeal Agitation in Ireland, which had been thoroughly organised in 1842 by "Repeal Missionaries" who had visited every parish in the country, reached its culminating point in 1843. Early in February that year Mr. O'Connell, who had filled the civic chair the previous year, and was then an alderman of the Dublin Corporation, gave notice that, on the 21st of that month, he would move a resolution, affirming the right of Ireland to a resident Parliament, and the necessity of repealing the union. Alderman Butt expressed his determination of opposing the motion. Mr. Butt was one of the ablest members of the Irish bar, and a leader of the Conservative party. The debate was therefore anticipated with the greatest interest, as it promised to be a very exciting political duel. The old Assembly House, since abandoned for the more commodious City Hall, was densely crowded by the principal citizens, while the street was thronged by the populace during the debate. Mr. O'Connell marshalled his arguments under many heads: Ireland's capacity for independence—her right to have a Parliament of her own—the establishment of that right in 1782—the prosperity that followed—the incompetence of the Irish Parliament to destroy the Constitution—the corrupt means by which the union was carried—its disastrous results, and the national benefits that would follow its repeal. The speech, which lasted four hours, was mainly argumentative and statistical. It was accepted by his followers as an elaborate and masterly statement of the case. Mr. Butt replied with equal ability and more fervid eloquence. The debate was adjourned. Next day other members took part in it. It was again adjourned, and as the contest proceeded the public excitement rose to fever heat. At two o'clock on the third day Mr. O'Connell rose to reply. "No report," says Mr. O'Neil Daunt, "could possibly do justice to that magnificent reply. The consciousness of a great moral triumph seemed to animate his voice, his glance, and his gestures. Never had I heard him so eloquent, never had I witnessed so noble a display of his transcendent powers." The division showed that 41 were in favour of a domestic legislature and 15 were opposed to it.
The Hanoverian dynasty and the Walpole Ministry made rapid strides in popularity, and carried all before them. The new Parliament met in January, 1728, and Walpole's party had in the House four hundred and twenty-seven members, all staunch in his support. So strong was the party in power, that several measures were carried which at other times would have raised discontent. It was proposed by Horace Walpole that two hundred and thirty thousand pounds should be voted for maintaining twelve thousand Hessians in the king's service. The Duke of Brunswick was, by treaty, to be paid twenty-five thousand pounds a year for four years for the maintenance of five thousand more troops.详情
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