For some time after the revival of true poetry the old forms still hung about what in spirit was new. The last of the old school of any note may be said to have been Dr. Johnson and Dr. Darwin. Johnson was too thoroughly drilled into the dry, didactic fashion of the artificial past, he was too bigotedly self-willed to be capable of participating in the renovation. In fact, he never was more than a good versifier, one of that class who can win prizes for University themes on the true line and square system of metrical composition. His "London," a mere paraphrase of the third book of "Juvenal," and "The Vanity of Human Wishes" are precisely of that stamp. Johnson lived at the time of Chatterton's appearance, but he completely ignored him, and he ridiculed the simplicity of the poems introduced by Bishop Percy by absurd parodies on them, as—
We have no place of rest."The year 1812 opened, in England, by the assembling of Parliament on the 7th of January. The speech of the Regent was again delivered by commission. The great topic was the success of the war in Spain under Lord Wellington, whose military talents were highly praised. There was a reference also to the disagreements with America, and the difficulty of coming to any amicable arrangement with the United States. Lords Grey and Grenville, in the Peers, pronounced sweeping censures on the continuance of the war with France, and on the policy of Ministers towards America, from which source they prognosticated many disasters. In the Commons, the Opposition used similar language; and Sir Francis Burdett took a very gloomy view of our relations both with France and North America, and declared that we could anticipate no better policy until we had reformed our representative system.
Owing to these circumstances, occasion was taken, on the presentation to the Privy Council of the petition of the people of Boston for the removal of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, to animadvert on Franklin's conduct. This took place on the 29th of January, 1774, when Dunning and Lee were retained on the part of the petition, and Wedderburn, the Solicitor-General, appeared for the Crown. There were no less than thirty-five Privy Councillors present, amongst them Lord North, and Lord Gower at their head, as Lord President. Neither Dunning nor Lee spoke effectively, but as if they by no means relished the cause in which they were engaged; while Wedderburn seemed animated by extraordinary life and bitterness. He was the friend of Whately, who was now lying in a dangerous state from his wound. After speaking of the Charter and the insubordinate temper of the people of Massachusetts, he fell with withering sarcasm on Franklin, who was present. Hitherto, he said, private correspondence had been held sacred, even in times of the most rancorous party fury. But here was a gentleman who had a high rank amongst philosophers, and should be the last to sanction such infamous breaches of honour, openly avowing his concern in them. He asked where, henceforth, Dr. Franklin could show his face; and said that henceforth he must deem it a libel to be termed "a man of letters," he was "a man of three letters, f u r, a thief." Wedderburn could compare him only to Zanga, in Dr. Young's "Revenge:"—Another cause of the general uneasiness and depression of the public mind was the appearance, in the autumn of this year, of the mysterious visitant, cholera morbus. This disease had been long known in India, but it was only of late years that it began to extend its ravages over the rest of the world. Within two years it had carried off nearly a million of people in Asia. It made its first appearance in England at Sunderland, on the 26th of October, 1831. Its name had come before, spreading terror in every direction. It appeared in Edinburgh on February 6th, 1832, at Rotherhithe and Limehouse on February 13th, and in Dublin on March 3rd, 1832. In all these places, and in many others, the mortality was very great. But it was still more severe on the Continent. We know now that cholera could have been in a great measure averted, and that its mystery lay in our ignorance. We know that it always fell most heavily on the inhabitants of towns, hamlets, or houses where deficient drainage and ventilation, accumulations of putrescent matters, intemperance, and want of personal cleanliness most prevailed. It selected for the scenes of its habitation and its triumphs the usual haunts of typhus fever; and it effected its greatest ravages in the neighbourhoods of rivers and marshes. In London it was most virulent on the level of the Thames, and lost its power in exact arithmetical ratio to the height of the districts above that level. If it attacked a town or an army, and the inhabitants or the soldiers decamped, and scattered themselves over the country, in the clear air and pure sunshine, they escaped. It was possible, therefore, to guard against its power by a proper system of drainage and sewage; by proper ventilation; by personal cleanliness, temperance, and regularity; by the abolition of nuisances, stagnant pools, and open ditches; and by wholesome regimen and regular exercise in the open air. As it was, a general fast was appointed and the Privy Council issued stringent regulations which were not of much effect.
[See larger version]C'est le sort le plus beau, le plus digne d'envie!"
On the day after this division a deputation of nearly ninety members of the House of Commons, headed by Lord James Stuart, waited upon Lady Palmerston, and presented her with a full-length portrait of her husband, representing him in evening dress and wearing the ribbon of the Order of the Bath. They requested her Ladyship to accept of that testimony of their high sense of Viscount Palmerston's public and private character, and of the independent policy by which he maintained the honour and interests of the country. What made this presentation singularly opportune was the fact that on the same day a telegraphic despatch had been received from Paris, announcing the settlement of the Greek question. The Government was undoubtedly strengthened by Lord Palmerston's display, at a moment when its fall seemed inevitable.After the coronation, the queen resided at Brandenburgh House, determined to lead a life of dignified retirement. But the violent agitation and excitement, and the terribly painful mortification to which she was subjected in her ill-advised attempt to form part of the coronation pageant, were too much for her constitution. As soon as it was evident that her end was approaching, much public sympathy was excited, and the vicinity of her residence was incessantly thronged with persons of all classes making anxious inquiries about her health, and solicitous for her restoration. On the 4th of August, when her professional advisers were receiving instructions about the disposition of her property, one of them suggested the propriety of sending a messenger to Italy to seal up her papers, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of her enemies. "And what if they do?" she exclaimed; "I have no papers that they may not see. They can find nothing, because there is nothing, nor ever has been, to impeach my character." One of them said that he was aware of that, but her enemies might put there what they did not find. She replied, "I have always defied their malice, and I defy it still." Nevertheless, it was her conscious failure in her efforts to make the public believe this, coupled with the public humiliation to which she had been subjected, that bowed down her spirit at last, and gave the victory to her enemies. She had painted their characters in vivid colours in her private diary, and might have transmitted their punishment to posterity had she ordered it to be preserved and published; but she gave directions to have it destroyed, and it was burnt in her presence by one of her foreign maids. After suffering intensely for four or five days, she sank into a stupor, from which she never woke, and on the 7th of August, after an entire absence of sense and faculty for more than two hours, expired Caroline of Brunswick, Queen Consort of George IV., in the fifty-fourth year of her age. She had by her bedside in her last hours her faithful friends and constant attendants, Lord and Lady Hood, and Lady Anne Hamilton; Alderman Wood, who had been devoted to her interests from the first, was also present, as well as her legal and medical advisers.But on the 29th of February, 1776, the treaties lately entered into by the British Government with a number of German princes to furnish troops to fight in America, were laid on the table of the Commons; and intense indignation was raised against this most odious and impolitic measure. There had been negotiations with Russia for the purpose of procuring her savages to put down our kinsmen in America; but this barbarous attempt had failed. It was more successful with the petty princes of Germany. The Duke of Brunswick, the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, and other little despots, now greedily seized on the necessity of England, to drive the most extravagant terms with her. Under the name of levy-money, they were to receive seven pounds ten shillings for every man; and besides maintaining them, we were to pay to the Duke of Brunswick, who supplied four thousand and eighty-four men, a subsidy of fifteen thousand five hundred and nineteen pounds; the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, who furnished twelve thousand men, did not get such good terms as Brunswick—he had ten thousand pounds; the hereditary Prince of Hesse received six thousand pounds a-year, for only six hundred and eighty-eight men. Besides this, the men were to begin to receive pay before they began to march. Brunswick was also to get double his sum, or thirty-one thousand and thirty-eight pounds a-year, for two years after they had ceased to serve; and the Landgrave of Hesse was to receive twelve months' notice of the discontinuance of the payment after his troops had returned to his dominions. The payment for 1776 was to be four hundred and fifty thousand crowns, or nearly one hundred thousand pounds. The Prince of Waldeck soon after engaged to furnish six hundred and seventy men on equally good terms. Beyond all these conditions, England was bound to defend the dominions of those princes in the absence of their troops. The independent members of both Houses nobly discharged their duty in condemnation of this engagement of German mercenaries, but without effect, and the king prorogued Parliament, under the pleasing delusion that his foreign troops would soon bring his rebellious subjects to reason; and the Ministers apparently as firmly shared in this fallacious idea.
On the 8th of February Lord John Russell brought forward the paragraph of the Speech relating to agricultural distress, and moved for a select committee to inquire into the causes of the depression of the agricultural interest, although he confessed that he did not anticipate any satisfactory result from the investigation. In this the noble lord did not miscalculate, for after sitting for eight months the committee could not agree to any report, and all the benefit they conferred upon the public was an outline of the evidence which was laid before the House at the end of the Session. On the 9th and the 12th the same Minister submitted three measures to the House, which were passed into law this Session—namely, a Bill for the Commutation of Tithes in England; a Bill for a General Registration of Marriages, Births, and Deaths; and another for the amendment of the Law of Marriage. On the 16th of this month Mr. Hardy brought before the House of Commons the case of Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Raphael. The latter gentleman was one of the sheriffs of London, and he wished to represent an Irish constituency. Mr. O'Connell thought it was possible to get him in for the borough of Carlow; but he warned him that the expenses would be ￡2,000, and that this sum should be deposited in a bank as a preliminary, "say ￡2,000." It was alleged that this was a corrupt bargain, and Mr. O'Connell was accused of selling a Parliamentary seat. Mr. Hardy, therefore, moved for a select committee to investigate the transaction. The committee was obtained, and the result was a complete acquittal of Mr. O'Connell. So strong, however, was the feeling against him that no less than sixty members of Brooks's Club resigned, having failed to procure his expulsion.But unfortunately for the Pretender, at the moment that the Swedish hero should prepare his armament for the earliest spring, the conspiracy exploded. Whilst the leaders of it had been flattering themselves that it was conducted with the profoundest secrecy, the English Ministry were in possession of its clue. As early as October they had found reason to induce them to intercept the correspondence of Gyllenborg, and had come at once on the letters of Gortz. The matter was kept close, and as nothing was apprehended in winter, Ministers used the time to improve their knowledge of the scheme from the inspected letters passing between Gortz and Gyllenborg. On the king's return it was resolved to act, and accordingly Stanhope laid the information regarding this formidable conspiracy before the Council, and proposed that the Swedish Minister, who had clearly, by conspiring against the Government to which he was accredited, violated the law of nations, and deprived himself of its protection, should be arrested. The Cabinet at once assented to the proposal, and General Wade, a man of firm and resolute military habits, was ordered to make the arrest of the Ambassador. The general found Count Gyllenborg busy making up his despatches, which, after announcing laconically his errand, Wade took possession of, and then demanded the contents of his escritoire. The Dutch Government acted in the same manner to Gortz, and the evidence thus obtained was most conclusive.
Lord Auckland was then Governor-General of India, but the period of his tenure of office was drawing to a close. He hoped it would end brightly, that the war for the restoration of an imbecile and puppet king would have ended triumphantly, and that he would return to his native land bearing something of the reflected glory of the conquerors of Afghanistan. He had been cheered by the despatches of the too sanguine envoy in the month of October, who spoke only of the continued tranquillity of Cabul. November passed, however, without any intelligence, and all was anxiety and painful suspense. Intelligence at last came confirming the worst anticipations. Calcutta was astounded at the news that Afghanistan, believed to be prosperous and grateful for British intervention, was in arms against its deliverers. Suddenly the tranquillity of that doomed country was found to be a delusion. "Across the whole length and breadth of the land the history of that gigantic lie was written in characters of blood." Confounded and paralysed by the tidings of so great a failure, which he had not energy to retrieve, he thought only of abandoning the vicious policy of aggression that had ended so miserably, and given such a terrible blow to the prestige of British power in India, on which our dominion in the East so much depended. He had owed his appointment to the Whigs; and the Conservatives, who were now in office, had opposed the policy of the Government regarding the Afghan war. But no one seemed more sick of the policy of aggression than the Governor-General himself. He became thoroughly convinced of the folly of placing a detached force in a distant city which could be reached only through dangerous defiles occupied by an ever-watchful enemy, depending for supplies upon uncertain allies, and without any basis of operations. The expedition had proved enormously expensive, and had drained the Indian treasury of funds that should have been employed in developing the resources of our Indian possessions. When all this had ended in disastrous failure and national disgrace—when he recollected that the directors of the Company, as well as the Government, had expressed intense dissatisfaction at his policy, feeling conscious that their complaints were just, and that their worst forebodings had been realised, his spirit seems to have been completely broken; instead of any attempt at retrieving the misfortunes of his Government, he thought only of saving, if possible, what remained of the forces that he had sent across the Indus. Writing to the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Jaspar Nicolls, who was then on a tour through the Upper Provinces of India, with reference to the sending forward of reinforcements, he said he did not see how the sending forward of a brigade could by any possibility have any influence on the events which it was supposed were then passing at Cabul, which they could not reach before April. In his opinion they were not to think of marching fresh armies to the reconquest of that which they were likely to lose. He feared that safety to the force at Cabul could only come from itself. The Commander-in-Chief himself had been always of opinion that the renewed efforts of the Government to support Shah Sujah on his throne, and to establish a permanent influence in Afghanistan, was a great mistake. However, owing to the energy of Mr. George Clarke, the Governor-General's agent on the north-west frontier, and his assistant, Captain, afterwards Sir, Henry Lawrence, forces were dispatched from that quarter, under the command of General Pollock, who had commanded the garrison of Agra, having been in the Indian service since 1803, and having distinguished himself under General Lake. This appointment gave the greatest satisfaction, as it was believed that he was selected solely for his merit, and not through aristocratic influence. While he was preparing to advance, Lord Auckland was recalled, and Lord Ellenborough, the new Governor-General, arrived at Calcutta.
CADIZ.The first measure of importance after the appearance of Pitt in the House of Commons as Prime Minister was the annual motion of Wilberforce for leave to bring in a Bill for the abolition of the Slave Trade. Pitt and Fox both supported it, and it was carried by seventy-five against forty-nine. The second reading was carried by a still larger majority—one hundred against forty-two—but on going into committee upon it, it was postponed to the next Session. War and preparations for war were the all-absorbing business of those times.
Soon after appeared his twelve plates of "Industry and Idleness," and in 1753 he published a work called "The Analysis of Beauty," in which he attempted to prove that the foundation of beauty and grace consists in a flowing serpentine line. He gave numerous examples of it, and supported his theory with much ingenious argument. The book brought down upon him a perfect tempest of critical abuse from his envious and enraged contemporaries. In 1757 he visited France, and being engaged in sketching in Calais, he was seized and underwent very rough treatment from "the politest nation in the world," under an impression that he was employed by the English government to make drawings of the fortifications. This adventure he has commemorated in his picture of "Calais Gate." In the following year he painted his "Sigismunda."This appeal did something to strengthen them, but not permanently. The fact that Parliament might terminate any day from the death of the king did much to keep members in remembrance of their constituents; but the great cause of Ministerial decay of popularity was that the circumstance and spirit of the times demanded more liberal legislation than such men as Liverpool, Sidmouth, and Eldon could comprehend, much less originate. The manufacturing districts were especially in a depressed condition. The efforts which had been made to force a trade had failed. The excessive exportation of manufactured goods had resulted exactly as Brougham had prognosticated: the foreign markets had been glutted before the people were capable of buying, and the fall in prices had been ruinous. The equally great importation of raw material to continue the supply of fabrics for which the demand was inadequate, had made matters worse. The bankruptcies during the first half of this year were double the average number, credit was severely shaken, and numbers of workmen were thrown out of employment or reduced to very low wages. Wheat, though not so high as a year or two ago, averaged eighty shillings per quarter. The consequence was a renewed political action, and meetings were called by the workmen in various parts of the manufacturing districts to consider both their unsatisfactory position and the governmental as well as commercial causes of it. The Corn Laws were justly denounced as one potent cause of their sufferings, and the popular leaders of Reform were called upon to assist them in getting rid of it. So early as the 18th of January a meeting of this character was held at Manchester. Application had been made to the borough-reeve to summon a meeting to petition Parliament for this object, but he declined, the Manchester authorities of that day standing strangely aloof from the people in their endeavours for relief from this enactment, which was as inimical to their own interests as manufacturers, as it was to the comfort of their work-people.
Subscriptions began to pour in for the Association, and the work went on. The year 1839 opened with bright prospects for the Anti-Corn Law crusade. Times were, indeed, changed since pseudo-Liberals had been able to make the apathy of the country an excuse for withholding aid from those who had, on principle, continued to demand justice in the matter of the poor man's loaf. The movement was rapidly becoming general. Mr. Villiers had prophesied in the last Session of Parliament that the day was not far distant when the landed interest would be compelled to treat this question with respect, and abandon the practice of shouting down the advocates of Free Trade in the Legislature. That day had now arrived, and sooner, probably, than the prophet himself had expected it. There was scarcely a large town or thickly populated district in Great Britain which had not moved, or which was not about to petition Parliament against the bread-tax. In many cases political differences were not allowed to hinder the common fellowship of citizens having such an object as the overthrow of a system that threatened to convert the mercantile community into a mass of bankruptcy, and to involve all classes in deep distress.详情
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