[See larger version]ARRIVAL OF DR. BRYDON AT JELALABAD. (See p. 496.)On the 16th of August a party of English soldiers, sent by the Governor of Fort Augustus to reinforce the garrison at Fort William, were assailed by a number of Keppoch's Highlanders in the narrow pass of High Bridge. They attempted to retreat when they found they could not reach their antagonists in their ambush, but they were stopped by a fresh detachment of the followers of Lochiel, and compelled to lay down their arms. Five or six of them were killed, and their leader, Captain Scott, was wounded. They received the kindest treatment from the conquerors, and as the Governor of Fort Augustus refused to trust a surgeon amongst them to dress the wounds of Captain Scott, Lochiel immediately allowed Scott to return to the fort on his parole, and received the rest of the wounded into his house at Auchnacarrie.
At the Church of St. Anne, Shandon, under a kind of shed attached to a guard-house, lay huddled up in their filthy fetid rags about forty human creatures—men, women, children, and infants of the tenderest age—starving and fever-stricken, most of them in a dying state, some dead, and all gaunt, yellow, hideous from the combined effects of famine and disease. Under this open shed they had remained during the night, and until that hour—about ten in the morning—when the funeral procession was passing by, and their indescribable misery was beheld by the leading citizens of Cork, including the mayor, and several members of the board of guardians. The odour which proceeded from that huddled-up heap of human beings was of itself enough to generate a plague.Whilst the French armies had been carrying bloodshed and misery into the countries around them, their brethren at home had been equally busy in pushing forward those mutual hatreds which appeared likely to end in the extermination of the whole race of revolutionists. The Girondists being destroyed, new divisions showed themselves in those who had hitherto been allies—Robespierre and his coadjutors. Hébert, Chaumette, Clootz, Ronsin, and others, began to raise their heels against their chief, and their chief doomed every one of them to the guillotine. His most important victim was Danton, a man by no means contemptible (guillotined April 5th, 1794).
The conduct of the trades unions excited a great deal of angry feeling amongst the wealthier classes; and the Government were vehemently condemned for not putting down the combination with a strong hand. It was said that the mischief they created was well known; that though their interference with trade, "their atrocious oaths, impious ceremonies, desperate tyranny, and secret assassinations had been brought under their observation," Ministers could not be stirred to any exhibition of energy for the protection of the manufacturer, the workman, or the public. On the 28th of April the Duke of Newcastle had brought the trades unions under the consideration of the House of Lords, and questioned Ministers as to their neglect respecting the disturbances these combinations occasioned. Lord Grey contented himself with a quiet expression of regret for their existence, and of a hope that they would die out if let alone; meanwhile, the Government were ready to put down disorderly meetings. This apparent indifference called forth indignant protests from the Marquis of Londonderry and Lord Eldon. The Lord Chancellor declared that the meetings were illegal, and that they were likely to produce great mischief; adding, "Of all the worst things, and of all the most pernicious devices that could be imagined for the injury of the interests of the working classes, as well as of the interests of the country at large, nothing was half so bad as their existence." He also stated that there could not remain the shadow of a doubt of the justice of the conviction of the Dorchester labourers. Strikes and combinations, however, continued during the summer. At the Chester Assizes, on the 5th of August, two men were indicted for the murder of a manufacturer during a strike in 1831. It appeared on evidence that the deceased had excited the ill feeling of the trades unions of the place, where he had a mill, in which he gave employment to a great number of people. Two of his own workmen had agreed to assassinate him for the sum of ￡3 6s. 8d. each, paid by the union. They shot him as he was passing through a lane to his mills. Being found guilty, they were executed. On the 18th of the same month the workmen employed by the builders of London struck to the number of 10,000, including the artisans at the Government works. This course was adopted in consequence of a combined declaration of the master-builders, requiring them to abandon their connection with trades unions.
The state of parties in the House of Commons at the opening of the Session of 1837 was so evenly balanced, that Government had a very narrow majority. The number of Whigs was calculated at 150, of Liberals 100, and of Radicals 80, making the total number of Ministerialists 330. On the other side, the Tories counted 139, the Ultra-Tories 100, and the Conservatives, belonging to the new school which Sir Robert Peel had constituted, 80. Parliament was opened by commission on the last day of January. The Royal Speech announced the continuance of friendly relations with Foreign Powers, alluded to the affairs of Spain and Portugal, and directed the attention of Parliament to the state of Lower Canada. It recommended a renewal of the inquiry into the operation of joint-stock banks; also measures for the improvement of civil and criminal jurisprudence, and for giving increased stability to the Established Church. Special attention was directed to the state of Ireland, with reference to its municipal corporations and the collection of tithes, and to "the difficult and pressing question of a legal provision for the poor." Animated debates on the Address took place in both Houses. The Radicals, led on by Mr. Roebuck, strongly condemned the want of earnest purpose on the part of Ministers, whom he represented as "worse than the Tories." He accused them of pandering to popular passions on one side, and to patrician feelings on the other. But, situated as they were, what could they do? Their majority was small and uncertain in the Commons, while the Opposition in the Lords was powerful and determined. Lord Lyndhurst mutilated measure after measure, and then at the end of each Session taunted Ministers with their failure. They were trying to get on with a House of Commons elected under the influence of a Conservative Administration. Of course, Lord Melbourne could have dissolved Parliament and appealed to the country, in the hope of getting a working majority; but the king was decidedly averse from a dissolution; and it would have been an exceedingly unwise course to adopt, at a time when the precarious state of his health plainly indicated that the reign was fast drawing to a close, and its termination would necessitate another general election. It was unreasonable to expect that in consequence of weakness proceeding from such causes a Liberal Cabinet should surrender the reins of power to the Tory party, on the eve of a new reign, and with all the bright prospects that would be opened by the accession of a youthful queen to the Throne. At the close of the Session of 1836 they had, indeed, contemplated resignation, but eventually determined to go on.
In fact the Ministry remained deplorably weak, despite the numerous changes in the Cabinet. The Marquis of Normanby, who had been a failure at the Home Office, changed places with Lord John Russell, who went to the Colonial Office. Mr. Francis Baring was made Chancellor of the Exchequer in the place of the most incompetent financier of modern times, Mr. Spring-Rice, who was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Monteagle, and soon afterwards appointed Comptroller of the Exchequer, with a salary of ￡2,000 a year; Sir John Newport having retired from that post on a pension. The Earl of Clarendon became Lord Privy Seal, and Mr. Macaulay Secretary at War, with a seat in the Cabinet in the room of Viscount Howick, who had quitted the Administration because he had disapproved of the political import of the changes, taken altogether, and they were unalterably fixed without seeking his concurrence. Mr. Charles Wood, the brother-in-law of Lord Howick, also resigned shortly afterwards, and Sir Charles Grey was refused promotion.
CHAPTER III. THE REIGN OF GEORGE II.The honour conferred upon Ireland and Hanover by the royal visits had excited the jealousy of Scotland; and the most ardently loyal of the nobility and people of that country were extremely desirous that a similar honour should be conferred upon them. The king complied with their request, and started on the 10th of August. "There were great preparations," says Lord Eldon, "to make his embarkation and voyage down the river one of the finest exhibitions ever seen upon the surface of old Father Thames." The river and its banks, from London to Greenwich, appeared in the highest state of animation, swarming with human life and gay with brilliant decorations. A party of hussars, guarding a plain carriage, were his Majesty's only equipage. The shouts of the different groups of spectators attended his progress along the road to Greenwich, until the royal standard floating over the Hospital announced his arrival. Thousands of voices hailed him as the yacht departed with a favourable breeze; and as he passed Woolwich a royal salute was fired, and the regiment on duty at the Arsenal presented arms. At Tilbury Fort, Southend, and Sheerness he met with lively demonstrations of loyalty. At the last named place the Lord Mayor, and other authorities who had escorted him down the river, parted from the royal squadron and returned in their barge to town. The tide now checked the king's progress, and the ships lay-to in the channel till morning. At Harwich, Scarborough, and other places, crowds of people put off in boats as the squadron neared the shore. It was twice becalmed; and it was not till the 14th that the Royal George cast anchor off Leith.
By the 8th of October Wellington was safely encamped within these impregnable lines, and the crowd of flying people sought refuge in Lisbon, or in the country around it. The British did not arrive a moment too soon, for Massena was close at their heels with his van; but he halted at Sobral for three days to allow of the coming up of his main body. This time was spent by the British in strengthening their position, already most formidable. The two ranges of mountains lying one behind the other were speedily occupied by the troops; and they were set to work at more completely stopping up roads, and constructing barriers, palisades, platforms, and wooden bridges leading into the works. For this purpose fifty thousand trees were allowed them, and all the space between Lisbon and these wonderful lines was one swarming scene of people bringing in materials and supplies. The right of the position was flanked by the Tagus, where the British fleet lay anchored, attended by a flotilla of gunboats, and a body of marines occupied the line of embarkation; Portuguese militia manned the Castle of St. Julian and the forts on the Tagus, and Lisbon itself was filled with armed bands of volunteers. There was no want of anything within this busy and interesting enclosure, for the British fleet had the command of the sea and all its means of supply. Seven thousand Portuguese peasantry were employed in bringing in and preparing the timber for the defences; and every soldier not positively on guard was enthusiastic in helping the engineers and artillery in the labour of making the lines impregnable.Walpole was instantly on the alert on this startling discovery. He prevailed on the king to put off his journey to Germany. Troops were drawn round London and a camp was formed in Hyde Park. The king took up his residence at Kensington, in the midst of the soldiers, and the Prince of Wales retired to Richmond. General Macartney was dispatched for still more troops from Ireland; some suspected persons were arrested in Scotland; the States of Holland were solicited to have ships and soldiers in readiness; an order was obtained from the Court of Madrid to forbid the embarkation of Ormonde; and General Churchill was dispatched to Paris to make all secure with the Regent. Atterbury was arrested on the 24th of August.On the 31st of May, pursuant to notice, Sir Robert Peel brought forward a motion of want of confidence in the Government, in the following words:—"That her Majesty's Ministers do not sufficiently possess the confidence of the House of Commons to enable them to carry through the House measures which they deem of essential importance to the public welfare; and that their continuance in office under such circumstances is at variance with the spirit of the Constitution." The right hon. baronet referred to a number of precedents for the course he adopted—namely, the cases of Sir Robert Walpole, Lord North, Mr. Pitt, Lord Sidmouth, Lord Liverpool, the Duke of Wellington, and himself, each of whom resigned, failing the support of a majority of the House of Commons; and he insisted that Lord Melbourne was bound to follow their example. A debate of two nights followed: it was interrupted by the Whitsun holidays, after which it was resumed and lasted three nights more, during which all sorts of topics were discussed, and all the shortcomings of Ministers were dwelt upon, and urged against them with great earnestness. The burden of the charges against them was, that they were causing the greatest public mischief by leaving important questions in doubt, setting party against party, and stirring society to its very foundations. At length the House went to a division, when there appeared for Sir Robert Peel's motion, 312; against it, 311, giving a majority of 1 against the Government. At the meeting of the House on the following Monday the most lively anxiety was manifested as to the course Ministers would pursue. Lord John Russell stated that, after the late division, he felt that in that House of Commons the Government could expect no further majorities, and that they were resolved to appeal to the country. The determination, it is now known, had been opposed by the Premier, but he was overruled by the more sanguine members of the Cabinet.
On the 17th of October the peace between France and Austria was definitively signed at Campo Formio. To France Austria ceded Belgium, the left bank of the Rhine, including Mayence, the Ionian islands, and the Venetian possessions in Albania, both of which really belonged to Venice. Venice itself, and its territory as far as the Adige, with Istria and Venetian Dalmatia on the other side of the Adriatic, were made over to Austria without ceremony. The Milan and Mantuan states were given up by Austria, with Modena, Massa, Carrara; and the papal provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna, and the rest of them, as far as the Rubicon, were included in a new so-called Cisalpine Republic belonging to France. Tuscany, Parma, Rome, and Naples were still called Italian, but were as much, Naples excepted, in the power of France as the rest. In fact, except Venetia, which Austria secured, all Italy except Naples was subjected to the French, and the regular process of democratising was going on, in the latter kingdom, for an early seizure.Soult, indeed, had sixty thousand men and ninety-one guns to deal with the flying and now greatly disorganised army of the British. At first the retreat had been made with much discipline and order, but the miserable weather, the torrents of rain, and heavy falls of snow, the roads rough with rocks, or deep with mud, tried the patience of the men. So long as they were advancing towards the enemy they could bear all this with cheerfulness, but the British are never good-humoured or patient under retreat. Sullen and murmuring, they struggled along in the retreat, suffering not only from the weather, but from want of provisions, and the disgraceful indifference of the people to those who had come to fight their battles. Whenever a halt was made, and an order given to turn and charge the enemy, they instantly cheered up, forgot all their troubles, and were full of life and spirit. But their gloom returned with the retreat; and, not being voluntarily aided by the Spaniards, they broke the ranks, and helped themselves to food and wine wherever they could find them. Such was now the state of the weather and the roads, that many of the sick, and the women and children, who, in spite of orders, had been allowed to follow the army, perished. The French pressed more and more fiercely on the rear of the British, and several times Sir John was compelled to stop and repel them. On one of these occasions the French general, Colbert, was killed, and the six or eight squadrons of horse led by him were, for the most part, cut to pieces. At Lugo, on the 5th of January, Sir E. Paget beat back a very superior force. Again, on the 7th, Sir John Moore halted, and repulsed the advanced line of Soult, killing four or five hundred of the French. The next morning the armies met again in line of battle, but Soult did not attack; and as soon as it was dark Sir John quietly pursued his march, leaving his fires burning to deceive the enemy.详情
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