Mr. Smith O'Brien returned to London, took his seat in the House of Commons, and spoke on the Crown and Government Securities Bill, the design of which was to facilitate prosecutions for political offences. He spoke openly of the military strength of the Republican party in Ireland, and the probable issue of an appeal to arms. But his address produced a scene of indescribable commotion and violence, and he was overwhelmed in a torrent of jeers, groans, and hisses, while Sir George Grey, in replying to him, was cheered with the utmost enthusiasm.[See larger version]Accordingly, the Duke found himself alone in his opposition to the plan of an armed intervention in Spain. It was at first proposed that all the Allies should unite in this; but it was ultimately agreed that a procès verbal should be jointly adopted, in which the King of Spain and his family should be declared to be under the protection of Europe, and Spain threatened with a terrible vengeance if any injury were done to them. This procès verbal was addressed to the head of the Spanish Government, with an explanation of the reasons for its adoption. The Duke was disappointed and mortified at the obstinate self-will of the crowned despots. He had gone to Verona in the hope that they would at all events be open to arguments in favour of peace; he found them bent on such a course as would render its preservation impossible. When the Ministers reduced their ideas to a definite shape, the incidents which they agreed to accept as leading necessarily to war appeared to him fallacious in the extreme. They were these:—First, an armed attack by Spain upon France. Second, any personal outrage offered to Ferdinand VII., or to any member of the Spanish royal family. Third, an act of the Spanish legislature dethroning the king, or interfering in any way with the right of succession. Austria, Prussia, and Russia accepted the conditions readily, adhering, at the same time, to the substance of the notes which they had previously put in.
The first business in the House of Commons was the re-election of Mr. Shaw Lefevre as Speaker. On the 24th of August the Address was moved by Mr. Mark Philips, and seconded by Mr. John Dundas. Mr. Wortley then moved an amendment similar to the one which had been carried in the House of Lords, in which he went over all the charges against the Government. His motion was seconded by Lord Bruce, and supported by Mr. Disraeli. The debate lasted several nights. Sir Robert Peel delivered a long and very able speech, in which he reviewed the whole policy of the Government. He was answered by Lord John Russell, whose speech closed the debate. The division gave to Sir Robert Peel a majority for which no one seemed prepared. The numbers were—for the Ministerial Address, 269; for the amendment, 360; majority against the Government, 91. On the 30th the resignation of Ministers was announced.[See larger version]
The action of private benevolence was on a scale proportioned to the vast exertions of the Government. It is quite impossible to estimate the amount of money contributed by the public for the relief of Irish distress. We know what sums were received by associations and committees; but great numbers sent their money directly, in answer to appeals from clergymen and others, to meet demands for relief in their respective localities. In this way we may easily suppose that abuses were committed, and that much of the money received was misappropriated, although the greater portion of it was honestly dispensed. Among the organisations established for raising contributions, the greatest was the British Relief Association, which had for its chairman and vice-chairman two of our merchant princes—Mr. Jones Loyd, afterwards Lord Overstone, and Mr. Thomas Baring. The amount of subscriptions collected by this association, "for the relief of extreme distress in Ireland and Scotland," was ￡269,302. The Queen's letters were issued for collections in the churches throughout England and Wales, and these produced ￡200,738, which was also entrusted to the British Relief Association. These sums made together no less than ￡470,040, which was dispensed in relief by one central committee. One-sixth of the amount was apportioned to the Highlands of Scotland, where there was extensive destitution, and the rest to Ireland. In fact, the amount applied to these objects by the association exceeded half a million sterling, for upwards of ￡130,000 had been obtained by the sale of provisions and seed corn in Ireland, and by interest accruing on the money contributed. In administering the funds placed at their disposal, the committee acted concurrently with the Government and the Poor Law authorities. It wisely determined at the outset that all grants should be in food, and not in money; and that no grant should be placed at the disposal of any individual for private distribution. The committee concluded their report to the subscribers by declaring that although evils of greater or less degree must attend every system of gratuitous relief, they were confident that any evils that might have accompanied the application of the funds would have been far more than counterbalanced by the benefits that had been conferred upon their starving fellow-countrymen, and that if ill-desert had sometimes participated in their bounty, a vast amount of human misery and suffering had been relieved.
[See larger version]
Whilst these changes had been passing at home, the effervescence in America had grown most riotous and alarming. Boston took the lead in tumultuous fury. In August, the house of Mr. Oliver, the newly appointed stamp-distributor, was attacked and ransacked; his effigy was hanged on a tree, thenceforward honoured by the name of the Liberty Tree. It was then taken down, paraded about the streets, and committed to the flames. The colonel of the militia was applied to, but sent an evasive answer, showing that there were others above the mob who enjoyed what the mob were doing. With this encouragement they broke out afresh, crying, "Liberty and Property!" which, said a colonial authority, "was their cry when they meant to plunder and pull down a house." This time they gutted and partly demolished the houses of the registrar-deputy of the Admiralty, the comptroller of the customs, and the lieutenant-governor, destroying a great quantity of important papers. In New York, delegates assembled from nine different colonial Assemblies. The governor forbade them to gather, declaring their meetings unprecedented and unlawful, but he took no active measures to prevent their deliberations. The Congress met in October, and sat for three weeks. They appointed Mr. Timothy Ruggles, from Massachusetts, their chairman, and passed fourteen resolutions denying the right of the mother country to tax them without their own consent; and they drew up petitions to the king and Parliament. Everywhere associations were established to resist the importation of British manufactures after the 1st of January next, and it was agreed that they should dissolve themselves as soon as the stamp tax was abolished. But it is well known, from letters addressed to Franklin, that the Republican element was already widely spread through the colonies, and this very first opportunity was seized on by its advocates to encourage the idea of throwing off the allegiance to England without further delay.SURPRISE OF FREDERICK AT HOCHKIRCH. (See p. 131.)
On the 8th of June the Earl of Liverpool announced to the House of Lords that a Ministry had been formed; that the Prince Regent had been pleased to appoint him First Lord of the Treasury, and to authorise him to complete the Cabinet. Earl Bathurst succeeded Liverpool as Secretary of the Colonies and Secretary at War; Sidmouth became Secretary of the Home Department; the Earl of Harrowby President of the Council; Nicholas Vansittart Chancellor of the Exchequer; Lord Melville, the son of the old late Lord, First Lord of the Admiralty; the Earl of Buckinghamshire President of the Board of Control; Castlereagh Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Mulgrave Master-General of the Ordnance; Eldon Lord Chancellor; Mr. F. Robinson became Vice-President of the Board of Trade and Treasurer of the Navy; Lord Clancarty President of the Board of Trade; Sir Thomas Plumer was made Attorney-General, and Sir William Garrow succeeded him as Solicitor-General. In Ireland, the Duke of Richmond became Lord-Lieutenant; Lord Manners Lord Chancellor; and Mr. Robert Peel, who now first emerged into public notice, Chief Secretary. The Cabinet, thus reconstructed, promised exactly the policy of the late Premier, and, indeed, with increased vigour. On the 17th of June the new Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced the Budget—professedly that of Spencer Perceval—which exceeded the grants of the former year by upwards of six millions—that having been fifty-six millions twenty-one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine pounds, this being sixty-two millions three hundred and seventy-six thousand three hundred and forty-eight pounds. New taxes were imposed, and two more loans raised and added to the Debt.
On the 15th of April a message was sent down to both Houses from the king, in conformity with his pledge to the new Ministry, with regard to Mr. Burke's plan of economical reform, which it proposed should be a measure of effectual retrenchment, and to include his Majesty's own Civil List. Lord Shelburne, in communicating it to the Lords, assured the House that this was no mere ministerial message, but was the genuine language of the king himself, proceeding from the heart. Burke, in the Commons, used more exuberant terms of eulogy, declaring that "it was the best of messages to the best of people from the best of kings!" Early in May he moved for leave to bring in his Bill on the subject, and then most of the promised wonders of reform and retrenchment vanished. The duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster and the principality of Wales were at once cut out of his scheme of reform. The plan of supplying the Royal Household by contract was abandoned; the Ordnance Office, in the hands of the Duke of Richmond, was not to be touched, nor the Treasurer of the Household's office; and some other of the royal establishments, which were mere sinecures, were left. But he succeeded in lopping off the third Secretaryship of State, which had been created for the American colonies, and was useless now they were gone; the Lords of Trade and Plantations; the Lords of Police in Scotland; the principal officers of the Great Wardrobe, Jewel Office, Treasurer of the Chamber, Cofferer of the Household, six Clerks of the Board of Green Cloth—in all, about a dozen offices were swept away. The Pension List was vigorously revised. No pension was to exceed three hundred pounds a year, and not more than six hundred pounds was to be granted in pensions in any one year; the names of the persons to whom they were granted were to be laid before Parliament within twenty days after the beginning of each session, until the amount in the Pension List should reach ninety thousand pounds. The Secret Service money was, at the same time, limited; and a solemn oath was to be administered to the Secretaries of State regarding its proper employment. It may be imagined what were the consternation and the disgust of the large class which had been revelling on these misappropriated funds of the nation. Burke, in a letter, describes feelingly the gauntlet he had to run in proceeding with his reform. "I was loaded," he says, "with hatred for everything withheld, and with obloquy for everything given." What, however, brought unjust odium on him, but just reproach on the Cabinet, was, that Lord Rockingham made haste, before the Bill was passed, to grant enormous pensions to his supporters and colleagues, Lord Ashburton and Colonel Barré. The latter ardent patriot, who, whilst Burke's Bill was in consideration, said it did not go far enough in reform, now willingly pocketed three thousand two hundred pounds a year, as a pension, besides the salary of his office. In the House of Lords, Thurlow again attacked the Bill, supported by Lords Mansfield and Loughborough; but it passed, and Burke immediately gave an illustrious proof of his disinterestedness, by bringing in a Bill for regulating and reducing the enormous emoluments of his own office, the Paymastership of the Forces.DEVONSHIRE VILLA, CHISWICK.Effects of Walpole's Administration—Formation of the new Ministry—Attitude of the Malcontents—Committee of Inquiry into Walpole's Administration—Walpole's Protectors—Ministerial Measures—Prorogation of Parliament—Disasters of the French—British Division in the Netherlands—Opening of Parliament—The German Mercenaries—Amendment of the Gin Act—George goes to Germany—Stair and De Noailles in Franconia—Stair in a Trap—Bold Resolution of King George—The Battle of Dettingen—Resignation of Stair—Retreat of the French—Negotiations for Peace—Treaty of Worms—Pelham becomes Prime Minister—The Attacks of Pitt on Carteret—Attempted Invasion of England—Its Failure—Progress of the French Arms—Frederick II. invades Bohemia—His Retirement—Resignation of Carteret—Pelham strengthens his Ministry—Death of the Emperor—Campaign in Flanders—Battle of Fontenoy—Campaign of Frederick II.—The Young Pretender's Preparations—Loss of the Elizabeth—Landing in the Hebrides—The Highland Clans join him—The First Brush—Raising of the Standard—Cope's Mistake—He turns aside at Dalwhinnie—Charles makes a Dash for Edinburgh—The March to Stirling—Right of the Dragoons—The "Canter of Coltbridge"—Edinburgh surprised by the Highlanders—Charles marching against Cope—Battle of Prestonpans—Delay in marching South—Discontent of the Highland Chiefs—The Start—Preparations in England—Apathy of the Aristocracy—Arrival of the Duke of Cumberland—Charles crosses the Border—Capture of Carlisle—The March to Derby—Resolution to retreat—"Black Friday"—The Retreat—Recapture of Carlisle—Siege of Stirling—Battle of Falkirk—Retreat to the Highlands—Cumberland's Pursuit—Gradual Collapse of the Highlanders—Battle of Culloden—Termination of the Rebellion—Cruelty of the Duke of Cumberland—Adventures of the Young Pretender—Trials and Executions—Ministerial Crisis.
The relief committees were also authorised to adopt measures to avert or mitigate the famine fever, which had prevailed to an awful extent. They were to provide temporary hospitals, to ventilate and cleanse cabins, to remove nuisances, and procure the proper burial of the dead, the funds necessary for these objects being advanced by the Government in the same way as for furnishing food. Upwards of 300 hospitals and dispensaries were provided under the Act, with accommodation for at least 23,000 patients, and the sanitary powers which it conferred were extensively acted upon. The expense incurred for these objects amounted to ￡119,000, the whole of which was made a free gift to the unions in aid of the rates. The entire amount advanced by the Government in 1846 and 1847 towards the relief of the Irish people under the fearful calamity to which they were exposed was ￡7,132,286, of which one half was to be repaid within ten years, and the rest was a free grant.
The matter was not to be lightly or easily dismissed. On the very same day that Lord Shelburne made his motion in the Lords, Edmund Burke gave notice of a series of resolutions which he should introduce after the Christmas recess. He stated the outline of his intended measures for economical reform. Whilst he was delivering a very fine speech on this occasion, Fox came in from the House of Lords, where he had been listening to the debate on Lord Shelburne's motion, and warmly supported him, lamenting that there was not virtue enough in the House to carry through so necessary—so patriotic a measure. "I am just come," he said, "from another place where the first men in this kingdom—the first in abilities, the first in estimation—are now libelling this House." The announcement excited, as Fox intended, much surprise, and he continued—"Yes, I repeat it. Every instance they give—and they give many and strong instances—of uncorrected abuses, with regard to the public money, is a libel on this House. Everything they state on the growth of corrupt influence—and it never was half so flourishing—is a libel on this House."In this situation the English General determined to attempt—what he should have attempted at first—to force the American lines. Accordingly, on the 7th of October, he drew out one thousand five hundred picked men, and formed them less than a mile from the American camp. No sooner were they descried, than they were attacked furiously by Poor's New Hampshire brigade. The attack extended rapidly to the right, where Morgan and his rifle corps stole round through some woods, and opened fire on the flank of the column. Other troops rushed out of the American entrenchments, and endeavoured to force their way between the British and their camp; but Major Ackland and his riflemen withstood them bravely; yet Burgoyne and his one thousand five hundred men were forced to fall back, leaving their cannon behind them. Morgan and his riflemen were now arriving, under cover of the woods, near the flank of the right wing; and Fraser, perceiving them, advanced to dislodge them. In this he succeeded, but was picked off by the American marksmen, as usual safe behind their trees, and fell mortally wounded. Meanwhile Colonel Brooks, at the head of Jackson's regiment of Massachusetts, was more successful. He turned the entrenchments of the German brigade, maintained his ground within the lines, and, to the wonderful relief of the Americans, seized the baggage of the Germans, and an ample supply of ammunition.详情
Copyright © 2020