It was during Lord Cornwallis's campaign in Mysore that Lord Macartney made his celebrated embassy to China, to endeavour to induce the Chinese to open their ports to trade with Britain; but his lordship succeeded in very little beyond making the Chinese and their country better known in the work written by his secretary, afterwards Sir John Barrow.During the discussion of this question, Sir George Savile brought forward another. This was a Bill for relieving Catholics, by repealing the penalties and disabilities imposed by the 10th and 11th of King William III. The hardships sought to be removed were these:—The prohibition of Catholic priests or Jesuits teaching their own doctrines in their own churches, such an act being high treason in natives and felony in foreigners; the forfeitures by Popish heirs of their property who received their education abroad, in such cases the estates going to the nearest Protestant heir; the power given to a Protestant to take the estate of his father, or next kinsman, who was a Catholic, during his lifetime; and the debarring all Catholics from acquiring legal property by any other means than descent. Dunning declared the restrictions a disgrace to humanity, and perfectly useless, as they were never enforced; but Sir George Savile said that was not really the fact, for that he himself knew Catholics who lived in daily terror of informers and of the infliction of the law. Thurlow, still Attorney-General, but about to ascend the woolsack, promptly supported the Bill; and Henry Dundas, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, lamented that it would afford no relief to his own country. These Acts did not affect Scotland, as they had been passed before the union; but Scotland had a similar Act passed by its own Parliament, and he promised to move for the repeal of this Scottish Act in the next Session. In the Commons there was an almost total unanimity on the subject; and in the Lords, the Bishop of Peterborough was nearly the only person who strongly opposed it. He asked that if, as it was argued, these Acts were a dead letter, why disturb the dead?
But this was not the only chastisement which the Americans had received. On the 27th Captain Gordon, of the Seahorse, accompanied by other vessels, attacked Alexandria, situated lower on the Potomac. They found no resistance from Fort Washington, built to protect the river at that point; and the authorities of Alexandria delivered up all public property, on condition that the private property should be spared. The British carried off the naval and ordnance stores, as well as twenty-one vessels, of different freights. On the 12th of September General Ross made an assault on the city of Baltimore. This was a strongly fortified place, and the Americans can always fight well under cover; and, on that account, the attempt should have been made with due military approaches. But General Ross had so readily dispersed the army that defended Washington, and another which had been drawn up in front of Baltimore, that he made a rash endeavour to carry the place at once, but was killed in the attempt, as well as a considerable number of his men. He had inflicted a loss of six or eight hundred men, in killed and wounded, on the Americans; but this was little satisfaction for his own loss.
The convention, which did not contain a word about the opium trade, gave great dissatisfaction at home, and Lord John Russell declared in the House of Commons, on the 6th of May, that it had been disapproved of by the Government; that Captain Elliot had been recalled, and Sir Henry Pottinger appointed plenipotentiary in his stead. The Chinese, meanwhile, soon violated their engagements. On the 19th of February an English boat was fired upon from North Wang-ton, in consequence of which the squadron under Captain Sir H. Flemming Senhouse attacked the forts on the 26th of February, and in a very short time the British colours were flying on the whole chain of these celebrated fortifications, and the British became masters of the islands without the loss of a single man. Proceeding up the river towards the Whampoa Reach they found it fortified with upwards of forty war junks, and the Cambridge, an old East Indiaman. But they were all silenced in an hour, when the marines and small-arm men were landed and stormed the works, driving before them upwards of 3,000 Chinese troops, and killing nearly 300. Next day Sir Gordon Bremer joined the advanced squadron, and the boats were pushed forward within gunshot of Howgua's fort; and thus, for the first time, were foreign ships seen from the walls of Canton. On the 2nd of May the Cruiser came up, having on board Major-General Sir Hugh Gough, who took command of the land forces. On approaching the fort it was found to be abandoned, as well as those higher up the river, the Chinese having fired all their guns and fled. The Prefect or Governor of Canton then made his appearance, accompanied by the Hong merchants, announcing that Keshin having been recalled and degraded, and the new Commissioner not having arrived, there was no authority to treat for peace. Captain Elliot again hesitating, requested the naval and military commanders to make no further movement towards the city until it was seen what was the disposition of the provincial authorities at Canton, and admitted the city to a ransom of ￡1,250,000. But Sir G. Bremer observed in a despatch that he feared the forbearance was misunderstood, and that a further punishment must be inflicted before that arrogant and perfidious Government was brought to reason. He was right; for on the 17th of March a flag of truce, with a message sent by Captain Elliot to the Imperial Commissioner, was fired upon by the Chinese. In consequence of this, a force under Captain Herbert, who was in advance of the rest of the armament, carried in succession all the forts up to Canton, taking, sinking, burning, and otherwise destroying the flotilla of the enemy, and hoisted the union Jack the same day on the walls of the British factory.Whilst the Gironde was thus weakened by this implacable and incurable feud with the Jacobins, Austria was making unmistakable signs of preparations for that war which Leopold had often threatened, but never commenced. Francis received deputations from the Emigrant princes, ordered the concentration of troops in Flanders, and spoke in so firm a tone of restoring Louis and the old system of things, that the French ambassador at Vienna, M. De Noailles, sent in his resignation, stating that he despaired of inducing the Emperor to listen to the language which had been dictated to him. Two days afterwards, however, Noailles recalled his resignation, saying he had obtained the categorical answer demanded of the Court of Vienna. This was sent in a dispatch from Baron von Cobentzel, the Foreign Minister of Austria. In this document, which was tantamount to a declaration of war, the Court of Vienna declared that it would listen to no terms on behalf of the King of France, except his entire restoration to all the ancient rights of his throne, according to the royal declaration of the 23rd of June, 1789; and the restoration of the domains in Alsace, with all their feudal rights, to the princes of the Empire. Moreover, Prince Kaunitz, the chief Minister of Francis, announced his determination to hold no correspondence with the Government which had usurped authority in France.
He was advised to try Westminster, where Mr. John Churchill, the brother of his coadjutor, the satirist, and others, were in his interest, but he boldly struck for the City of London. There were seven candidates at the poll. Wilkes received one thousand two hundred and forty-seven votes, but he was still lowest on the poll. His friends, the mob, had no franchise.On the 11th of February Lord Althorp brought forward the Budget. Basing his calculations on the revenue of the previous year, he estimated the national income at ￡50,000,000, and the expenditure at ￡46,850,000, leaving an anticipated surplus of more than ￡3,000,000; and it was proposed to take off taxes to the whole of that amount, and to replace it to some extent by other taxes, less burdensome to the people. The principal taxes to be taken off were those on tobacco, sea-borne coal, tallow candles, glass, printed calicoes, and newspapers. The new taxes consisted in an increase of the duties on wine, colonial timber, and raw cotton, a tax on steamboat passengers, and on the transfers of funded property. The proposed new taxes excited violent opposition, which obliged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to modify some of them, and abandon the last two; in fact, the financial scheme was a failure. Equally unsuccessful were his attempts to introduce retrenchments into the Civil and Pension Lists. But the Government was borne up by its great measure, the Reform Bill.
The nobles rose in a body and quitted the Assembly; but Gustavus continued his speech to the three remaining Orders. He declared it necessary, for the salvation of the country, for him to assume almost despotic powers, and he called on the three Estates to support him in punishing the traitorous nobles, promising to secure the liberties of the country as soon as this was accomplished. Not only the three Orders, but the public at large zealously supported him. Stockholm was in a state of high excitement. Gustavus surrounded the houses of the chief nobility with his brave Dalecarlians; secured twenty-five of the principal nobles, including the Counts Brahé, Fersen, Horne, and others, who were consigned to the castle. He had already arrested nine of the leaders of the insurrection in the army in Finland, and these officers were now also confined in the castle; others had escaped and fled to their patroness in St. Petersburg. To intimidate the king, nearly all the officers of the army, the fleet, and the civil department threw up their commissions and appointments, believing that they should thus completely paralyse his proceedings. But Gustavus remained undaunted. He filled up the vacancies, as well as he could, from the other Orders of the State; he brought the nobles and officers to trial, and numbers of them were condemned to capital punishment, for treason and abandonment of their sworn duties. Some few examples were made; the rest, after a short confinement, were liberated, and they hastened to their estates in the country. But it was found there, as everywhere else, that rank confers no monopoly of talent. The three other Orders warmly supported Gustavus, and he remodelled the Diet, excluding from it almost all the most powerful nobles, and giving greater preponderance to the other three Orders. In return for this, these Orders sanctioned an act called the Act of Safety, which conferred on the king the same power which is attached to the British Crown, namely, that of making peace or war. They granted him liberal supplies, and he quickly raised an army of fifty thousand men. As he considered the reduction of the restless and lawless power of Russia was equally essential to Britain, Holland, and Prussia, as to Sweden, Gustavus called on them to second his efforts. But Pitt would do nothing more than guarantee the neutrality of Denmark; and even this guarantee he permitted to become nugatory, by allowing the Danish fleet to give protection to the Russian fleet in the Baltic. A second Russian squadron, commanded by Dessein, a French admiral, descended from Archangel, entered the Baltic, menaced Gothenburg, and by the aid of the Danish ships was enabled to join the other Russian fleet at Cronstadt.Napoleon's grand army had now dwindled down to twelve thousand men, with about thirty thousand stragglers, who added little to his strength. They were in Poland, and provisions were now more abundant; but they had still to cross the Beresina, and at this moment he heard of the fall of Minsk, and that Victor and Oudinot, instead of attacking Wittgenstein, had quarrelled about the manner of doing it, and so had not done it at all. Wittgenstein and Kutusoff were thus at liberty to attack his flanks, and Tchitchagoff to occupy the Beresina before him. On this, he turned from the route to Minsk and made for Borissov. At Borissov was a bridge of three hundred fathoms in length, and this he had sent Dombrowski to secure and hold; but now he heard of Dombrowski's defeat, that the bridge was in the hands of the Russians, and that they had broken it down. In his agony, he stamped his cane on the ground, and exclaimed, looking upwards—"Is it, then, written that we shall commit nothing but errors?"
Buonaparte had arrived in Rochefort on the 3rd of July—only fifteen days after the battle of Waterloo. The two frigates provided by the Provisional Government to convey him to America—the Saale and the Medusa, accompanied by the corvette Balladière and the large brig Epervier—lay in the Aix roads; but Buonaparte was very sure that the British Government would not permit them to sail. That Government, anticipating such an event as the endeavour of Napoleon to make his escape to America—whence he might watch his opportunity of once more renewing the troubles of the world—had, immediately after the battle of Waterloo, placed no less than thirty vessels of different descriptions along the whole coast of France, from Ushant to Cape Finisterre, thus making it impossible for any vessel to pass out of a French port without undergoing the severest search. Napoleon thereupon embarking in a British frigate, the Bellerophon, wrote a theatrical letter, claiming the hospitality of the Prince Regent:—The winter of 1836-7 was marked by great commercial activity, and a strong tendency to over-trading, chiefly on the part of the banks. The result was a reaction, and considerable monetary embarrassment. In the reckless spirit of enterprise which led to these consequences, the American houses took the lead. The American speculators indulged an inordinate thirst for gain by land jobs, and over-trading in British produce. The most remarkable examples of this were afforded by three great American houses in London, called "the three W.'s." From an account of these firms, published in June, 1837, it appeared that the amount of bills payable by them from June to December, was as follows: Wilson and Co., ￡936,300; Wigan and Co., ￡674,700; Wildes and Co., ￡505,000; total acceptances, ￡2,116,000. This was upwards of one-sixth of the aggregate circulation of the private and joint-stock banks of England and Wales, and about one-eighth of the average circulation of the Bank of England. The shipments to America by Wigan and Co. amounted to ￡1,118,900. The number of joint-stock banks that started into existence at this time was remarkable. From 1825 to 1833 only thirty joint-stock banks had been established. In that year the Charter of the Bank of England being renewed, without many of the exclusive privileges it formerly enjoyed, and the spirit of commercial enterprise being active, joint-stock banks began to increase rapidly. There was an average of ten new companies annually, till 1836, when forty-five of these establishments came into existence in the course of ten months. In Ireland there were ten started in the course of two years. The consequence of this greatly increased banking accommodation produced a wild spirit of commercial adventure, which collapsed first in America, where the monetary confusion was unexampled—bankers, importers, merchants, traders, and the Government having been all flung into a chaos of bankruptcy and insolvency. This state of things in America had an immediate effect in England. Discounts were abruptly refused to the largest and hitherto most respectable houses of Liverpool and London. Trade, in consequence, became paralysed; prices suddenly dropped from thirty to forty per cent.; and the numerous share bubbles—the railway projects, the insurance companies, the distillery companies, the cemetery companies, the sperm oil, the cotton twist, zoological gardens, and other speculations—which had floated on the pecuniary tide, all suddenly collapsed, and there was an end to the career of unprincipled adventurers. It is satisfactory, however, to observe that the sound commerce of the country soon recovered the shock thus given; and in less than two years the pecuniary difficulties had passed away. Commerce had resumed its wonted activity, and flowed steadily in legitimate channels. The American banks resumed payment, and the three great American houses, which had involved themselves to such an enormous extent, were enabled to meet all their liabilities.
THE CORONATION OF NAPOLEON IN NOTRE DAME. (See p. 499.)Soon after the prorogation of Parliament in the autumn her Majesty resolved to pay her first visit to her Irish subjects. At Cowes a royal squadron was in readiness to convoy the Victoria and Albert across the Channel. The Queen was accompanied by Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, Prince Alfred, the Princess Royal, and the Princess Alice. The royal yacht anchored alongside the Ganges, her arrival off the Irish coast being announced by the booming of artillery on the 2nd of August, which was the signal for the lighting of bonfires upon the hills around the picturesque town of Cove. In the morning a deputation went on board, consisting of the Marquis of Thomond, head of the house of O'Brien, the Earl of Bandon and several of the nobility and gentry of the county, with the Mayor of Cork, and Mr. Fagan, M.P. for that city. They were introduced to her Majesty by Sir George Grey, the Secretary of State in attendance during the visit. Arrangements were then made for the landing, and about three o'clock the Queen first set foot upon Irish ground, amidst the most enthusiastic demonstrations of loyalty from the multitudes assembled to bid their Sovereign welcome, mingling their cheers with the roar of cannon, which reverberated from the hills around. A pavilion had been erected for her Majesty's reception, and over it floated a banner, with the word "Cove" emblazoned upon it. The Queen had consented, at the request of the inhabitants, to change the name of the place and call it "Queenstown," and when she left the pavilion the first flag was pulled down and another erected in its stead, with the new name. Thus the old name of "Cove" was extinguished by the Queen's visit, just as the old name of "Dunleary" had been extinguished by the visit of George IV.
Sir John F. W. Herschel, son of Sir William Herschel, conversant with almost every branch of science, also devoted himself with remarkable success to the cultivation of sidereal astronomy. He evinced very early a taste for mathematics, but did not devote himself to astronomy until after his father's death in 1822. He then gave himself up to it without reserve. At that period the Southern Hemisphere was to astronomers little more than an unknown region. For the purpose of exploring it, he visited the Cape of Good Hope in 1834, where, making use of his father's method, he continued his observations for more than four years, examining with great care, among other things, the nebul? and double stars. On his return to Europe, he gave the results of his labours to the world in a work of deep interest, and of the highest importance; and the value of the services he had rendered to science was recognised, not only by the scientific world, but by his Sovereign also, who created him a baronet. After he was appointed Master of the Mint, in 1850, he took no further part in practical astronomy, but he published many excellent works, not only on that subject, but on science generally; and he displayed a thorough acquaintance with natural history, the belles-lettres, and the fine arts, and translated a portion of the "Iliad." This great astronomer and mathematician died in May, 1871. Lord Rosse's labours to improve the telescope commenced about 1828, and continued unremittingly until 1844. His masterpiece was of six feet aperture and 54 feet in focal length.
The depth of Walpole's mortification, however, was shown by the vengeance he took on those who had opposed him. This fell with peculiar weight on Lord Chesterfield. Chesterfield had acquired a great reputation by his able management of affairs at the Hague. Since his return he had become Lord Steward of the Household, and a frequent and much admired debater in the House. But Chesterfield was too ambitious himself to stoop patiently to the domineering temper of Walpole. He was said to have thrown out some keen sarcasms at Walpole's Excise Bill, and his three brothers in the Commons voted against it. Only two days after the abandonment of the Bill, as Chesterfield was ascending the staircase at St. James's, he was stopped by an attendant, and summoned home to surrender the White Staff. The same punishment was dealt out to a number of noblemen who acted in concert with him. Lord Clinton, a Lord of the Bedchamber, the Earl of Burlington, Captain of the Band of Pensioners, were dismissed, as well as the Duke of Montrose, and the Earls of Marchmont and Stair from offices held in Scotland. The Duke of Bolton and Lord Cobham were, by a most unjustifiable stretch of authority, deprived of their regiments.详情
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