The removal of this popular and "chivalrous" Viceroy caused universal expressions of grief among the Roman Catholic party. In the Association, O'Connell and Sheil spoke in the most glowing terms of his character and his administration. He quitted Ireland on the 19th of January, 1829, followed from the Castle gates to the pier at Kingstown by an immense concourse of people. In a letter to Dr. Curtis Lord Anglesey gave an extraordinary parting advice for a chief ruler of Ireland, "Agitate—agitate—agitate!" He was succeeded by the Duke of Northumberland, a man not at all likely to trouble his chief with controversy about anything. His appointment, however, brought back the Conservative aristocracy to the Castle, and had a soothing effect on the Protestant mind, while his administration was mild towards the other party.
But smoothly as this transaction had passed, there was a hurricane behind. The threatened extension of the measure to Scotland roused all the Presbyterian bigotry of the North. The synod of Glasgow and other synods passed resolutions vowing to oppose any interference with the Scottish Act for the suppression of Popery. Press and pulpit were speedily inflamed; associations were formed in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and most of the towns, for the defence of the Protestant interest. All the old persecutions and insults of Catholics were renewed; they could not safely appear in the streets, or remain safely in their houses. Not even those liberal enough to advocate the just rights of Catholics were secure, at least from rude treatment. Dr. Robertson, the historian, was hooted, when he went abroad, as a favourer of the Papists. There was as yet no more toleration in Scotland than if a William III. had never appeared in England. From Scotland the intolerant leaven spread southwards. It grew fiercer and fiercer, and in a while found a proper champion in the hot-headed Lord George Gordon, whose exploits as the ringleader of riot, and fire, and confusion, culminated two years later in the scenes of destruction and terror for ever memorable as the Gordon riots.
No scene in history ever was fraught with such multiplied horrors. Thirty thousand French perished in that fatal passage of the Beresina; and had Kutusoff done what he might, not a man, not Napoleon himself, could have escaped. But this cautious old general was contented that winter should finish the work. In the first few days after Napoleon had quitted Smolensk the Russians had taken twenty-six thousand prisoners, including three hundred officers, and two hundred and twenty-eight guns, with numerous standards. They had killed ten thousand Frenchmen, and now thirty thousand more had perished. That was enough for Kutusoff.During this period a vast empire was beginning to unfold itself in the East Indies, destined to produce a vast trade, and pour a perfect mine of wealth into Great Britain. The victories of Clive, Eyre Coote, and others, were telling on our commerce. During the early part of this period this effect was slow, and our exports to India and China up to 1741 did not average more than ￡148,000 per annum in value. Bullion, however, was exported to pay expenses and to purchase tea to an annual amount of upwards of half a million. Towards the end of this period, however, our exports to India and China amounted annually to more than half a million; and the necessity for the export of bullion had sunk to an annual demand for less than ￡100,000. The amount of tea imported from China during this period rose from about 140,000 pounds annually to nearly 3,000,000 pounds annually—an enormous increase.RETREAT OF THE FRENCH FROM RUSSIA. (See p. 50.)
But the League did more than attempt to convert the country party. They determined to create a country party of their own. They had already taken up the registration of voters in the boroughs, from which they proceeded, with that practical common sense which had distinguished nearly all their movements, to inquire into the position of the country constituencies, where hitherto the landowners had held undisputed sway. The scheme which resulted from this incursion into the dominions of the enemy was developed by Mr. Cobden at a meeting in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, on the 24th of October, 1844. The Chandos clause in the Reform Act, giving the tenant-farmers votes for county members, had so strengthened the landlords' influence in the county that opposition at most of the county elections was hopeless. But Mr. Cobden showed his hearers that the counties were really more vulnerable than the small pocket boroughs. In many of these there was no increase from year to year in the number of voters—no extension of houses. The whole property belonged to a neighbouring noble, and as Mr. Cobden said, "You could no more touch the votes which he held through the property than you could touch the balance in his banker's hands." But the county constituency might be increased indefinitely, for there it required but a freehold property of the value of forty shillings a year to give a man a vote. This sum had been adopted from an ancient regulation, when money was of far greater value, and land of far less money worth than it was then; but the forty-shilling qualification existed, and was a powerful engine for the creation of voters. Up to that time it had had but little effect. The laws of England, but more especially the habits and prejudices of landowners, had always kept the land of the county in so few hands as to present an extraordinary contrast with the condition of things in all other nations of Europe. The danger of the forty-shilling clause to aristocratic influence in the county was not perceived, simply because forty-shilling freeholders were rare. But there was no reason why they should be rare. The passion for possessing freehold land was widely spread, and a few facilities offered for purchasing it would soon create a large number of small holders. The chief difficulty in the way of this had hitherto been the great cost of transferring land. Owing to the complicated laws of real property, the land, unlike other articles, could only be bought and sold after a minute investigation into the owner's title, which necessitated an historical account of the ownership extending back over many years. All this, however, the League could easily obviate. They could buy land in the lump, register its title once for all, and part it into small pieces for small buyers. "This," remarked Mr. Cobden, "must be done," and it was done. The Conservative party sneered at the Manchester man's proposition of serving land over a counter, like calico, by the yard; but the movement soon began to tell upon elections, and to alarm the great landed proprietors.
But there was no rest for Frederick. Daun was overrunning Saxony; had reduced Leipsic, Wittenberg, and Torgau. Frederick marched against him, retook Leipsic, and came up with Daun at Torgau on the 3rd of November. There a most sanguinary battle took place, which lasted all day and late into the night. Within half an hour five thousand of Frederick's grenadiers, the pride of his army, were killed by Daun's batteries of four hundred cannon. Frederick was himself disabled and carried into the rear, and altogether fourteen thousand Prussians were killed or wounded, and twenty thousand of the Austrians. This scene of savage slaughter closed the campaign. The Austrians evacuated Saxony, with the exception of Dresden; the Russians re-passed the Oder, and Frederick took up his winter quarters at Leipsic.[See larger version]
The year 1818 did not close without one more brush of war. This was in India. There had not been much quiet, even after the destruction of Tippoo Sultan and the power of Mysore. When the Earl of Moira (afterwards Marquis of Hastings) succeeded, as Governor-General, to Earl Minto, in 1813, he found the country still disturbed in different directions, particularly on the north-west frontiers. The Burmese engaged his immediate attention, and then the Nepaulese, who were not quietened till after two campaigns. But there was a far more troublesome enemy than either of these in the field. These were the Pindarrees, a multitude of horsemen made up of the scum of Hindostan—men who had either lost caste, or never had any—who formed themselves into flying bands, and with the swiftness of the wind rushed down on the cultivated districts, and swept all before them—cattle, sheep, money, jewels, everything that could be made prey of. The two most celebrated chiefs of the Pindarrees were Kureem and Cheetoo, but Cheetoo managed to put down Kureem, and became the one great and formidable head of these robbers. In 1811 he rode at the head of twenty-five thousand cavalry. In 1814, whilst our troops were engaged in Nepaul, the Pindarrees, under Cheetoo, crossed the Nerbudda, the Godavery, and advanced to the Kistnah, ravaging the whole of the Deccan and the neighbouring territories; and in spite of our forces under Major Frazer in one direction, and Colonel Doveton in another, they effected their retreat across the Nerbudda again, loaded with enormous booty. In 1816 they made a still more extensive incursion, ten thousand of them descending into the Madras Presidency as far as Guntoor, and though Colonel Doveton exerted himself to come up with them, it was in vain. In twelve days Cheetoo's marauders had plundered three hundred and ninety villages in the Company's territory, put to death one hundred and eighty-two people, wounded five hundred and five, and tortured in various ways three thousand six hundred.
The Hon. H. Skeffington, made clerk of Paper Office at the Castle, with ￡7,500 for his patronage.The first report related to the duties and revenues of bishops. The Commissioners suggested various alterations of the boundaries of dioceses. They recommended the union of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol, and of Bangor and St. Asaph. They also recommended the establishment of two new sees, Ripon and Manchester. They calculated the net income of the bishoprics of England and Wales at ￡148,875. They found that, owing to the unequal manner in which this revenue was distributed, the income of one-half the bishoprics was below the sum necessary to cover the expenses to which a bishop is unavoidably subject, which rendered it necessary to hold livings in commendam. To do away with this state of things, and with a view to diminish the inducements to episcopal translations, they recommended a different distribution of episcopal revenues. In the second and fourth reports, and the draft of the fifth report, they presented the result of their inquiries on cathedral and collegiate churches. They recommended the appropriation of part of their revenues, and of the whole of the endowments for non-residentiary prebends, dignitaries, and officers, and that the proceeds in both cases should be carried to the account of a fund, out of which better provision should be made for the cure of souls. In their second report they stated that they had prepared a Bill for regulating pluralities and the residence of the clergy.
But the condition of Canada was very tempting to the cupidity of Madison and his colleagues. We had very few troops there, and the defences had been neglected in the tremendous struggle going on in Europe. At this moment it appeared especially opportune for invading the Canadas from the States, as Britain was engaged not only in the arduous struggle in Spain, but its attention was occupied in watching and promoting the measures that were being prepared in Russia, in Sweden, and throughout Germany, against the general oppressor. At such a moment the Americans—professed zealots for liberty and independence—thought it a worthy object to filch the colonies of the country which, above all others, was maintaining the contest against the universal despot. They thought the French Canadians would rise and join the allies of France against Great Britain. The American Government had accordingly, so early as in 1811, and nearly a year previous to the declaration of war, mustered ten thousand men at Boston, ready for this expedition; and long before the note of war was sounded they had called out fifty thousand volunteers. Still, up to the very moment of declaring war, Madison had continually assured our envoy that there was nothing that he so much wished as the continuance of amicable connections between the two countries.
The Duke earnestly recommended the utmost promptness and liberality as the only means to settle the matter effectually and at once. He said that to give only moderate assistance was sure to enable Buonaparte to protract the contest, and would cost Britain more in the end; that, on the contrary, if Britain found the means of maintaining a great army, he was confident that "the contest would be a very short one, and decidedly successful." And this, in the circumstances, was clearly the best advice. Great Britain, having been no party to the silly arrangement for setting up Buonaparte as a burlesque emperor at the very doors of France, might very well have said to the Allied sovereigns—"This is your work; we have no further concern in it; you may finish it as you please." But Britain was sure not to do this; as both the Government and nation had set their mind on hunting down the slippery and mischievous adventurer, they were sure to follow up the pursuit.
The construction of public roads has been greatly improved in the United Kingdom by the general adoption of the plan of Mr. Macadam, who gave his name to the process of substituting stones broken small for the old rough pavement. We read with astonishment of the state of English roads a century ago, of carriages breaking down and sticking fast in deep ruts, and of days passed in a journey which now only occupies as many hours. Yet in early times England was better off in this respect than other countries. Of all the proofs of social progress which the country now exhibits to such a marvellous extent on every side, there is nothing more decisive or more wonderful than the rapidity with which we have improved and extended our internal communication. From 1818 to 1839 the length of turnpike roads in England and Wales was increased by more than 1,000 miles. In the former year England and Wales contained paved streets and turnpike roads to the extent of 19,725 miles. Scotland also made great progress in the construction of highways from the commencement of the century, and roads were thrown across the wildest districts in Ireland. By the improvement of the common roads, and in the construction of vehicles, stage coaches increased their speed from four to ten miles an hour. Upon the Stamp Office returns for 1834 a calculation was based which showed that the extent of travelling on licensed conveyances in that year would be equal to the conveyance of one person for a distance of 597,159,420 miles, or more than six times the distance between the earth and the sun. There were, in 1837, in England, fifty-four mail coaches drawn by four horses each, and forty-nine by two horses each, drawn at an average speed of nine miles an hour. Ireland had at the same time thirty four-horse mails, and Scotland ten.Another attempt was to burn a portion of the Brest fleet, which was found lying off La Rochelle, in the Basque Roads. Lord Gambier, on the 11th of March, wrote to the Admiralty proposing to send fire-ships amongst them and destroy them. The Admiralty seized on the idea; but instead of leaving Lord Gambier to work out his own plan, they appointed Lord Cochrane to that service, under Gambier. This was sure to create jealousies, not only in the mind of Gambier—to whom the Admiralty had written on the 19th, approving his design, and ordering him to execute it according to his own ideas—but also in the minds of other officers in Gambier's fleet. Lord Cochrane proceeded to the Basque Roads in a frigate, arriving there on the 3rd of April, and presenting Gambier with a letter informing him of the change of plan by the Admiralty. Mr. Congreve, with a supply of his rockets, was to accompany the fire-ships from England; and on the 11th, these having arrived, and being joined by several large transports which Lord Gambier had converted into fire-ships, the attack was made. The French squadron was lying between the isle of Aix and the town of La Rochelle, in a narrow passage, commanded by powerful batteries both on the land and on the island of Aix. Besides this, numbers of gunboats were placed so as to defend the approach to the vessels; but still more, a very strong boom was stretched across the passage, formed of enormous cables, secured by equally enormous anchors, and supported by buoys. None of the officers, not even Gambier or Cochrane, seem to have been aware of this boom till some of the foremost fire-ships ran against it; and several of the ships, whilst thus detained, exploded, being too far off to do any harm. But Captain Woolridge, in the Mediator, burst the boom asunder, and the fire-ships sailed up towards the French ships in the dark, and exploded, one after another, with a terrible uproar—one fire-ship alone containing fifteen hundred barrels of gunpowder, besides three or four hundred shells and three or four thousand hand-grenades. But the only mischief done was to cause the French to cut their cables, and run their ships ashore. There, the next morning, they were seen; and Lord Cochrane signalled to Lord Gambier to stand in and destroy them before the rising of the tide should float them, and enable them to run up the river Charente. No ships, however, arriving, Cochrane again more urgently signalled that all the fleet was aground, except two vessels, and might easily be destroyed. Lord Gambier paid no attention to these signals, and, as the tide rose, the vessels floated and escaped up the river, except four, which still stuck fast, and were destroyed by Cochrane. Those which escaped were all greatly damaged. Had Gambier stood in with his vessels promptly, no doubt the whole squadron would have been destroyed.详情
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