Lord Fitzgerald, a pension and peerage.Parliament opened gloomily on the 21st of January, 1806. The total failure of Pitt's new Continental coalition, the surrender of Ulm, the battle of Austerlitz, the retreat of Austria into peace with Napoleon, and of Russia into her northern snows, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, and Belgium nearly all prostrate at the feet of Buonaparte, were killing Pitt. He had sought for renovation in the autumn at Bath; but its salutary waters and atmosphere had failed to restore his spirit, or to remove what Fox called the "Austerlitz look" from his face. He was dying at Putney as the House met, and the king was not in a condition to open the Session personally. The Royal Speech, read by a Commissioner, referred, with just pride, to the great victory of Trafalgar, and had but little to say on the defeat of all our endeavours on the Continent. The Opposition determined to move an amendment to the Address; but this was prevented by the announcement of the death of Pitt on the 23rd, two days after the opening of Parliament. Mr. Lascelles gave notice of a motion for a public funeral in Westminster Abbey. Fox moved that this question should be postponed till after the discussion on the Address, which was considered by Pitt's friends as a great want of generosity in Fox. The amendment was, of course, overruled, and it was voted, on the 27th of January, by a majority of two hundred and fifty-eight against eighty-nine, that Pitt should be buried in Westminster Abbey; which accordingly took place, the royal dukes, the Archbishop of Canterbury, eight bishops, a great number of peers, and about a hundred members of the House of Commons attending.Progress of the French Revolution—Death of Mirabeau—Attempted Flight of the King from Paris—Attitude of the Sovereigns of Europe—The Parties of the Right and of the Left—The Girondists—Decrees against the Emigrants—Negotiations between Marie Antoinette and Pitt—Condition of the French Army—Session of 1792; Debates on Foreign Affairs—Marriage of the Duke of York—The Prince of Wales's Allowance—The Budget—The Anti-Slavery Movement—Magistracy Bill—Attempts at Reform—The Society of the Friends of the People—Proclamation against Seditious Writings—Fox's Nonconformist Relief Bill—Prorogation of Parliament—Associations and Counter-Associations—Lord Cornwallis's War against Tippoo Sahib—Capture of Seringapatam—Peace with Tippoo—Embassy to China—Designs of the Powers against Poland—Catherine resolves to strike—Invasion of Poland—Neutrality of England—Conquest of Poland—Imminence of War between France and Austria—It is declared—Failure of the French Troops—The Duke of Brunswick's Proclamation—Insurrection of the 10th of August—Massacre of the Swiss—Suspension of the King—Ascendency of Jacobinism—Dumouriez in the Passes of the Argonne—Battle of Valmy—Retreat of the Prussians—Occupation of the Netherlands by the French Troops—Custine in Germany—Occupation of Nice and Savoy—Edict of Fraternity—Abolition of Royalty—Trial and Death of the King—Effect of the Deed on the Continent—The Militia called out in England—Debates in Parliament on War with France—The Alien Bill—Rupture of Diplomatic Relations with France—War declared against Britain—Efforts to preserve the Peace—They are Ineffectual.
As to the other changes in the Ministry, Sir Dudley Ryder being advanced to the bench, Murray succeeded him as Attorney-General. Lord Chancellor Hardwicke was made an earl; Sir George Lyttelton and George Grenville, friends of Pitt, had places—one as Treasurer of the Navy, the other as cofferer. Pitt himself, who was suffering from his great enemy, the gout, at Bath, was passed over. No sooner did he meet with Fox in the House of Commons, than he said aloud, "Sir Thomas Robinson lead us! Newcastle might as well send his jack-boot to lead us!" No sooner did the unfortunate Sir Thomas open his mouth, than Pitt fell with crushing sarcasm upon him; and Fox completed his confusion by pretending to excuse him on account of his twenty years' absence abroad, and his consequent utter ignorance of all matters before the House. Soon after, Pitt made a most overwhelming speech, on the occasion of a petition against the return of a Government candidate by bribery, and called on Whigs of all sections to come forward and defend the liberties of the country, unless, he said, "you will degenerate into a little assembly, serving no other purpose than to register the arbitrary edicts of one too powerful subject!" This was a blow at Newcastle, which, coming from a colleague in office, made both him and his puppets in the Commons, Legge and Robinson, tremble. Newcastle saw clearly that he must soon dismount Robinson from his dangerous altitude, and give the place to Fox.[See larger version]The Convention proceeded to debate the question of Louis's trial. On the 6th of November Valazé, a Girondist, presented to it the report of the Committee of Twenty-Four. This report charged Louis Capet with high treason against the nation, and declared that his punishment ought to be more than simple deposition. The next day Mailhé, another Girondist, presented the report of the Committee of Legislation, and accompanied it by a speech, in which he accused Louis of all the crimes which had been committed during the Revolution, and recommended the trial of Charles I. as the model for his trial. The queen, he said, ought to be tried by an ordinary tribunal, observing that the heads of queens were no more inviolable than other women's heads. This was as plainly intimating the wishes of the Girondists for the execution of the king and queen as any Jacobins could do. In fact, so completely did his remarks coincide with the views of the Jacobins, that he was applauded by Jacobins, Girondists, and Plain. It was voted that the report should be printed and circulated through the Departments; that a committee should be appointed to collect the necessary papers and other evidence; that these should be submitted to Louis, or his counsel; that the Convention should fix the day of trial, and should pronounce sentence by every member voting separately, and aloud. It was decreed that Louis should be brought to the bar of the Convention on the 26th of December. The king's demand to be allowed counsel having been conceded, he began to prepare his defence. In the afternoon of the 16th, four commissioners, who had been members of the Committee of Twenty-Four, appeared, and presented him with a copy of his impeachment, and also submitted to him a number of papers that were to be produced against him. At half-past nine in the morning of the 26th all Paris was again under arms, and Chambon, the mayor, appeared at the Temple, attended by Santerre with a strong force. Louis was conducted to the mayor's carriage, and was thus guarded to the Feuillants, the House of the Convention.
Anglo-Mexican 33 0 0 158 0 0The same scenes, but on a still larger scale, were exhibiting in the capital. The Reign of Terror was fully inaugurated, and rapidly extending itself. At first, on the expulsion of the Girondists from the Convention—that is, in June—the guillotinings were only fourteen. In July the number was about the same; but in August Robespierre became a member of the Committee of Public Safety, which carried on the machinery of government, and then the work went on swimmingly. From the moment that Robespierre took his place on the Committee, the stream of blood flowed freely and steadily. His friend—if such monsters can be said to have any friends—Barrère, who belonged to the timid Plain till the Girondists were overthrown, now became his active agent. He proposed, on the 7th of August, that William Pitt should be proclaimed the enemy of the whole human race, and that a decree should be passed that every man had a right to assassinate him. On the 9th it was announced that the Republic was completed; that Hérault de Séchelles had produced a new and perfect constitution, which was at once adopted by the Convention. It was a constitution containing all the doctrines of the Mountain, in the bombast of that truculent faction. As it was quickly set aside, we need not detail its principles. Then this constitution was celebrated on the 10th of August, the anniversary sacred to the downfall of monarchy. Next followed fresh executions, among the most notable victims being Marie Antoinette (October 16) and Madame Roland (November 9), while most of the prominent Girondists were hunted down and killed.
The disorganised state of Ireland, occasioned by the famine and the enormous system of public relief which fostered idleness and destroyed the customary social restraints that kept the people in order, naturally led to much outrage and crime in that country. At the close of the ordinary Session of 1847, the Parliament, which had existed six years, was dissolved. The general election excited very little political interest, the minds of all parties being concentrated upon the terrible famine in Ireland, and the means necessary to mitigate its effects. The first Session of the new Parliament commenced on the 18th of November. Mr. Shaw-Lefevre was re-elected Speaker without opposition, some leading Conservatives expressing their admiration of the impartiality and dignity with which he had presided over the deliberations of the House. The Royal Speech was delivered by commission. It lamented that in some counties in Ireland atrocious crimes had been committed, and a spirit of insubordination had manifested itself, leading to an organised resistance to legal rights. Parliament was therefore requested to take further precautions against the perpetration of crime in that country; at the same time recommending the consideration of measures that would advance the social improvement of its people. In the course of the debate on the Address the state of Ireland was the subject of much discussion; and on the 29th of November Sir George Grey, then Home Secretary, brought in a Bill for this purpose. In doing so, he gave a full exposition of the disorganised state of the country. He showed that "the number of attempts on life by firing at the person, which was, in six months of 1846, 55, was in the same six months of 1847, 126; the number of robberies of arms, which was, in six months of 1846, 207, in the same six months of 1847 was 530; and the number of firings of dwellings, which in six months of 1846 was 51, was, in the same six months of 1847, 116. Even this statement gave an inadequate idea of the increase of those offences in districts which were now particularly infested by crime. The total number of offences of the three classes which he had just mentioned amounted, in the last month, to 195 in the whole of Ireland; but the counties of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary furnished 139 of them—the extent of offences in those counties being 71 per cent. on the total of offences in Ireland, and the population being only 13 per cent. on the whole population of Ireland." It was principally to those counties that his observations applied; but as the tendency of crime was to spread, they must be applied in some degree also to King's County, Roscommon, and part of Fermanagh. The crimes which he wished to repress were not directed against the landlord class alone, but against every class and description of landowners. Their ordinary object was the commission of wilful and deliberate assassination, not in dark or desolate places, but in broad daylight—of assassination, too, encouraged by the entire impunity with which it was perpetrated; for it was notorious that none but the police would lend a hand to arrest the flight, or capture the person, of the assassin.
[See larger version]The spirit of gambling thus set going by Government itself soon surpassed all bounds, and burst forth in a thousand shapes. It was well known that the king, his mistresses, his courtiers, his son and heir apparent, were all dabbling busily in the muddy waters of this huge pool of trickery and corruption. A thousand other schemes were invented and made public to draw in fresh gudgeons, and the Prince of Wales allowed his name to stand as governor of a Welsh Copper Company. All ranks and classes rushed to Change Alley—dukes, lords, country squires, bishops, clergy (both Established and Dissenting), were mixed up with stockjobbers and brokers in eager traffic. Ladies of all ranks mingled in the throng, struggling through the press and straining their voices to be heard amid the hubbub. There and all over the kingdom were advertised and hawked about the following and other schemes:—Wrecks to be fished for on the Irish coast; plans for making of oil from sunflower seeds; for extracting of silver from lead; for the transmuting of quicksilver into a malleable and fine metal; for importing a number of large jackasses from Spain; for a wheel for perpetual motion; and, finally, for an undertaking which shall in due time be revealed!
Lord Rawdon again attempted to mitigate the condition of debtors imprisoned by their creditors, but did not succeed; and after Dundas had drawn a very flattering picture of the condition of India in presenting his annual statement of Indian finance, and had procured some regulations for insuring the payment of seamen's wages to themselves or their families, the king prorogued Parliament on the 15th of June, still congratulating the country on the prospect of peace and of reducing substantially the National Debt.
Where shall she lay her head?
BRITISH LINE-OF-BATTLE SHIPS (1836).详情
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