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It was with this object that Mr. Pierce Mahony got up the celebrated "Leinster declaration," so called from the signature of Ireland's only duke. But the experiment served only to reveal the weakness of the moderate party, for after lying for signature in Latouche's Bank for two months, only forty-two names were attached to it within that period. When, however, the struggle between the two parties was on the point of having a bloody issue, the alarm spread through the ranks of moderate men on both sides, and the document rapidly received signatures. The declaration set forth that the disqualifying laws which affected Roman Catholics were productive of consequences prejudicial in the highest degree to the interests of Ireland—the primary cause of her poverty—the source of political discontents and religious animosities—destructive alike of social happiness and national prosperity. Unless the legislature should speedily apply a remedy to those evils, they must in their rapid progression assume such a character as would, perhaps, render their removal impossible. It was stated, therefore, to be a matter of paramount importance that the whole subject should be taken into immediate consideration by Parliament, "with a view to such a final conciliatory adjustment as may be conducive to the peace and strength of the United Kingdom, to the stability of our national institutions, and to the general satisfaction and concord of all classes of his Majesty's subjects."Whilst things were in this position, Parliament met on the 13th of November. The great question on which the fate of the Ministry depended was that of the subsidies to Hesse and Russia. It was something new to see not merely an ordinary opposition, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Paymaster of the Forces—Legge and Pitt—ranging themselves against the king and their colleagues on this question. In the House of Lords the Address in reply to the royal speech, which implied approbation of these subsidies, was supported by Newcastle, Hardwicke, and the Duke of Bedford, who hitherto, since quitting office, had opposed everything, and was opposed by Lords Temple and Halifax. But the great struggle was in the Commons. The debate began at two in the afternoon, and continued till five the next morning—the longest hitherto recorded, except the one on the Westminster election in 1741. On this occasion William Gerard Hamilton made his first and almost last speech, which acquired him promotion in the Government of Ireland, and the cognomen of "Single-speech Hamilton." Murray spoke splendidly in defence of the subsidies; but Pitt, rising at one o'clock in the morning, after sitting eleven hours in that heated atmosphere, burst out upon the whole system of German subsidies with a tempest of eloquence which held the House in astonished awe. He denounced the whole practice of feeing the little German potentates as monstrous, useless, absurd, and desperate: an eternal drain on England for no single atom of benefit. He compared the union of Newcastle and Fox to the union of the Rh?ne and Sa?ne—a boisterous and impetuous torrent, with a shallow, languid, and muddy stream. But though Pitt's eloquence dismayed and confounded Ministers, it could not prevent their majority. The Address was carried by three hundred and eleven votes against one hundred and five; and it was now clear that Pitt must quit the Cabinet. In fact, in a very few days, not only he, but Legge and George Grenville, were summarily dismissed, and James Grenville, the other brother, resigned his seat at the Board of Trade.
Napoleon, however, called his Champ-de-Mai together for the electors to this anomalous document; but, to add to the incongruity, the assembly was held in the Champ-de-Mars, and not in May at all, but on the 1st of June. There he and his brothers, even Lucien, who had been wiled back to his assistance, figured in fantastic robes as emperor and princes of the blood, and the electors swore to the Constitution; but the whole was a dead and dreary fiasco. On the 4th the two Chambers, that of Peers and that of Representatives, met. The Peers, who were his own officers and picked men, readily agreed to the Constitution; but not so the Chamber of Representatives. They chose Lanjuinais president, who had been a zealous advocate of Louis XVI., and who had drawn up the list of crimes under which Buonaparte's forfeiture had been pronounced in 1814. They entered into a warm discussion on the propriety of abolishing all titles of honour in that Chamber. They rejected a proposition to bestow on Napoleon the title of Saviour of his Country, and they severely criticised the "additional Act," declaring that "the nation would entertain no plans of aggrandisement; that not even the will of a victorious prince should lead them beyond the boundaries of self-defence." In this state of things Buonaparte was compelled to depart, leaving the refractory chamber to discuss the articles of his new Constitution.After the departure of Fitzwilliam an open rebellion began. But the measures of his successor, Lord Camden, were at once moderate and prompt. A vigilant eye was kept on the agents of sedition and the Democratic clubs, which swarmed all over Ireland, as much in the Presbyterian north as in the Catholic south. Wolfe Tone and Hamilton Rowan had escaped to the United States; but there they fell in with Dr. Reynolds, Napper Tandy, and other enthusiastic Irish revolutionists. Tone was supplied with money, and dispatched to France to stimulate the Directory to the Irish invasion. He arrived at Havre in February, 1796, and on reaching Paris he presented letters from M. Adet, the French Minister to the United States, and was warmly received by Carnot, General Clarke, acting as Minister of War, and the Duke de Feltre. He was assured that General Hoche should be sent over with a resistless army as soon as it could be got ready, but the Directory desired to see some other of the leading members of the United Irishmen before engaging in the enterprise. Tone promised General Clarke one thousand pounds a year for life, and similar acknowledgments to all the other officers, on the liberation of Ireland; and he solicited for himself the rank of Brigadier-General, with immediate pay, and obtained it.
The other charges having been voted, on the 25th of April Burke brought up the articles of impeachment. There was a long debate, in which Wilkes, who had completely changed his politics, and had cultivated a friendship with Warren Hastings and his wife, made a very effective speech in his defence. He tried to shift the blame from Hastings to the Company. Pitt again pointed out the fact that honourable members had not been showing the innocence of Hastings, but raising all manner of set-offs for his crimes—a course which he had before said he had hoped would have been abandoned; that for his part, without going to the length of all the charges brought forward, he saw sufficient grounds for an impeachment. He could conceive a State compelled by sudden invasion and an unprovided army, to lay violent hands on the property of its subjects, but then such a State must be infamous if it did not, on the first opportunity, make ample satisfaction. But was this the principle on which Mr. Hastings had acted? No; he neither avowed the necessity nor the exaction. He made criminal charges, and, under colour of them, levied immoderate penalties, which, if he had a right to take them at all, he would be highly criminal in taking in such a shape; but which, having no right to take, the mode of taking rendered much more heinous and culpable.
[See larger version]At the approach of the new French levies, Eugene Beauharnais retreated from Magdeburg, and joined them on the Saale. The Allies and Napoleon now lay face to face, the Allies cutting off his advance towards Leipsic and thence to Dresden. He resolved to make a determined attack upon them, and demoralise them by a blow which should make him master of Leipsic, Dresden, and Berlin at once, and give its impression to the whole campaign. In the skirmishes which took place previous to the general engagement at Weissenfels and Poserna on the 29th of April and the 1st of May, Buonaparte gained some advantages; but in the latter action his old commander of the Imperial Guard, Marshal Bessières, was killed. His death was deeply lamented, both by his men, who had served under him from the very commencement of Buonaparte's career, and by Buonaparte himself.[See larger version]
There is no doubt that his great object was through life to inspire his Roman Catholic countrymen with a consciousness of their physical power, supplanting the slavish spirit that had been inspired by the penal code. He was accustomed to say that for every shilling of "rent" there was a man, and the man could grasp a weapon, and put forth a power that slumbered in his right arm. In fact, this mighty political conjurer produced all his spells by invoking this phantom of physical force; nor did he invoke it in vain, for it was that phantom that ultimately terrified the most determined supporters of the Protestant ascendency into surrender to the principle of civil equality. The Catholic Association, in its origin, was treated with contempt, and even Catholics themselves spoke of it with derision; but as it proceeded in its operations, the speeches that were weekly delivered produced an effect which daily increased. The Catholic aristocrat was made to feel that his ancient blood, which slavery had made stagnant in his veins, was of no avail; the Catholic merchant was taught that his coffers filled with gold could not impart to him any substantial importance, when every needy corporator looked down upon him from the pedestal of his aristocratic religion; the Catholic priest was informed that he had much occasion to put the lessons of humility inculcated by the Gospel into practice, when every coxcomb minister of the Establishment could, with impunity, put some sacerdotal affront upon him. In short, from the proudest nobleman down to the meanest serf, the whole body of Roman Catholics were rendered sensible of their inferior place in the State. The stigma was pointed at—men became exasperated at their grievances when they were roused to their perception; a mirror was held up to Ireland, and when she beheld the brand upon her forehead, she began to burn. Reviled as the Catholic demagogues have been, still did they not accomplish great things when they succeeded in marshalling and bringing the whole population of the country into array? The English people had been previously taught to hold the Irish Catholics in contempt; but when they saw that such an immense population was actuated by one indignant sentiment, and was combined in an impassioned, but not the less effectual, organisation, and, above all, when they perceived ￡1,000 a week pouring into the exchequer, their alarm was excited, and, although their pride was wounded, they ceased to despise where they had begun to fear. The wonders which were achieved in Waterford, in Armagh, in Monaghan, and in Louth, may be referred to the system of energy which had been adopted.In July, 1814, whilst the struggles were going on upon the Canadian frontiers, the British projected an expedition against the very capital of the United States. This was carried into execution about the middle of August. Sir Alexander Cochrane landed General Ross, and a strong body of troops, on the banks of the Patuxent, and accompanied them in a flotilla of launches, armed boats, and small craft up the river itself. On entering the reach at Pig Point they saw the American flotilla, commanded by Commodore Baring, lying seventeen in number. They prepared to attack it, when they saw flames begin to issue from the different vessels, and comprehended that the commodore had deserted them; and it was firmly believed that he had so timed the setting fire to his vessels that they might blow up when the British were close upon them, if they had not already boarded them. Fortunately, the flames had made too much progress, and the British escaped this danger. The vessels blew up one after another, except one, which the British secured. Both soldiers and sailors were highly incensed at this treachery, and prepared to avenge it on Washington itself. On the 24th of August they were encountered at Bladensburg, within five miles of Washington, by eight or nine thousand American troops, posted on the right bank of the Potomac, on a commanding ridge. Madison was on one of the hills, to watch the battle, on the event of which depended the fate of the capital.
It was now found that our pretended Mahratta allies, the Peishwa, Scindiah, and other chiefs, were in league with Cheetoo, and unless this conspiracy were broken the most fearful devastations might be expected on our states. The Governor-General represented this to the authorities at home, and recommended that the Pindarrees should be regularly hunted down and destroyed. In the course of 1816 he received full authority to execute this scheme. At the end of October he posted Lieutenant-Colonel Walker along the southern bank of the Nerbudda, to prevent the Pindarrees from crossing into the Company's territories; but as the line of river thus to be guarded was one hundred and fifty miles in length, the force employed was found insufficient against such adroit and rapid enemies. In November Cheetoo dashed across the river between Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's posts, and his forces dividing, one part made a rapid gallop through forests, and over rivers and mountains, right across the continent, into the district of Ganjam, in the northern Circars, hoping to reach Juggernaut and plunder the temple of its enormous wealth. But this division was met with in Ganjam by the Company's troops, and driven back with severe loss. The other division descended into the Deccan, as far as Beeder, where it again divided: one portion being met with by Major Macdonald, who had marched from Hyderabad, was completely cut up, though it was six thousand strong. The other body struck westward into Konkan, under a chief named Sheik Dulloo, and then, turning north, plundered all the western coast, and escaped with the booty beyond the Nerbudda, though not without some loss at the hands of the British troops on that river.When the two parties separated in 1846, the Young Irelanders established the Irish Confederation, which held its meetings in the Music Hall, Abbey Street, and whose platform was occupied by a number of young men, who subsequently figured in the State trials—Mr. Dillon, a barrister, who had been a moderator in Trinity College, Mr. Doheny, solicitor, Mr. O'Gorman, and Mr. Martin, a Protestant gentleman of property in the county Down. The object of the confederacy was to prepare the country for national independence, "by the force of opinion, by the combination of all classes of Irishmen, and the exercise of all the political, social, and moral influence within their reach." They disclaimed any intention of involving the country in civil war, or invading the just rights of any of its people; and they were specially anxious that Protestants and Roman Catholics should be united in the movement. Resolutions to this effect were adopted at a great meeting in the Rotunda, a revolutionary amendment by Mr. Mitchel having been rejected, after a stormy debate, which lasted three days, and did not terminate on the last day until one o'clock at night. This led to Mitchel's secession from the Nation, and the establishment of the United Irishman, in which he openly and violently advocated rebellion and revolution. He continually insisted on the adoption of the most diabolical and repulsive measures, with the utmost sang froid. Every Saturday his journal contained a letter "To the Earl of Clarendon, Her Majesty's Executioner-General and Butcher-General of Ireland." Plans of insurrection were freely propounded; the nature and efficiency of street fighting were copiously discussed; ladies were invited to throw vitriol from their windows on the Queen's troops, and to fling empty bottles before the cavalry that they might stumble and fall. Precise instructions were given, week after week, for the erection of barricades, the perforation of walls, and other means of attack and defence in the war against the Queen.[See larger version]
Ireland continued, during 1831 and 1832, in a very unsettled state. The restraint imposed by the Catholic Association during the Emancipation struggle was relaxed when the object was attained, and when Mr. O'Connell was absent from the country, attending his Parliamentary duties. The consequence was that the people, suffering destitution in some cases and in others irritated by local grievances, gave vent to their passions in vindictive and barbarous outrages. O'Connell himself was not in a mood to exert himself much in order to produce a more submissive spirit in the peasantry, even if he had the power. He was exasperated by his collisions with Mr. Stanley, by whom he was treated in a spirit of defiance, not unmingled with scorn; so that the great agitator was determined to make him and the Government feel his power. Had Mr. Stanley when he was Chief Secretary for Ireland possessed the experience that he afterwards acquired when he became Earl of Derby, he would have adopted a more diplomatic tone in Parliament, and a more conciliatory spirit in his Irish administration. His character as it appeared to the Irish Roman Catholics, sketched by O'Connell, was a hideous caricature. A more moderate and discriminating Irish sketch of him by Mr. Fitzpatrick represented the Chief Secretary as possessing a judgment of powerful penetration and a facility in mastering details, with a temper somewhat reserved and dictatorial. Popularity was not his idol; instead of the theatrical smile and plastic posture of his predecessors, there was a knitted brow and a cold manner. Mr. Stanley left much undone in Ireland. But this candid Catholic writer gives him credit for having accomplished much, not only in correcting what was evil, but in establishing what was good. He is praised for putting down Orange processions, and for "the moral courage with which he grappled with the hydra of the Church Establishment." He created as well as destroyed, and "his creations were marked with peculiar efficiency." "The Irish Board of Works sprang up under his auspices. The Shannon navigation scheme at last became a reality, and the proselytism of the Kildare Place Society received a fatal check by the establishment of the national system of education. The political philippics which Baron Smith had been in the habit of enunciating from the Bench were put a stop to by Mr. Stanley. He viewed the practice with indignation, and trenchantly reprobated it in the House of Commons. It ought to be added that Mr. Stanley built a house in Tipperary, chiefly with the object of giving employment to the poor." It has been often remarked that the Chief Secretary for Ireland, on his arrival in Dublin, is always surrounded by men each of whom has his peculiar specific for the evils of the country. But Mr. Sheil said that Mr. Stanley, instead of listening to such counsel with the usual "sad civility, invariably intimated with some abrupt jeer, bordering on mockery, his utter disregard of the advice, and his very slender estimate of the adviser." Mr. Stanley made an exception, however, in favour of the then celebrated "J. K. L." He acknowledged a letter from Dr. Doyle, on the education question, with warm expressions of thanks for the suggestions contained in it, and a wish to see him on his arrival in Dublin. Towards O'Connell, however, Mr. Stanley seems to have cherished a strong antipathy. They exercised mutual repulsion upon one another, and they never came into contact without violent irritation.[See larger version]详情
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