FROM THE PAINTING BY MARCUS STONE, A.R.A., IN THE CORPORATION OF LONDON ART GALLERY, GUILDHALL.
In answer to some queries submitted to the Attorney-General, Mr. Joy, he stated that when the old Association was suppressed, the balance of Catholic rent in the treasury was ￡14,000. He showed how the existing Act had been evaded, and how useless it was to attempt to prevent the agitation by any coercive measure. They held "fourteen days' meetings," and it was amusing to read the notices convening those meetings, which always ran thus:—"A fourteen days' meeting will be held, pursuant to Act of Parliament"—as if the Act had enjoined and required such meetings. Then there were aggregate meetings, and other "separate meetings," which were manifestly a continuation of the Association. The same members attended, and the same routine was observed. They also held simultaneous parochial meetings, by which the people were gathered into a solid and perilous confederacy.Mr. Vansittart introduced some financial measures which effected a material saving. He proposed a plan for reducing the interest of the Navy Five per Cents. to four per cent. Holders not signifying their dissent were to have one hundred and five pounds in a New Four per Cent. stock, and persons dissenting were to be paid off in numerical order. By this scheme an annual saving to the public of one million one hundred and forty thousand pounds would be effected; besides a further saving of upwards of ninety thousand pounds of annual charge, which would be gained by similar reduction of the Irish Five per Cents. The high prices of the public funds obviated all difficulty in the execution of this financial operation, and the holders of the Five per Cent. stock found it expedient to acquiesce in the Minister's terms. The dissentients were in number only one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, and the stock held by them amounted to two million six hundred and fifteen thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight pounds, not a fifteenth part of the Five per Cent. capital. Another operation related to what was called "The Dead Weight Annuity." The amount of military and naval pensions and civil supernumeraries was about five millions annually. Accordingly Mr. Vansittart brought forward an amended scheme for relieving the immediate pressure of this dead weight by extending it over a longer term of years than the natural lives of the annuitants. For this purpose an annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds was appropriated out of the existing revenue for forty-five years, invested in trustees for the discharge of the then payments, which for that year were estimated at four million nine hundred thousand pounds, subject to a yearly diminution by deaths. It was computed that, according to the ordinary duration of human life, the annuities for the lives of the then holders would be equal to the annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds for forty-five years. The trustees were therefore empowered to sell from time to time such portions of this annuity as would provide the funds required for the payment of the dead weight, according to a computation made of the amount which would probably be due in each year. The Bank of England became the contractor for a portion of the annuity. There was no novelty of principle in the project; it was only the old one of anticipating distant resources by throwing the burden of the existing generation on the next. It had the further disadvantage of incurring a useless expense for management; whereas the Sinking Fund, amounting at the time to about five millions, might have been applied to existing exigencies, and a real saving effected.On the day appointed for the trial of Warren Hastings there was a wonderful crowding into the great hall at Westminster. The walls had been in preparation hung with scarlet, and galleries raised all round for the accommodation of spectators. The seats for the members of the House of Commons were covered with green cloth, those for the lords and all the others with red. Galleries were set apart for distinguished persons, and for the members of the foreign embassies. When the lords, nearly one hundred and seventy in number, entered in procession, the vast hall presented a striking scene, being crowded, with the exception of the space in the centre for the peers, with all who were noted in the land, from the throne downwards. The lords were all in their robes of gold and ermine, marshalled by the king-at-arms and the heralds. First entered Lord Heathfield, the brave old Elliot of Gibraltar, as the junior baron, and the splendid procession was closed by the Earl Marshal of England, the Duke of Norfolk, and by the brothers and sons of the king, the Prince of Wales last of all. The twelve judges attended to give their advice on difficult points of law, and the Managers were attended also by their counsel, Drs. Scott and Lawrence, and Mr. Mansfield, Mr. Pigot, Mr. Burke, and Mr. Douglas. The galleries blazed with the rich array of ladies and foreign costumes. There were seen the queen with her daughters, and the Princesses Elizabeth, Augusta, and Mary, the Duchess of Gloucester, Mrs. Fitzherbert, the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire, Sheridan's handsome wife, and the great actress, Mrs. Siddons. Gibbon the historian, Dr. Parr, Mr., afterwards Sir, James Mackintosh, and numbers of distinguished artists, amongst them Sir Joshua Reynolds and Gainsborough, were also present.
[See larger version]In March of this year Lord Cornwallis had brought a war in India with the implacable enemy of the British to a very successful close. Early in the preceding year, 1791, he had reinstated our ally, the Rajah of Travancore, in his dominions, and had further seized nearly all Tippoo's territories on the Malabar coast. He then determined to strike a decisive blow, by marching upon Tippoo's capital, Seringapatam. In February he took the city of Bangalore, and early in May he was on his route for Seringapatam. Tippoo was in the deepest consternation. Lord Cornwallis arrived in the neighbourhood of Seringapatam on the 13th of May, and immediately attacked Tippoo, who was drawn up with a large force. The Mysoreans broke and fled before the British bayonets. The British army was in full view of the capital, and expected a rich booty, when Cornwallis was compelled to order a retreat. The forces of General Abercromby, who had to make his way from another quarter through the mountains, had not come up; neither had the Mahrattas, who were to join with twenty thousand men. The rains had set in, and the army was without provisions, for Tippoo had laid all the country waste. In these circumstances, Lord Cornwallis somewhat precipitately destroyed his battering guns, and retired from before Seringapatam. He sent word to Abercromby, who was now approaching, to retire also. On the 26th of May, the very first day of his retreat, the Mahrattas arrived; but as the rains continued and his soldiers were suffering from illness, he determined to retreat to Bangalore, where he procured four battering trains; and having laid in plentiful stores and obtained strong reinforcements, as soon as the season was favourable he again set out for Seringapatam. After taking different forts on his way, he appeared before that wealthy city on the 5th of February, 1792, in company with General Abercromby and a native force belonging to our ally, the Nizam. Tippoo was drawn up before the city, having between it and himself the rapid river Cauvery, and the place extremely well fortified and defended by batteries. He had forty thousand infantry and five thousand horse; but he was speedily defeated, and driven across the river into the city. There the British followed him, and, under the guidance of the brave generals, Medows and Abercromby, they soon penetrated so deeply into the place that Tippoo was compelled to capitulate. In these actions the British were said to have lost about six hundred men, Tippoo four thousand.
SCENE IN IRELAND: VISIT OF THE TITHE-PROCTOR. (See p. 355.)With Lord Eldon, however, he held different language, complaining bitterly of the difficulties in which the Ministers had involved him. He is represented as struggling desperately in meshes from which he found it impossible to extricate himself; and, as usual with weak minds, he threw all the blame of his misery on others. In reference to an interview, Lord Eldon remarks: "I was not sent for afterwards, but went on Thursday, the 9th of April, with more addresses. In the second interview, which began a little before two o'clock, the king repeatedly—and with some minutes intervening between his repeated declarations, musing in silence in the interim—expressed his anguish, pain, and misery that the measure had ever been thought of, and as often declared that he had been most harshly and cruelly treated—that he had been treated as a man whose consent had been asked with a pistol pointed to his breast, or as obliged, if he did not give it, to leap down from a five-pair-of-stairs window. What could he do? What had he to fall back upon?" After relating much more in the same strain, Lord Eldon adds: "Little more passed, except occasional bursts of expression, 'What can I do? What can I now fall back upon? What can I fall back upon? I am miserable, wretched. My situation is dreadful; nobody about me to advise with. If I do give my consent, I will go to the baths after all, and from thence to Hanover. I'll return no more to England. I'll make no Roman Catholic peers; I will not do what this Bill will enable me to do. I'll return no more. Let them get a Catholic king in Clarence! [I think he also mentioned Sussex.] The people will see that I did not wish this.' There were the strongest appearances, certainly, of misery. He more than once stopped my leaving him. When the time came that I was to go, he threw his arms around my neck, and expressed great misery. I left him at about twenty minutes or a quarter before five. I certainly thought when I left him that he would express great difficulty, when the Bill was prepared for the Royal Assent, about giving it." The writer adds, sarcastically:—"I fear that it seemed to be given as a matter of course." Next day, Lord Eldon wrote to his daughter: "The fatal Bill received the Royal Assent yesterday afternoon. After all I had heard in my visits, not a day's delay. God bless us and His Church." At Windsor, on the 13th of April, the king pronounced over the Bill that he so hated the words—"Le Roy le veult."
It is a singular fact, and by no means creditable to the "collective wisdom of the nation," that we have had no authentic enumeration of the English people till the beginning of the nineteenth century. The result, however, of the census of 1800 showed that the population of England had made progress throughout the whole of the preceding century, with the exception of the first ten years, when it seemed to have declined. Mr. Finlayson, the actuary, drew up a statement founded on the returns of births, marriages, and deaths, giving an estimate of the population at decennial periods, from which it appears that in the year 1700 it was 5,134,516, and in 1800 it was 9,187,176. Further, from the decennial census we gather that the population of Great Britain and Ireland, which in 1821 amounted to 21,193,458, was at the enumeration in 1831, 24,306,719; the percentage rate of increase during that interval being 14.68, or very nearly 1? per cent. per annum; and that at the enumeration in 1841 the numbers were 26,916,991, being an increase since 1831 of 2,610,272, or 10?74 per cent., which is very little beyond 1 per cent. per annum. Comparing 1841 with 1821, it appears that the increase in the twenty years was in England 33?20, or 1?66 per cent. per annum; Wales, 27?06, or 1?35; Scotland, 25?16, or 1?25; Ireland, 20?50, or 1?02; the United Kingdom, 27?06, or 1?35 per cent. per annum. For the purpose of comparison with the corresponding number of years in the nineteenth century, it may be stated that the increase during thirty years, from 1700 to 1800, is computed to have amounted to 1,959,590, or 27
The Conservative party had got the impression that the commercial interest in the House of Commons would swamp the landed interest, in consequence of the preponderance of the representatives of cities and boroughs. But that impression was shown to be a delusion by many votes. The number who supported a motion of Lord Chandos on the 27th of April, 1836, was, considering its nature, remarkable:—"That in the application of any surplus revenue towards the relief of the burdens of the country, either by remission of taxation or otherwise, due regard should be had to the necessity of a portion thereof being applied to the relief of the agricultural interest." That interest had been relieved to a considerable extent in a variety of ways during the recent progress of legislation, and especially by the Poor Law Amendment Act, which had been an immense boon to both landlords and tenants. The policy of the motion of Lord Chandos was so unsound that Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanley, and Sir James Graham felt constrained to vote with Ministers for its rejection. The motion was defeated by 211 votes to 150.
After this the royal sitting was useless, as the king's authority was disregarded by the Third Estate. The Court had to learn that the Tiers état had remained in their seats after the king and the nobles had retired. The Assembly then, on the motion of Mirabeau, declared its members inviolable, and that whoever should lay a hand on any one of them was a traitor, infamous, and worthy of death.By the terms of the Treaty of Tilsit, Prussian Poland was taken away, but not to be incorporated with a restored Poland, as Buonaparte had delusively allowed the Poles to hope. No; a restored Poland was incompatible with a treaty of peace with Russia, or the continuance of it with Austria. It was handed over to the Duke of Saxony, now elevated to the title of the King of Saxony and Duke of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw—the name which Prussian Poland assumed. The duped Polish patriots cursed Buonaparte bitterly in secret. Alexander, with all his assumed sympathy for his fallen cousins of Prussia, came in for a slice of the spoil, nominally to cover the expenses of the war. Dantzic, with a certain surrounding district, was recognised as a free city, under the protection of Prussia and Saxony; but Buonaparte took care to stipulate for the retention of a garrison there till the conclusion of a general peace, so as to stop out any British armament or influence. To oblige the Emperor of Russia, he allowed the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who were the Czar's relations, to retain possession of their territories; but he returned to Prussia only about one-half of the provinces which he had seized, reducing her very much to the limits in which Frederick the Great had found her before his usurpations. She surrendered her provinces between the Rhine and the Elbe, which, together with Hesse, Brunswick, and part of Hanover, were formed into the kingdom of Westphalia and given to Jerome Buonaparte. She was saddled by a crushing war indemnity, and had to leave Berlin and the chief fortresses in the hands of the French until the debt was paid. In the articles of the Treaty which were made public, Alexander paid a nominal courtesy to his ally, Great Britain, by offering to mediate between her and France, if the offer were accepted within a month; but amongst the secret articles of the Treaty was one binding the Czar to shut his ports against all British vessels, if this offer were rejected. This was a sacrifice demanded of Alexander, as Great Britain was Russia's best customer, taking nearly all her raw or exported produce. In return for this, and for Alexander's connivance at, or assistance in, Buonaparte's intention of seizing on Spain and Portugal, for the taking of Malta and Gibraltar, and the expulsion of the British from the Mediterranean, Alexander was to invade and annex Finland, the territory of Sweden, and, giving up his designs on Moldavia and Wallachia, for which he was now waging an unprovoked war, he was to be allowed to conquer the rest of Turkey, the ally of Napoleon, and establish himself in the long-coveted Constantinople. Thus these two august robbers shared kingdoms at their own sweet will and pleasure. Turkey and Finland they regarded as properly Russian provinces, and Spain, Portugal, Malta, Gibraltar, and, eventually, Britain, as provinces of France.
The distress was greatly aggravated, and spread over the whole country, by the extraordinary drought which prevailed in the summer of 1826. The richest meadows were burnt up. The stunted grain crops were only a few inches in height. The cattle, and even the deer in noblemen's parks, died from thirst. The people sat up all night to watch the springs, waiting for their turn to be supplied. Water was retailed in small quantities, and sold like beer. Those who occupied the more favoured districts sent jars of fresh water to their friends in other places, as most acceptable presents. In the midst of all this scarcity and suffering the Corn Laws stopped the supplies of provisions from abroad, which were ready to be poured in in any quantities. Bills had been passed with great difficulty through Parliament, to enable Government to relax the restrictions of the Corn Laws, in order to meet the emergency. But so clogged were those enactments with conditions, that in autumn Ministers were obliged to anticipate their operation by opening the ports, trusting to the legislature for an indemnity. It is melancholy to reflect upon the perplexities and miseries in which the country was involved through the mistaken views of the landed interest, then predominant in Parliament.The genius of Lord Stair was anything but military, and soon led him into a dilemma. Instead of waiting, as he had first determined, for the reinforcements of Hessians and Hanoverians, he advanced up the river, with the intention of drawing supplies from Franconia. He advanced to Aschaffenberg, which he reached on the 16th of June; but Noailles had rapidly followed him, and adroitly seized on the fords of both the Upper and Lower Main, thus cutting off Stair both from his own stores at Hanau, and from the expected supplies of Franconia. At this critical moment King George arrived at the camp, and found Noailles lying in a strong position, and Stair cooped up with his army in a narrow valley between the wild and hilly forest of Spessart, which extends from Aschaffenberg to Dettingen and the river Main. To render his case the more desperate, he had quarrelled with Aremberg, who had let him pursue his march alone; and Stair now lay, with only thirty-seven thousand men, in the very grasp, as it were, of Noailles and his sixty thousand men.详情
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