Mr. Peel urged that it is dangerous to touch time-honoured institutions in an ancient monarchy like this, if the Dissenters did not feel the tests as a grievance; if they did, it would be a very strong argument for a change. "But," he asked, "are the grievances now brought forward in Parliament really felt as such by the Dissenters out of doors? So far from it, there were only six petitions presented on the subject from 1816 to 1827. The petitions of last year were evidently got up for a political purpose." He quoted from a speech of Mr. Canning's, delivered, in 1825, on the Catholic Relief Bill, in which he said, "This Bill does not tend to equalise all the religions in the State, but to equalise all the Dissenting sects of England. I am, and this Bill is, for a predominant church, and I would not, even in appearance, meddle with the laws which secure that predominance to the Church of England. What is the state of the Protestant Dissenters? It is that they labour under no practical grievances on account of this difference with the Established Church; that they sit with us in this House, and share our counsels; that they are admissible into the highest offices of State, and often hold them. Such is the operation of the Test and Corporation Acts, as mitigated by the Annual Indemnity Act; this much, and no more, I contend, the Catholics should enjoy." With regard to Scotland Mr. Peel appealed to the facts that from that country there was not one solitary petition; that there was not any military or naval office or command from which Scotsmen were shut out; that, so far from being excluded from the higher offices of Government, out of the fourteen members who composed the Cabinet, three—Lord Aberdeen, Lord Melville, and Mr. Grant—were Scotsmen and good Presbyterians. Even in England the shutting out, he said, was merely nominal. A Protestant Dissenter had been Lord Mayor of London the year before. The Acts had practically gone into desuetude, and the existing law gave merely a nominal preponderance to the Established Church, which it was admitted on all hands it should possess.
The deaths of monarchs, however, were peculiarly fatal to this ambitious man; that of Queen Anne had precipitated him from power, and rescued his country from the ruin he prepared for it; that of George now came as opportunely to prevent the national calamity of his ministry. George set out for Hanover on the 3rd of June, accompanied, as usual, by Townshend and the Duchess of Kendal. Just before his departure the youthful Horace Walpole saw him for the first and last time. When the king was come down to supper, Lady Walsingham took Walpole into the Duchess's ante-room, where George and his favourite were alone. Walpole knelt and kissed the king's hand. George appeared in his usual health.DEVONSHIRE VILLA, CHISWICK.
In this same year, 1779, the Protestant Dissenters of Ireland were relieved by their Parliament from the operation of the Test and Corporation Acts, and it was not, therefore, very likely that the Dissenters of England would rest quietly under them much longer. These Acts were passed in the 13th of Charles II., and the 25th of the same monarch, and required that no person should be elected to any civil or military office under the Crown, including seats in Parliament or corporations, unless he had taken the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. On the 28th of March, 1787, Mr. Beaufoy, member for Yarmouth, moved that the House of Commons should resolve itself into a committee to consider the Test and Corporation Acts. Mr. Beaufoy represented that these Acts were a heavy grievance, not only to the Dissenters and to the members of the Established Church of Scotland, but to many members of the English Church itself, who regarded the prostitution of the most solemn ordinance of their faith to a civil test as little less than sacrilegious. In reply, it was contended that the Indemnity Acts had been passed to protect such as had omitted to take the sacrament within the time specified; but Mr. Beaufoy and his seconder, Sir Henry Houghton, who had carried the Bill relieving Dissenters from subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles, showed that these measures were not always sufficient, and were but a clumsy substitution for the abolition of the obnoxious Acts.
It is impossible to conceive the extent of suffering and desolation inflicted upon society, almost every family being involved, more or less, in the general calamity. Flourishing firms were bankrupt, opulent merchants impoverished, the masses of working people suddenly thrown out of employment, and reduced to destitution; and all from causes with which the majority had nothing to do—causes that could have been prevented by a proper monetary system. If Bank of England notes had been a legal tender, to all intents and purposes supplying the place of gold as currency; if these notes had been supplied to the country banks in any quantities they required, ample security being taken to have assets equal to their respective issues, then the currency would have had an elastic, self-adjusting power, expanding or contracting according to the requirements of commerce. Inordinate speculation would not have been stimulated by a reckless system of credit, and business would have been conducted in a moderate and judicious manner, instead of rushing on at a high pressure that rendered a crash inevitable. The Government, after anxious and repeated deliberations, supplied a remedy on this principle. They determined to issue one-pound and two-pound notes of the Bank of England, for country circulation, to any amount required. In the meantime the Mint was set to work with all its resources in the coining of sovereigns, which, for the course of a week, were thrown off at the rate of 150,000 a day. The notes could not be manufactured fast enough to meet the enormous demand for carrying on the business of the country. In this dilemma the Bank was relieved by a most fortunate discovery—a box containing ￡700,000, in one- and two-pound notes that had been retired, but which were at once put into circulation. The people having thus got notes with Government security, the panic subsided, and the demand for gold gradually ceased. The restoration of confidence was aided by resolutions passed at a meeting of bankers and merchants in the City of London, declaring that the unprecedented embarrassments and difficulties under which the circulation of the country laboured were mainly to be ascribed to a general panic, for which there were no reasonable grounds; that they had the fullest confidence in the means and substance of the banking establishments of the capital and the country; that returning confidence would remove all the symptoms of distress caused by the alarms of the timid, so fatal to those who were forced to sacrifice their property to meet unexpected demands. The new measures so promptly adopted and so vigorously carried into effect, raised the circulation of the Bank of England notes in three weeks from ￡17,477,290 to ￡25,611,800. Thus the regular and healthful action of the monetary system was restored by an adequate circulation of paper money, on Government security, without specie to sustain it. There were at the time of the crash 770 country bankers; 63 stopped payment, 23 of them having subsequently resumed business, and paid twenty shillings in the pound; and even those that were not able to resume, paid an average of seventeen shillings and sixpence in the pound. It was estimated that the total loss to the country by this panic was one hundred million pounds.The mechanical invention, however, destined to produce the most extraordinary revolution in social life was that of railways, which during this reign were progressing towards the point where, combined with the steam-engine, they were to burst forth into an activity and strength astonishing to the whole world. Tram-roads—that is, roads with lines of smooth timber for the wheels of waggons to run upon—had been in use in the Newcastle collieries for a century before. In 1767, at the Coalbrook Dale Iron Works, iron plates were substituted for wood, and by this simple scheme one horse could, with ease, draw as much as ten on an ordinary road. In 1776 iron flanges, or upright edges, were used at the collieries of the Duke of Norfolk, near Sheffield, and after this time they became common at all collieries, both above and below ground. In 1801 an iron railway, by a joint-stock company, was opened from Wandsworth to Croydon. Three years before iron railways had been introduced to convey the slates from Lord Penrhyn's quarries, in Carnarvonshire, to the Menai Strait for shipment, and they were attached to canals for the conveyance of goods to and from them. At the end of this reign there were two hundred and twenty-five miles of iron railroads in the neighbourhood of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and upwards of three hundred miles in the single county of Glamorgan.
Next came the enactments regarding fasting. By 5 Elizabeth every person who ate flesh on a fish day was liable to a penalty of three pounds; and, in case of non-payment, to three months' imprisonment. It was added that this eating of fish was not from any superstitious notion, but to encourage the fisheries; but by the 2 and 3 Edward VI. the power of inflicting these fish and flesh penalties was invested in the two Archbishops, as though the offence of eating flesh on fish days was an ecclesiastical offence. Lord Stanhope showed that the powers and penalties of excommunication were still in full force; that whoever was excommunicated had no legal power of recovering any debt, or payment for anything that he might sell; that excommunication and its penalties were made valid by the 5 Elizabeth and the 29 Charles II.; that by the 30 Charles II. every peer, or member of the House of Peers, peer of Scotland, or Ireland, or member of the House of Commons, who should go to Court without having made the declaration against transubstantiation, and the invocation of saints therein contained, should be disabled from holding any office, civil or military, from making a proxy in the House of Lords, or from sueing or using any action in law or equity; from being guardian, trustee, or administrator of any will; and should be deemed "a Popish recusant convict." His Lordship observed that probably the whole Protestant bench of bishops were at that moment in this predicament, and that he had a right to clear the House of them, and proceed with his Bill in their absence. He next quoted the 1st of James I., which decreed that any woman, or any person whatever under twenty-one years of age, except sailors, ship-boys, or apprentices, or factors of merchants, who should go over sea without a licence from the king, or six of his Privy Council, should forfeit all his or her goods, lands, and moneys whatever; and whoever should send such person without such licence should forfeit one hundred pounds; and every officer of a port, and every shipowner, master of a ship, and all his mariners who should allow such person to go, or should take him or her, should forfeit everything they possessed, one half to the king, and the other half to the person sueing.
In the East Indies, immediately afterwards, another severe blow was inflicted on Spain. An expedition sailed from Madras, and Admiral Cornish conveyed in a small fleet a body of men amounting to two thousand three hundred, and consisting of one regiment of the line, in addition to marines and sepoys. Colonel William Draper, afterwards so well known for his spirited contest with the still undiscovered author of "Junius's Letters," was the commander. They landed near Manila, the capital of the Philippine Islands, on the 24th of September, the Spanish garrison there being taken completely by surprise. The whole of the Philippines submitted without further resistance; and Draper, besides being made a knight of the Bath, was, with the naval commanders, thanked by Parliament, as well they might be.Melville was now permitted by the House of Peers to go down to the House of Commons, notwithstanding their conclusion on the subject, to make his defence, and he made a very long speech, contending that he had not embezzled a farthing of the public money, and exalting his services to the country, especially in his India administration. But on the head of Secret Service Money he was as close as the grave. He declared that "if he had disclosed any of these transactions he should have felt himself guilty not only of a breach of public duty, but of a most unwarrantable breach of private honour." There were twenty thousand pounds which he never did, and never could, account for on this ground, and there were forty thousand pounds drawn at once by Pitt from the Navy Fund. He said he knew very well for what purposes these sums had been paid, but that nothing would compel him to disclose it. When it was asked him whether Mr. Trotter had not kept large sums belonging to the Navy Fund in Coutts's Bank, and speculated with them to his own great enrichment, he admitted that Trotter had had such sums for considerable times in Coutts's Bank, but that they were always forthcoming when wanted, and that no single payment had been delayed on that account; and that out of the one hundred and thirty-four millions which had passed through his hands, nothing had been lost. He praised Trotter in the highest manner, but was silent as to the private use that he had so long, and to such advantage to himself, made of the public money. He admitted that he had himself held considerable sums of this money at different times in his own hands, but had repaid the whole before quitting office, and this was all that the Act of 1785 required. He seemed to admit that he had paid money out of the Navy Fund for other than naval objects, and for these secret service purposes. Some of these were in Scotland, of which, also, he had the administration to a certain degree. And here the public called to mind that Watt, the spy and informer against the Scottish Reformers, had acknowledged to have been employed and paid by Dundas, so that it was clear whither some of the Navy Fund had gone. Melville entered into long explanations regarding a written release which had passed reciprocally between him and Trotter on winding up their affairs, in which they agreed to destroy all their vouchers for the sums paid away. This looked very black, but Melville contended that it was only a matter of course—a thing constantly done by officials in like circumstances, which, if true, made the matter all the worse for the country. But Melville contended that this clause in the release was merely a form; that it did not mean that they should literally destroy the vouchers, but only that they should be rendered invalid as evidence in any prosecution, which very little mended the matter. Melville declared that he had not, in consequence of the clause, destroyed a single paper.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (b. 1772; d. 1834) published his earliest poems in association with his friends, Wordsworth, Charles Lloyd, and Charles Lamb. But his contributions, especially of the "Ancient Mariner," soon pointed them out as belonging to a genius very different. In his compositions there is a wide variety, some of them being striking from their wild and mysterious nature, some for their elevation of both spirit and language, and others for their deep tone of feeling. His "Geneviève," his "Christabel," his "Ancient Mariner," and his "Hymn in the Vale of Chamouni," are themselves the sufficient testimonies of a great master. In some of his blank verse compositions the tone is as independently bold as the sentiments are philosophical and humane. Besides his own poetry, Coleridge translated part of Schiller's "Wallenstein," and was the author of several prose works of a high philosophical character. Southey was as different from Coleridge in the nature of his poetical productions as Coleridge was from Wordsworth. In his earliest poems he displayed a strong resentment against the abuses of society; he condemned war in his poem on "Blenheim," and expressed himself unsparingly on the treatment of the poor. His "Botany Bay Eclogues" are particularly in this vein. But he changed all that, and became one of the most zealous defenders of things as they are. His smaller poems are, after all, the best things which he wrote; his great epics of "Madoc," "Roderick, the Last of the Goths," "The Curse of Kehama," and "Thalaba," now finding few readers. Yet there are parts of them that must always charm.
[See larger version]In the meantime, the Ateliers Nationaux, or Government workshops, had, as might have been expected, miserably failed to answer their object, and the working classes were now in a state of great destitution and dangerous discontent. The number of persons employed in the national workshops had increased to 120,000; misery was extending to all classes of society; one half of Paris was said to be feeding the other half, and it was expected that in a short time there would not be a single manufacture in operation in Paris. It was therefore determined to reduce the number of workmen employed by the Government, and the reduction was begun by sending back 3,000 who had come from the provinces. But having passed the barrier, 400 returned, and sent a deputation to the Executive Committee at the Palace of the Luxembourg. The interview was unsatisfactory, and the deputation marched through the streets, shouting, "Down with the Executive Commission! down with the Assembly!" They were joined by great numbers, and it was soon discovered that an insurrection had been fully organised; and, although next morning the National Guard appeared in great force in the streets, the people began to erect barricades at the Porte St. Denis, the Porte St. Martin, in the Faubourg St. Antoine, and in various other places. The Government had, however, made effectual arrangements for putting down the riots; but the army, the National Guard, and the Garde Mobile had to encounter the most desperate resistance. Paris was declared by the Assembly to be in a state of siege, and all the executive powers were delegated to General Cavaignac. Next day he was reinforced by large numbers of National Guards from the provinces. Sunday came, and the dreadful conflict still continued. In the evening of that day the President of the Assembly announced that the troops of the Republic were in possession of a great number of the strongholds of the insurgents, but at an immense loss of blood. Never had anything like it been seen in Paris. He hoped that all would that night be finished. This day (June 25th) was signalised by the murder of the Archbishop of Paris.
CHAPTER XVII. THE REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).But they were not then in the position of a beleaguered garrison. Before relief came, they had won a victory that covered them with glory. The troops had been in the highest pluck, and never seemed so happy as when they could encounter any portion of the enemy. In this state of feeling an idea began to take possession of the officers that they were able to capture Mahomed Akbar's camp. A false report had come to the Sirdar, that General Pollock had been beaten back with great slaughter in the Khyber Pass; and in honour of this event his guns fired a royal salute. A rumour also reached the garrison that there had been a revolution at Cabul, and that the enemy was obliged to break up his camp and hasten back to the capital. Whether either or both these reports should prove true, the time seemed to have come for General Sale to strike a blow. A council of war was held; the general would have shrunk from the responsibility of an attack upon the camp; but he was dissuaded by Havelock. Akbar Khan, at the head of 6,000 men, was aware of their approach and ready to receive them. On issuing from the gate, General Sale had ordered Colonel Dennie forward, to attack a small fort, from which the enemy had often molested the garrison. The colonel, at the head of the brave 13th, rushed to the fort; but having entered the outer wall, they found themselves exposed to a murderous fire from the defences of the inner keep. There Colonel Dennie received a mortal wound, a ball passing through his sword-belt. Sale now gave orders for a general attack on the enemy's camp, and in his despatch he thus describes the result:—"The artillery advanced at a gallop, and directed a heavy fire upon the Afghan centre, whilst two of the columns of infantry penetrated the line near the same point, and the third forced back its left from its support on the river, into the stream of which some of his horse and foot were driven. The Afghans made repeated attempts to check our advance by a smart fire of musketry, by throwing forward heavy bodies of horse, which twice threatened the detachments of foot under Captain Havelock, and by opening upon us three guns from a battery screened by a garden wall, and said to have been served under the personal superintendence of the Sirdar. But in a short time they were dislodged from every point of their position, their cannon taken, and their camp involved in a general conflagration. The battle was over, and the enemy in full retreat, by about seven a.m. We have made ourselves masters of two cavalry standards, re-captured four guns lost by the Cabul and Gundamuk forces—the restoration of which to our Government is matter of much honest exultation among the troops—seized and destroyed a great quantity of material and ordnance stores, and burnt the whole of the enemy's tents. In short, the defeat of Mahomed Akbar, in open field, by the troops whom he had boasted of blockading, has been complete and signal. The field of battle was strewed with the bodies of men and horses, and the richness of the trappings of some of the latter seemed to attest that persons of distinction were among the fallen. The loss on our side was remarkably small—seven privates killed, and three officers and fifty men wounded."
The Budget did not retrieve the popularity of Ministers. Sir Francis Baring proposed to make up for an estimated deficit of ￡2,421,000 by an alteration of the timber duties producing ￡600,000 a year, and an alteration of the sugar duties producing ￡700,000. Both these changes were in the direction of free trade, and a still more significant proposal was the repeal of the existing corn law, and the substitution of a low fixed duty of 8s. a quarter on wheat. The House, however, would not accept such a budget from a Government whose Premier had in the previous year declared that "the responsible advisers of the Crown would not propose any change in the Corn Laws." After a debate of eight nights the Ministry were defeated on the sugar duties by 317 votes to 281. Still they did not resign, and the Opposition in consequence had recourse to a direct vote of censure.Two more attempts were made. Mr. Crewe reproduced the Bill to disable revenue officers from voting at elections, which was at once rejected. Sir Philip Jennings Clerke then reintroduced his Bill to exclude contractors from the House of Commons, unless their contracts were obtained at a public bidding. This was suffered, for appearance' sake, to pass the House with little opposition; but it was arrested in the Peers by the law lords, at the head of whom were Mansfield and Thurlow, and thrown out.详情
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