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Thus passed the winter of 1821-22. Parliament met on the 5th of February, 1822, for the transaction of business, and was opened by the king. In his Speech from the Throne he expressed regret for the agricultural distress that prevailed in England; and he had the unpleasant task imposed upon him of referring to a state of things in Ireland the reverse of what might have been expected from his conciliation policy—"a spirit of outrage" that had led to daring and systematic violations of the law which he submitted to the consideration of Parliament. In the House of Lords the Address was adopted without opposition. In the Commons amendments were proposed by Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Hume, which were rejected by large majorities. The state of Ireland was the first subject that occupied the attention of the legislature. A salutary change had been effected in the executive of that country. Lord Talbot, the late Viceroy, was a man of narrow and exclusive spirit, wedded to the régime of Protestant ascendency. But according to a system of counterpoise which had been adopted in the Irish Government, his influence was checked by his Chief Secretary, Mr. Charles Grant, a man of large mind, enlightened principles, and high character. This system tended to keep the rival parties in a state of conflict, and naturally weakened the authority of the Government. A modification in the English Cabinet led to corresponding changes in Ireland. The spirit of discontent among the commercial classes in England induced Lord Liverpool to enter into a compromise with the Grenville-Wynn party, and the Marquis of Buckingham, its chief, was created a duke; Lord Sidmouth retired from the Home Office, and was succeeded by Mr. Peel; the Marquis Wellesley became Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; while Mr. Plunket, a man of Liberal politics and transcendent abilities, was appointed Irish Attorney-General in the room of Mr. Saurin, the champion of unmitigated Protestant ascendency. The Liberal tendencies of these statesmen were to some extent counteracted by the appointment of Mr. Goulburn, the determined opponent of the Catholic claims, as Chief Secretary. Lord Liverpool, however, defended the appointment on the ground that a man's opinions on the Catholic question should not disqualify him for office in Ireland, "it being understood that the existing laws, whatever they may be, are to be equally administered with respect to all classes of his Majesty's subjects, and that the Roman Catholics are in any case to enjoy their fair share of the privileges and advantages to which they are by law entitled."
THE CORONATION OF NAPOLEON IN NOTRE DAME. (See p. 499.)On the motion for taking this Bill into further consideration, on the 8th of April, Mr. Hussey presented various petitions from merchants regarding the measure, and moved that the Bill required recommittal. He was seconded by Fox, who now, though approving of the main principles of the Bill, took occasion to contend for the development of the advanced doctrines of political liberty inculcated by the French revolutionists, and to urge the insertion of clauses in the Bill, in accordance with them. When the day for the debate on the Bill arrived, Fox called on Burke, though he had not done so for some time, and, in the presence of a common friend, entered into explanations which appeared satisfactory. Fox then proposed that the answer of Burke should not take place on the discussion of the Quebec Bill, though this was the Bill on which this topic had been introduced. Burke refused to comply; but the two old friends walked to the House together, displaying the last show of friendship which was to take place between them. Accordingly, on the 6th of May, when the chairman of the Committee put the question, that the Quebec Bill be read paragraph by paragraph, Burke rose, and determined to have a fair hearing on the question of the French Revolution, and proceeded to inveigh strongly against it. Then there were loud cries of "Order!" and "Question!" and Mr. Baker declared that the argument of Mr. Burke was calculated to involve the House in unnecessary altercation, and perhaps with the Government of another nation. Fox said his right honourable friend could scarcely be said to be out of order, for it seemed to be a day of privilege, when any gentleman might stand up and take any topic, and abuse any Government, whether it had reference to the point in question or not; that not a word had been said of the French Revolution, yet he had risen and abused it. He might just as well have abused that of China or Hindostan. This taunt came with ill grace from Fox, who had himself introduced this extraneous topic into the debates on this very Bill, and seized that occasion to attack Burke's opinions in his absence.
On the 1st of December Bonney, Joyce, Kyd, and Holcroft were brought up, but the evidence was precisely the same against them as against Tooke; they were discharged without trial. Holcroft would have made a speech condemnatory of these prosecutions, but was not allowed. As these gentlemen were removed from the bar, John Thelwall, the well-known elocutionist and political lecturer, was brought up. As the Government thought there were some other charges against him, the trial went on, and lasted four days, but with the same result; and as it was found that it was hopeless to expect verdicts of guilty from English juries for mere demands of Reform, the rest of the accused were discharged. To the honour of the nation, people of all parties appeared to rejoice at the independent conduct of the juries.[See larger version]Here the Americans assert that when the minute-men did not retire on the first order, the English fired on them and killed eight of them. The English, on the other hand, declare that the Americans, in retiring, no sooner reached the shelter of a wall than they fired on the British; that the firing came also from some adjoining houses, and shot one man, and wounded Major Pitcairn's horse in two places; that then the English were ordered to fire, that they killed several, wounded others, and put the body, about a hundred in number, to flight. By this time the alarm had spread, the minute-men came running from all places, and as the English, having executed their commission, began to retire, the Americans shouted, "The lobsters run!" The minute-men now rushed over the bridge after them, and firing from behind trees and walls, killed a considerable number of them. The Americans—excellent shots with their rifles—could only be seen by the smoke of these rifles, and the English, tired with their long night march, instead of halting to hunt them out, kept on their way towards Lexington. The whole march was of this description: the English, unable to get a good shot at their enemies, the minute-men pressing on their rear, still sheltered by trees and walls. The result would have been more disastrous had not General Gage sent on to Lexington another detachment of foot and marines, consisting of about sixteen companies, under command of Lord Percy. In this first bloodshed between the colonists and the mother country, the British found they had lost sixty killed, forty-nine missing, and one hundred and thirty-six wounded. The Americans admitted that they had a loss of sixty, of whom two-thirds were killed.
Nelson fell about the middle of the action, and for hours it continued with terrible fury. Whole masses of ships lay jammed together, pouring into one another the most tremendous broadsides. When all was over, the vessels on both sides appeared mere ruins. Nineteen ships of the line were taken, but some of them were so battered that they were useless, and incapable of moving. Six or seven of the enemy's ships immediately went down or were burnt. The Spanish admiral, Gravina, was mortally wounded; the rear-admiral, Cisneros, was taken, and the French admiral, Villeneuve. The French and Spaniards, in the few ships which had escaped into Cadiz, seeing the helpless condition of many of the British vessels, made a sortie, and re-captured two of the prizes, and carried them into port. The Algeciras, another of the captured ships, was also rescued, and carried into Cadiz by her crew, who rose the next morning on the English lieutenant and prize party in charge of her during a gale, the English having taken off the hatches to give the Spaniards a chance for their lives, should she drive on shore. In the end, the prizes were found so riddled by shot that they were burnt; so that, with some of them running on shore in the gale, only four of the whole—three Spanish and one French—were saved, and brought to England as trophies. But the French and Spanish navies might be said to be annihilated; and, whatever might happen on the Continent, for the remainder of Napoleon's career England was for ever put beyond his reach. Nelson had indeed finished his mission. He had revived all the maritime glory of the days of Drake and Blake, and shown that, with a man like him at the head of her fleet, Britain might sit on her ocean throne, and smile at the hostile efforts of a world combined to crush her.Imagining that the crowd would now disperse, the soldiers were dismissed, and the magistrates returned home. But this was premature. There were shoals of hot-headed fanatics, who were not willing to depart without some damage inflicted on the Catholics. One division of these attacked the Bavarian chapel in Warwick Lane, Golden Square, and another attacked the Sardinian chapel in Duke Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, destroyed their interiors, and set them on fire. The engines arrived only in time to see a huge bonfire before the Sardinian chapel made of its seats, and both chapels too far in flames to be stopped; indeed, the mob would not allow the engines to play. The soldiers, too, arrived when it was too late to do anything, but seized thirteen of the rioters.With these superb demonstrations on the part of England terminated the war. Her enemies discovered that her hoped-for fall was yet far off, and were much more inclined to listen to overtures of peace, of which they were now all in great need. These negotiations had been begun by Fox immediately on the accession of the Rockingham Ministry to office. Unfortunately the division of work between two Secretaries of State entailed a double negotiation. To Fox as Secretary of Foreign Affairs fell the arrangements for peace with France and Spain and Holland, to Lord Shelburne as Colonial Secretary fell all arrangements connected with the colonies, that is, with the United States. It was most important that the two Ministers should be in close accord. Unfortunately their views differed widely. Fox was for the immediate recognition of the independence of America; Shelburne urged that to give independence at once was to throw away a trump card. Further, Mr. Oswald, Shelburne's agent, was duped by Franklin into accepting from him a paper, in which the surrender of Canada was laid down as a basis of peace. This paper Shelburne probably showed to the king, but, with great duplicity, refrained from mentioning its existence to his colleagues. On the 8th of May Mr. Thomas Grenville, Fox's agent, arrived at Paris, and negotiations were begun in real earnest. But the na?ve confession of Oswald that peace was absolutely necessary to England greatly hampered his efforts, and in a conversation with Lord Shelburne's envoy the existence of the Canada paper leaked out. Fox was naturally furious, but the majority of the Cabinet were opposed to him, and voted against his demand for the immediate recognition of American independence. He only refrained from resigning because he would not embitter Lord Rockingham's last moments in the world. Lord Shelburne became Premier in July.
MARSHAL BLUCHER. (From the Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A.)
During the passage of the Bill through committee three important proposals were made—the first by Lord Chandos, that tenants paying fifty pounds per annum for their holdings should have a vote in the counties. This was known as "the Chandos clause" of the Reform Bill, which was carried on the 18th of August by a majority of 84, the numbers being 232 and 148. Mr. Hume proposed that the colonies should be represented in the House of Commons; but the motion was negatived without a division. Mr. Hunt, the celebrated Radical Reformer, moved that all house-holders paying rates and taxes should have votes; but, strange to say, household suffrage had in the committee but a single supporter, Mr. Hunt himself, who upon a division constituted the minority. Mr. Hume asked only nineteen members to represent 100,000,000 of inhabitants, including our Indian empire, to which he would give four representatives. It was certainly a small demand, but as a representation of our colonies and dependencies it was ludicrously inadequate.
On the 20th of January a Bill was introduced to the House of Lords for the naturalisation of the Prince. By this Act, which passed the next day through the House of Commons, the Prince was declared already exempt, by an Act passed in the sixth year of George IV., from the obligations that had previously bound all persons to receive the Lord's Supper within one month before exhibition of a Bill for their naturalisation. And the Bill was permitted to be read the second time without his having taken the oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance, as required by an Act passed in the first year of George I. But on the second reading in the House of Lords the Duke of Wellington objected that it was not merely a Bill for naturalising the Prince, but that it also contained a clause which would enable him, "during the term of his natural life, to take precedence in rank after her Majesty in Parliament, and elsewhere as her Majesty might think fit and proper," any law, statute, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding. The Duke of Wellington stated that as the title of the Bill said nothing about precedence, the House had not received due notice of its contents; he therefore moved the adjournment of the debate. Lord Melbourne remarked that the omission was purely accidental and, in his opinion, of no importance; at the same time he admitted that this Bill did differ in form from other similar Bills, as it gave the Queen power to bestow on Prince Albert a higher rank than was assigned to Prince George of Denmark, or to Prince Leopold. But the reason for the difference was to be found in the relative situation of the parties. Lord Brougham, however, pointed out a practical difficulty that might possibly arise. According to the proposed arrangement, if the Queen should die before there was any issue from the marriage, the King of Hanover would reign in this country, and his son would be Prince of Wales. Prince Albert would thus be placed in the anomalous position of a foreign naturalised Prince, the husband of a deceased Queen, with a higher rank than the Prince of Wales. Lord Londonderry decidedly objected to giving a foreign Prince precedence over the Blood Royal. In consequence of this difference of opinion the debate was adjourned till the following week, when the Lord Chancellor stated that he would propose that power should be given to the Crown to allow the Prince to take precedence next after any Heir Apparent to the Throne. Subsequently, however, Lord Melbourne expressed himself so anxious that it should pass with all possible expedition, that he would leave out everything about precedence, and make it a simple Naturalisation Bill, in which shape it immediately passed.Mr. Peel publishes the letters that passed between him and Mr. Fitzgerald while the election was pending, and from these it would appear that the latter thought the contest would be violent and exasperated. After the fight was over, he said he had polled the gentry to a man, and all the fifty-pound freeholders. The organisation which had been shown was so complete and formidable that no man could contemplate without alarm what was to follow in that wretched country. Mr. Peel observes:—"The last letter of Mr. Fitzgerald is especially worthy of remark. Can there be a doubt that the example of the county would have been all-powerful in the case of every future election in Ireland for those counties in which a Roman Catholic constituency preponderated? It is true that Mr. O'Connell was the most formidable competitor whom Mr. Fitzgerald could have encountered; it is possible that that which took place in Clare would not have taken place had any other man than Mr. O'Connell been the candidate; but he must be blind, indeed, to the natural progress of events, and to the influence of example, in times of public excitement, on the feelings and passions of men, who could cherish the delusive hope that the instrument of political power, shivered to atoms in the county of Clare, would still be wielded with effect in Cork or Galway.
Though the genius and services of Pitt to his country have been overrated, he was a man of great and persevering energies, of remarkable talent and conspicuous oratory; but his temperament was cold, proud, self-glorifying, and imperious, without either the deep insight or the comprehensive grasp of genius.James Bradley (b. 1692), who succeeded Halley as the third Astronomer Royal, held that post till 1762, when he died. He had in 1728 distinguished himself by his discovery of an unanswerable proof of the motion of the earth by his observations on the apparent alteration in the place of a fixed star. His second great discovery was that of the mutation of the earth's axis, showing that the pole of the equator moves round the pole of the elliptic, not in a straight but in a waving line. Bradley gave important assistance to the Ministry in their alteration of the calendar in 1751, and the vast mass of his observations was published after his death, by the University of Oxford, in two volumes, in 1798.In architecture the first place is due to the patriarch of the science, Sir John Soane, who was employed in erecting or improving numerous public edifices in the metropolis and elsewhere. The atrocious law-courts, which he added to Westminster Hall, were happily removed in 1883. In 1826 he built the Freemasons' Hall, in Great Queen Street, having been chosen grand superintendent of works to the fraternity of Freemasons some years before. In 1833 he completed the State Paper Office in St. James's Park. He was now in his eightieth year, and he retired from the active labours of the profession in which he had been engaged for sixty years, during forty-five of which he had been in the service of the Bank of England. At his death, which occurred on January 20th, 1837, his house and museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields became the property of the public.详情
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