The claims of Ireland seeming, for the moment, to be happily satisfied, Ministers now proceeded to carry out those reforms for which they had loudly called during the many years that they had been in opposition. They adopted and introduced the Bills of Sir Philip Clerke and Mr. Carew for excluding contractors from the House of Commons, and revenue officers from voting at elections. The Bill against the contractors passed the Commons with little difficulty; but the Ministers immediately felt the mischief of allowing Lord Thurlow to retain his place of Chancellor. He opposed the measure vehemently, and divided the House upon it. Lord Mansfield gave it his cordial resistance, and the new Lord Ashburton, though created by the present Administration, tacked to it a clause exempting all gentlemen who merely contracted for the produce of their estates. The clause, however, was lopped away again on the return of the Bill to the Commons, and the Act passed without it. The Bill for disqualifying revenue officers was opposed with equal pertinacity by Thurlow and Mansfield; though Lord Rockingham stated that the elections in seventy boroughs depended chiefly on revenue officers, and that nearly twelve thousand of such officers created by the late Ministry had votes in other places. The Bill passed, after exempting all officers who held their posts for life, and therefore were charitably supposed to be beyond the reach of undue influence, as if no such thing as promotion had its effect.
[See larger version]No scene in history ever was fraught with such multiplied horrors. Thirty thousand French perished in that fatal passage of the Beresina; and had Kutusoff done what he might, not a man, not Napoleon himself, could have escaped. But this cautious old general was contented that winter should finish the work. In the first few days after Napoleon had quitted Smolensk the Russians had taken twenty-six thousand prisoners, including three hundred officers, and two hundred and twenty-eight guns, with numerous standards. They had killed ten thousand Frenchmen, and now thirty thousand more had perished. That was enough for Kutusoff.
While the Irish Government was in this state of miserable trepidation, the Dublin confederates carried on their proceedings with the most perfect unconcern and consciousness of impunity. Among these proceedings was the sending of a deputation to Paris to seek the aid of the republican Government on behalf of the "oppressed nationality of Ireland." The deputation consisted of Messrs. O'Brien, Meagher, and O'Gorman. They were the bearers of three congratulatory addresses, to which Lamartine gave a magniloquent reply about the great democratic principle—"this new Christianity bursting forth at the opportune moment." The destinies of Ireland had always deeply moved the heart of Europe. "The children of that glorious isle of Erin," whose natural genius and pathetic history were equally symbolic of the poetry and the heroism of the nations of the North, would always find in France under the republic a generous response to all its friendly sentiments. But as regarded intervention, the Provisional Government gave the same answer that they had given to Germany, to Belgium, and to Italy. "Where there is a difference of race—where nations are aliens in blood—intervention is not allowable. We belong to no party in Ireland or elsewhere except to that which contends for justice, for liberty, and for the happiness of the Irish people. We are at peace," continued Lamartine, "and we are desirous of remaining on good terms of equality, not with this or that part of Great Britain, but with Great Britain entire. We believe this peace to be useful and honourable, not only to Great Britain and to the French Republic, but to the human race. We will not commit an act, we will not utter a word, we will not breathe an insinuation, at variance with principles of the reciprocal inviolability of nations which we have proclaimed, and of which the continent of Europe is already gathering the fruits. The fallen monarchy had treaties and diplomatists. Our diplomatists are nations—our treaties are sympathies." The sympathies felt for the Irish revolutionists, however, were barren. Nevertheless the deputation who were complimented as "aliens in blood" shouted "Vive la République," "Vive Lamartine," who had just declared that the French would be insane were they openly to exchange such sympathy for "unmeaning and partial alliance with even the most legitimate parties in the countries that surrounded them."ROBESPIERRE.
[See larger version]The strong sense, lively fancy, and smart style of his satires, distinguished also Pope's prose, as in his "Treatise of the Bathos; or, the Art of Sinking in Poetry;" his "Memoirs of P. P., Clerk of this Parish"—in ridicule of Burnet's "Own Times"—his Letters, etc. In some of the last he describes the country and country seats, and the life there of his friends; which shows that, in an age more percipient of the charm of such things, he would have probably approached nearer to the heart of Nature, and given us something more genial and delightful than anything that he has left us.
Bernadotte took his time, and went. It was in March. At Abo, in a solitary hut, he and Alexander met, and there the final ruin of Napoleon was sketched out by a master's hand—that of his old companion in arms. Bernadotte knew all the strength and weakness of Napoleon; he had long watched the causes which would ultimately break up the wonderful career of his victories. He listened to the fears of Alexander, and bade him dismiss them. He told him that it was the timidity of his opponents which had given to Napoleon the victories of Austerlitz and Wagram; that, as regarded the present war, nothing could equal his infatuated blindness; that, treating the wishes of Poland with contempt, neglecting the palpably necessary measures of securing his flanks by the alliance of Turkey and Sweden, east and west, he was only rushing on suicide in the vast deserts five hundred miles from his frontiers; that all that was necessary on the part of Russia was to commence a war of devastation; to destroy all his resources, in the manner of the ancient Scythians and Parthians; to pursue him everywhere with a war of fanaticism and desolation; to admit of no peace till he was driven to the left bank of the Rhine, where the oppressed and vengeful nationalities would arise and annihilate him; that Napoleon, so brilliant and bold in attack, would show himself incapable of conducting a retreat of eight hours—a retreat would be the certain signal of his ruin. If he approached St. Petersburg, he engaged for himself to make a descent on France with fifty thousand men, and to call on both the Republican and constitutional parties to arise and liberate their country from the tyrant. Meanwhile, they must close the passage of the Beresina against him, when they would inevitably secure his person. They must then proclaim everywhere his death, and his whole dynasty would go to pieces with far greater rapidity than it grew.
Mr. Morgan O'Connell soon found that he had no sinecure in undertaking to give satisfaction with the pistol for all his father's violations of the code of honour. Shortly after, Mr. Daniel O'Connell referred, in strong language, to an attack made upon him by Mr. Disraeli at Taunton:—"In the annals of political turpitude, there is not anything deserving the appellation of black-guardism to equal that attack upon me.... He possesses just the qualities of the impenitent thief who died upon the Cross; whose name, I verily believe, must have been Disraeli. For aught I know, the present Disraeli is descended from him; and with the impression that he is, I now forgive the heir-at-law of the blasphemous thief who died upon the Cross." When Mr. Disraeli read this tremendous philippic, he wrote to Mr. Morgan O'Connell for satisfaction, which the latter denied his right to demand. He had not seen the attack, nor was he answerable for his father's words, though he had taken up his quarrel with Lord Alvanley. Not being able to get satisfaction by means of pistols, he had recourse to the pen; and, certainly, if O'Connell's attack was violent, the retaliation was not of the meekest. However, ink alone was spilt.[See larger version]
The Congress of Vienna, interrupted by the last razzia of Buonaparte, now resumed its sittings, and the conditions between France and the Allies were finally settled, and treaties embodying them were signed at Paris by Louis XVIII. on the 20th of November. France was rigorously confined to the frontier of 1790, losing the additions conferred on it by the first Treaty of Paris; and to prevent any danger of a recurrence of the calamities which had called the Allies thus a second time to Paris, they were to retain in their hands seventeen of the principal frontier fortresses, and one hundred and fifty thousand of their soldiers were to be quartered, and maintained by France, in different parts of the kingdom. The term of their stay was not to exceed five years, and that term might be curtailed should the aspect of Europe warrant it. The Allied sovereigns also insisted on the payment of the enormous expenses which had been occasioned by this campaign of the Hundred Days—the amount of which was estimated at seven hundred millions of francs. This sum, however, was not to be exacted at once, but to be paid by easy instalments.On the 10th of May the second Congress met at Philadelphia. The delegates had everywhere been easily elected, and Franklin, having arrived on the 5th of May in Philadelphia, was in time to be added to the number already chosen there. The battle of Lexington had heated the blood of the delegates, and they assembled in no very pacific mood. They assumed the name of the Congress of the United Colonies, and rejected with contempt the poor conciliatory Bill of Lord North, as it had already been deservedly treated by the provincial Assemblies. They immediately issued a proclamation prohibiting the export of provisions to any British colony or fishery still continuing in obedience to Great Britain; or any supply to the British army in Massachusetts Bay, or the negotiation of any bill drawn by a British officer. Congress ordered the military force of the colonies to be placed on an efficient footing. They called into existence a body of men, besides the provincial militia, to be maintained by the United Colonies, and to be called continental troops, which distinction must be kept in mind during the whole war. They then made a most admirable choice of a commander-in-chief in the person of Colonel George Washington.Parliament was opened by commission on the 29th of January, four days after the formation of the Wellington Ministry. The Royal Speech referred chiefly to the affairs of the East, to the rights of neutral nations violated by the revolting excesses of the Greeks and Turks, to the battle of Navarino with the fleet of an ancient ally, which was lamented as an "untoward event;" but hopes were expressed that it might not lead to further hostilities. The Speech alluded to the increase of exports and the more general employment of the people as indications of returning prosperity. The phrase "untoward" was objected to by Lords Lansdowne and Goderich. Lord Holland denied that our relations with Turkey were those of an alliance; but the Duke of Wellington contended that the Ottoman empire was an ancient ally of Great Britain, that it formed an essential part of the balance of power, and that the maintenance of its independent existence was more than ever necessary as an object of European policy.
[See larger version]The demoralisation appeared further in the abuses connected with the distribution of relief. The reports of the Commissioners have stated that, in those districts where the relief committees worked together with zeal and in good faith, the administration was excellent, checking fraud and imposture, while it relieved the really distressed. But in some districts this was unhappily not the case. Abuses existed, varying from apathy and neglect to connivance at frauds and misappropriation of the funds. Gross impositions were daily practised by the poor. The dead or absent were personated; children were lent for a few days in order to give the appearance of large families, and thus entitle the borrowers to a greater number of rations. Almost the whole population, in many cases, alleged poverty and looked for relief; and then, conceiving the receipt of cooked food a degradation, they endeavoured to compel the issue of raw meal. One universal spirit of mendicancy pervaded the people, to which in several places the committees offered no opposition. Yielding to intimidation, or seeking for popularity, they were willing to place the whole population indiscriminately on the lists to be supported by public charity.详情
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