King of the prow, the ploughshare, and the sword!Napoleon, seeing that Bernadotte was become King of Sweden contrary to his secret will and to his expectations, determined, however, that he should still serve him. He gave him no respite. He demanded incessantly, and with his usual impetuosity, that Bernadotte should declare war against Great Britain and shut out of the Baltic both British and American merchandise. Alexander regarded him first with suspicion but his spies soon dissipated his fears. They soon perceived that Bernadotte was not disposed to be at once master of a powerful kingdom and the vassal of France. Alexander made offers of friendship; they were accepted by Bernadotte with real or affected pleasure, and his course became clearer. For the next two years there was a great strife to secure the alliance of the Crown Prince; and the proud, disdainful, imperious temper of Napoleon, who could not brook that one who had been created by him out of nothing but a sergeant of marines should presume to exercise an independent will, threw the prize into the hands of the more astute Russian, and decided the fate of Europe and of himself.Another matter which he was eager to set right was the captivity of the King of Spain. He had one hundred thousand of his best disciplined and most seasoned troops in Spain, and he was anxious to get them out to meet the approaching Allies. Besides this, he was equally anxious to render the stay of Wellington in the south of France indefensible. To effect these purposes, he determined not only to liberate Ferdinand of Spain, but to send him home under the conditions of a treaty, by which a full exchange of prisoners should be effected, and the continuance of the British there be declared unnecessary. Nay, he did all in his power to embroil the Spaniards with their deliverers, the British. By a treaty Buonaparte recognised Ferdinand VII. and his successors as King of Spain and the Indies, and Ferdinand, on his part, bound himself to maintain the integrity of his empire, and to oblige the British immediately to evacuate every part of Spain. The contracting powers were to maintain their maritime rights against Great Britain; and whilst Buonaparte surrendered all fortresses held by him in Spain, Ferdinand was to continue to all the Spaniards who had adhered to King Joseph the rights, privileges, and property they had enjoyed under him.
In the interval, the character and conduct of the Prince of Wales came prominently before the public. The two great friends of the prince were Fox and Sheridan. If the intellectual qualities of these two remarkable men had been equalled by their moral ones, no fitter companions for a young prince could have been found. But, unfortunately, they were as distinguished for their drinking and dissipation, and Fox for his reckless gambling, as for their talents. Pitt and they were in violent opposition, and as Pitt, with his cold, unimpulsive nature, stood firmly by the king, Fox and Sheridan were, as matters of party, warmly the advocates of the prince. Hence the king and his son, sufficiently at strife on the ground of the prince's extravagance and debauchery, were rendered doubly so by the faction fire of their respective adherents. Pitt, who might have softened greatly the hostile feeling between the royal father and son, by recommending less parsimony on the part of the king, and kindly endeavouring to induce the prince to exhibit more respect for his father, never displayed the slightest disposition to act so generous and truly politic a part. Sheridan and some others of the Whig party mentioned the prince's debts, and urged the propriety of something being done to save the honour of the Heir Apparent; but Pitt turned a deaf ear, and the king informed the prince that he could not sanction the payment of his debts by Parliament, nor was he disposed to increase his allowance from the Civil List. On this the prince determined to break up his household, which had been appointed by the king, and cost the prince twenty thousand pounds, to sell his horses and carriages, and to live in a few rooms like a private gentleman. This he did; his fine horses were paraded through the streets on their way to Tattersall's to be sold, and he stopped the building of Carlton House. All this would have been admirable had it proceeded from a real desire to economise on the part of the prince, in order to satisfy his clamorous creditors, and to commence a real reform of his habits; but the whole was only a mode of mortifying the king and Court party by thus exhibiting the Heir Apparent as compelled, by the refusal of a proper allowance, to abandon the style befitting his rank, and sink himself into that of a mere lodger of scanty means. If this grand man?uvre did not accomplish its object at Court, it, however, told on his own party, who resolved in the next Session to make a grand effort for the liquidation of his debts.THE CLARE CONTEST: FATHER MURPHY LEADING HIS TENANTS TO THE POLL. (See p. 273.)
The result of the Duke's deliberations upon the crisis and the duty of Government respecting it was stated at length in an unpublished manuscript, left in his own handwriting, and is probably a copy of the memorandum sent to the king. The following is the substance of the Duke's reflections as given in Mr. Gleig's "Life of Wellington":—
GEORGE I.[See larger version]
There was an energetic debate in each House as the Bill passed through. It was opposed in the Peers by Lords Lansdowne, Holland, and Erskine, but was carried by ninety-three against twenty-seven. Ten peers entered a strong protest on the journals against the measure, denying the traitorous conspiracy or the extensive disaffection to the Government alleged, affirming that the execution of the ordinary laws would have been amply sufficient, and that Ministers were not entitled to indemnity for causeless arrests and long imprisonments which had taken place, for the Bill went to protect them in decidedly illegal acts. In the House of Commons the Bill was strongly opposed by Brougham, Tierney, Mr. Lambton—afterwards Lord Durham—and Sir Samuel Romilly. They condemned the conduct of Ministers in severe language, while the Bill was supported by Canning, by Mr. Lamb—afterwards Lord Melbourne, who generally went with the other side—by Sir William Garrow, and Sir Samuel Shepherd, Attorney-General.The elections for the new Parliament were carried on with much vigour, and there were upwards of a hundred contested ones. In some cases the contest was extremely violent, considering the death of the king was almost daily expected, and that the term of the Parliament must necessarily be a short one. In Westminster there were no less than six candidates. Lord Cochrane was about to depart for Chili to take the command of the naval forces of that state, and therefore did not offer himself again. There were Sir Francis Burdett again, the Honourable Douglas Kinnaird, Sir Murray Maxwell, Sir Samuel Romilly, Major Cartwright, and Mr. Henry Hunt, commonly called Orator Hunt. Of these Sir Murray Maxwell was a Tory, and received severe treatment. Major Cartwright and Hunt obtained very little support, and soon withdrew from the contest. The members returned were Romilly and Burdett, a Whig and a Radical. For London were returned four new members, all Whigs, Wood, Wilson, Waithman, and Thorpe. Brougham patriotically stood for Westmoreland, to break, if possible, the influence of the Lowther family; but he was compelled to retire on the fourth day, and two of the Lowther family were returned. A hundred and ninety new members were returned, and the Opposition gained considerably by the election. An acute observer, well accustomed to party battles, remarked that Government did not appear much beloved, and that they had almost spent all their war popularity; and they were not destined to recover it in the coming year.
The British during this year were engaged in a variety of enterprises, and in very different and distant parts of the world, with a success as various. The most remarkable undertaking was the defence of Lower Calabria, which showed what might be effected by British soldiers, if employed in sufficient numbers, and under able commanders. We have already sketched the attempt by a small Russian army and a smaller British one to support Ferdinand of Naples in his kingdom against the French. As General St. Cyr came back upon them, followed by Massena, with altogether sixty thousand men, the seven thousand of British and Russians were obliged to retreat, the Russians embarking for Corfu, and the British crossing over into Sicily, whither the Neapolitan Court had fled, taking up its residence at Palermo.
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:"—详情
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