Meanwhile Lord Ashley, a staunch upholder of the Corn Laws, in a letter to his constituents of Dorsetshire declared his opinion "that the destiny of the Corn Laws was fixed," and that it would be wise to consider "how best to break the force of an inevitable blow." Mr. Bickham and Captain Estcott, also strong defenders of the landlords' monopoly, published their conviction that the Corn Laws were no longer tenable; and on the 22nd of November Lord John Russell, who was at Edinburgh, addressed a letter to the electors of the City of London, which was duly circulated throughout the kingdom, and which contained the following remarkable passages:—Goldsmith was in his poetry, as in his prose, simple, genuine, and natural. His "Deserted Village" and "Traveller" were in the metre of Pope, but they were full of the most exquisite touches of pathos, of truth, and liberty; they were new in spirit, though old in form. Charles Churchill, the satirist, was full of flagellant power. He has been said to have formed himself on Dryden; but it is more probable that his models were Lucian and Juvenal. He was a bold and merciless chastiser of the follies of the times. He commenced, in the "Rosciad," with the players, by which he stirred a nest of hornets. Undauntedly he pursued his course, attacking, in "The Ghost," the then all-powerful Dr. Johnson, who ruled like a despot over both literary men and their opinions. These satires, strong and somewhat coarse, were followed by "The Prophecy of Famine," an "Epistle to Hogarth," "The Conference," "The Duellist," "The Author," "Gotham," "The Candidate," "The Times," etc. In these Churchill not only lashed the corruptions of the age, but the false principles of nations. He condemned the seizure of other countries by so-called Christian powers, on the plea of discovery. It was only to be lamented that Churchill, who was a clergyman, in censuring his neighbour's vices did not abandon his own.
The British Ministry adopted the advice most cordially. Lord Liverpool, in the House of Lords, and Lord Castlereagh, in the Commons, on the 6th of April, announced the astounding fact of the escape of Buonaparte, and proposed addresses from both Houses to the Prince Regent, recommending the most energetic measures of co-operation with the Allies now finally to crush this lawless man. Whitbread vehemently opposed this measure, declaring that it was not our business "to commence a new crusade to determine who should fill the throne of France." This was true enough; but it was a truth, in the then temper of the Government or public, which was not likely to be attended to. The addresses were carried in both Houses without any division, and Lord Wellington was nominated to command the forces which should take the field for Great Britain; and these were to amount to no fewer than one hundred and fifty thousand, and to consist of a moderate number of British soldiers, and the rest to be paid Hanoverians, Belgians, Dutch, and Germans. Parliament immediately voted the enormous sum of ninety million pounds for supplies, knowing the vast subsidies which would be required by the Allied monarchs, besides the large sum necessary to pay our own quota of troops.
Prorogation of Parliament—Agitation against the House of Lords—O'Connell's Crusade—Inquiry into the Orange Lodges—Report of the Committee—Mr. Hume's Motion—Renewed Attack in 1836—The Lodges dissolved—Lord Mulgrave in Ireland—His Progresses—Wrath of the Orangemen—Prosperity of the Country—Condition of Canada—A Commission appointed—Violence of the King—Lord Gosford in Canada—His Failure to pacify the Canadians—Upper Canada—Pepys becomes Lord Chancellor—Opening of Parliament—The King's Speech—O'Connell and Mr. Raphael—The Newspaper Duty—The Irish Poor—Appointment of a Commission—Its numerous Reports—The Third Report—Private Bills on the Subject—Mr. Nicholls' Report—Lord John Russell's Bill—Abandonment of the Measure—Debate on Agriculture—Finance—The Ecclesiastical Commission—Its first Report—The Commission made permanent—The Tithe Commutation Act—The Marriage Act—The Registration Act—Commercial Panics—Foreign Affairs—Russian Aggression—Occupation of Cracow—Disorder in Spain—Revolution in Portugal—Position of the Ministry—A Speech of Sheil's—The Church Rates Bill—Death of the King—His Treatment of the Ministry.The Remainder of the Session—The Coercion Bill carried—Rejection of the Tithes Bill—University Tests—Prorogation of Parliament—Brougham's Tour in Scotland—Burning of the Houses of Parliament—Fall of Melbourne's Ministry—Wellington sole Minister—Peel forms a Ministry—The Tamworth Manifesto—Dissolution and General Election—Mr. Abercromby elected Speaker—The Lichfield House Compact—Peel defeated on the Address—Lord John Russell announces a Resolution on Appropriation—Lord Chandos's Motion—Lord Londonderry's Appointment—The Dissenters and London University—Hardinge's Tithe Bill—The Appropriation Resolution—The Debate—Peel resigns—Melbourne's second Ministry—Conservative Successes—Lord Alvanley and O'Connell—The Duel between Alvanley and Morgan O'Connell—O'Connell and Disraeli—Character of Lord Melbourne—Municipal Reform—Report of the Commission—The Municipal Corporations Act introduced—Its Progress in the Commons—Lyndhurst's Amendments-It becomes Law—Irish Corporations—Report of the Commission—The Bill is mutilated in the Upper House, and abandoned—It becomes Law in 1840—Municipal Reform in Scotland.Palliser, incensed at these marked censures on himself, vacated his seat in Parliament, and resigned his Governorship of Scarborough Castle, his seat at the Board of Admiralty, his colonelcy of marines, retaining only his post of Vice-Admiral, and demanding a court-martial. This was held on board the Sandwich, in Portsmouth harbour, and lasted twenty-one days, resulting finally in a verdict of acquittal, though with some censure for his not having acquainted his Commander-in-Chief instantly that the disabled state of his ship had prevented him from obeying the signal to join for the renewal of the fight. This sentence pleased neither party. Keppel thought Palliser too easily let off—Palliser that he was sacrificed to party feeling against Government.
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NAPOLEON ABANDONING HIS ARMY. (See p. 54.)
The British losses in the battle of Moodkee were very heavy—215 killed; among whom were Sir Robert Sale, Sir John M'Caskill, and a number of young officers who had greatly distinguished themselves. The wounded amounted to 657. Meanwhile, the enemy, having left seventeen guns upon the field, retired in tolerably good order, within their entrenched camp, which they had formed at Ferozeshah, on the banks of the Sutlej, near Ferozepore. For two days both armies remained inactive, but ready to renew the conflict. The losses of the British had been made up by the arrival of the 29th Queen's and the 1st Bengal Light Infantry. A memorable event in the history of British warfare in India, was that Sir Henry Hardinge, the veteran commander, the hero of so many battles, the Governor-General of India, offered his services to Sir Hugh Gough as second in command. The offer was accepted, and the army marched forth to attack the enemy's camp. They started at daybreak on the 21st, and about midday a junction was effected with General Littler's division, which had marched out from Ferozepore, according to orders sent the night before. The British army was now raised to 19,000 effective men. The enemy were double that number, strongly entrenched, well provisioned, and fresh after two days' rest; while our troops were ill provided with food, and had marched ten miles that morning. To attack the Sikhs without waiting for some expected reinforcements was hazardous; to postpone the attack for another day seemed still more so—as there was a second Sikh army of equal force, which would then have reached the scene of action. An immediate attack was therefore determined upon—Gough leading the right wing, and Hardinge the left. The Sikh artillery was heavier than the British. The guns were protected behind embrasures, the gunners were sure in their aim; and so terrible was the effect that the 62nd Regiment, which led on the attack, was nearly cut away, and several Sepoy regiments broke and fled. The whole of the left wing, though led on gallantly by the Governor-General, were driven back, after carrying part of the works. The right wing, under General Gough, succeeded better, and held possession of several of the ramparts. But the Sikhs were still in possession of the fortified village of Ferozeshah, and remained so till night closed upon the scene; when the smoke and dust subsided, and the silence was broken only by an occasional shot from the guns, responded to in the darkness—the gunners seeing no enemy, but aiming at the flash of light.There was an energetic debate in each House as the Bill passed through. It was opposed in the Peers by Lords Lansdowne, Holland, and Erskine, but was carried by ninety-three against twenty-seven. Ten peers entered a strong protest on the journals against the measure, denying the traitorous conspiracy or the extensive disaffection to the Government alleged, affirming that the execution of the ordinary laws would have been amply sufficient, and that Ministers were not entitled to indemnity for causeless arrests and long imprisonments which had taken place, for the Bill went to protect them in decidedly illegal acts. In the House of Commons the Bill was strongly opposed by Brougham, Tierney, Mr. Lambton—afterwards Lord Durham—and Sir Samuel Romilly. They condemned the conduct of Ministers in severe language, while the Bill was supported by Canning, by Mr. Lamb—afterwards Lord Melbourne, who generally went with the other side—by Sir William Garrow, and Sir Samuel Shepherd, Attorney-General.
Every engine of the English Court was put in motion to prevent the Electoral Prince from coming. Oxford had an interview with Schutz, in which he repeated that it was his applying for the writ to the Lord Chancellor instead of to the queen that had done all the mischief; that her Majesty, had it not been for this untoward incident, would have invited the Prince to come over and spend the summer in England—forgetting, as Schutz observed, that the minute before he had assured him that the queen was too much afraid of seeing any of that family here. He advised Schutz—who could not be convinced that he had done anything irregular in his application, quoting numerous proofs to show that it was the accustomed mode of applying for writs—to avoid appearing again at Court; but Schutz, not seeming disposed to follow that advice, immediately received a positive order to the same effect from the queen through another channel. Schutz, therefore, lost no time in returning to Hanover to justify himself. At the same time, Lord Strafford was instructed to write from the Hague, blaming the conduct of Schutz in applying for the writ in the manner he did, as disrespectful to the queen; for, though strictly legal for an absent peer to make such application, the etiquette was that he should defer it till he could do it personally. Strafford ridiculed the idea of any movement being afoot in favour of the Pretender, and observed that, as to sending him out of the Duke of Lorraine's territory, it was not practicable, because the French king maintained that he had fulfilled the treaty, Lorraine not being any part of France. On the other hand, there were striking signs that the cause of Hanover was in the ascendant. Men who watched the course of events decided accordingly. Marlborough, who so lately had been making court to the Pretender, now wrote from Antwerp, urging the House of Hanover to send over the prince without delay to England; that the state of the queen's health made prompt action necessary; and that the presence of the prince in London would secure the succession without risk, without expense, and without war, and was the likeliest measure of inducing France to abandon its design of assisting the Pretender.
On the 1st of July the report of the committee was read, together with the form of declaration as drawn up by Jefferson, but afterwards remodelled by Franklin and the committee. Nine states now voted for independence. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted against it. Delaware and South Carolina requested an adjournment to the next day, in order to make up their minds, when they voted for it, a new delegate having arrived from Delaware with firmer instructions. New York held out against independence, General Howe having now arrived at Sandy Hook, and the Provincial Congress having retired from New York to White Plains. Jay and Gouverneur Morris, from that State, were, however, vehement for independence, asserting that the Congress of New York ought to be dissolved, and delegates sent up to a new and more popular Congress.The next day tempest scattered the approaching transports. Sir John thought the storm sufficient excuse for not pursuing; but the winds followed the invaders, and blowing directly from London towards Dunkirk, dispersed the French transports, sank some of the largest of them with all their men, wrecked others on the coast, and made the rest glad to recover their port. Charles waited impatiently for the cessation of the tempest to put to sea again, but the French ministers were discouraged by the disaster, and by the discovery of so powerful a British fleet in the Channel. The army was withdrawn from Dunkirk, Marshal Saxe was appointed to the command in Flanders, and the expedition for the present was relinquished.
On the 6th of March, Sir William Molesworth, with a view to bringing the whole colonial administration of the empire before the House of Commons, moved that an Address be presented to her Majesty, expressing the opinion of the House that in the present critical state of many of her foreign possessions "the Colonial Minister should be a person in whose diligence, activity, and firmness the House and the public may be able to place reliance;" and declaring that "her Majesty's present Secretary of State for the Colonies does not enjoy the confidence of the House or the country." The honourable baronet made a speech of two hours' duration, which was a dissertation on colonial policy, containing a survey of the whole of her Majesty's dominions in both hemispheres. He disclaimed all party considerations in bringing forward his motion, or any intention to make an invidious attack on Lord Glenelg. But as the colonies were so numerous, so diversified in races, religions, languages, institutions, interests, and as they were unrepresented in the Imperial Parliament, it was absolutely necessary that the colonial administration should be vigilant, prompt, sagacious, energetic, and firm. Lord Glenelg was wanting in these qualities, and the colonies were all suffering more or less from the errors and deficiencies of this ill-fated Minister, "who had, in the words of Lord Aberdeen, reduced doing nothing to a system." Lord Glenelg was defended by Lord Palmerston, who regarded the attack upon him as an assault upon the Cabinet, which would not allow one of its members to be made a scapegoat. The House divided, when the numbers were—ayes, 287; noes, 316; majority for Ministers, 29. Nevertheless the Ministry were greatly damaged by the debate, which emphasised the growing Radical revolt. In the following year Lord Glenelg, having declined to exchange his office for the Auditorship of the Exchequer, resigned.详情
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