When Emancipation was carried, the Catholics did not forget the claims of Mr. O'Connell, who had laboured so hard during a quarter of a century for its accomplishment. A testimonial was soon afterwards got up to reward him for his services. Mr. C. O'Laughlin, of Dublin, subscribed ￡500; the Earl of Shrewsbury 1,000 guineas, and the less grateful Duke of Norfolk the sum of ￡100. The collection of the testimonial was organised in every district throughout Ireland, and a sum of ￡50,000 sterling was collected. Mr. O'Connell did not love money for its own sake. The immense sums that were poured into the coffers of the Catholic Association were spent freely in carrying on the agitation, and the large annuity which he himself received was mainly devoted to the same object. One means, which had no small effect in accomplishing the object, was the extremely liberal hospitality which was kept up, not only at Derrynane Abbey, but at his town residence in Merrion Square; and he had, besides, a host of retainers more or less dependent upon his bounty.
Prince Ferdinand this summer had to contend with numerous armies of the French. De Broglie marched from Frankfort into Hesse with a hundred thousand men. On the 10th of July they met the hereditary Prince of Brunswick at Corbach, and defeated him, though he gained a decided advantage over them a few days after at Emsdorf, taking the commander of the division and five battalions prisoners. This was followed by Ferdinand himself, who was at Warburg, where he took ten pieces of artillery, killed one thousand five hundred of the French, and drove them into the Dimel, where many were drowned. The British cavalry had the greatest share in this victory. In fact, the Marquis of Granby led them on all occasions with such spirit and bravery, that Ferdinand placed them continually in the post of danger, where of course they suffered more severely than the other troops.THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA.
Such, then, was the state of affairs at the meeting of Parliament in November, 1768. These events in America claimed immediate attention. The petition of the Convention of Massachusetts, on its arrival, was rejected indignantly. The Opposition called for the production of the correspondence with the civil and military authorities there on the subject, but this demand was negatived. In January, 1769, the House of Lords took up the subject in a lofty tone. They complained of the seditious and treasonable proceedings of the people of Boston and of Massachusetts generally; and the Duke of Bedford, affirming that it was clear that no such acts could be punished by the magistrates or tribunals of the colony, moved an address to the king recommending that the criminals guilty of the late outrages should be brought to England and tried there, according to an Act of the 35th of Henry VIII. On the 26th of January it was introduced to the Commons. There it excited a very spirited opposition. Pownall, who had himself been governor of Massachusetts, and knew the Americans well, accused the Lords of gross ignorance of the charters, usages, and character of the Americans; and Governor Johnstone as strongly condemned the motion, which was carried by one hundred and fifty-five to eighty-nine. On the 14th of March a petition from New York, denying their right to tax America in any way, was rejected, on the motion of Lord North; and, still later in the session, Governor Pownall moved that the revenue acts affecting America should be repealed forthwith. By this time everybody seemed to have become convinced of the folly of the attempt; but Ministers had not the magnanimity to act at once on the certainty that stared them in the face. Parliament was prorogued on the 9th of May, and did not meet again till the following January, as if there were nothing of moment demanding its attention.The Parliamentary Session for 1845 was opened by the Queen in person on the 4th of February. At a meeting a few days earlier, Mr. Cobden had warned his hearers that no change in the Corn Laws could be expected from Sir Robert Peel so long as the Ministry could avail themselves of the old excuse, the revived prosperity of manufactures and commerce. "Ours," he had said, "is a very simple proposition. We say to the right honourable baronet, 'Abolish the monopolies which go to enrich that majority which placed you in power and keeps you there.' We know he will not attempt it; but we are quite certain he will make great professions of being a Free Trader, notwithstanding."
Buonaparte had not a sufficient French force in Germany under Davoust and Oudinot, but he called on the Confederacy of the Rhine to furnish their stipulated quotas to fight for the subjugation of their common fatherland. Bavaria, Würtemberg, Saxony, and the smaller States were summoned to this unholy work. His numbers, after all, were far inferior to those of the enemy, and, besides the renegade Germans, consisted of a medley of other tributary nations—Italians, Poles, Dutch, Belgians, and others. It is amazing how, in all his later wars, he used the nations he had conquered to put down the rest. Even in his fatal campaign in Russia—yet to come—a vast part of his army consisted of the troops of these subjugated nations.
Monster meetings, not unaccompanied by disturbance, were held in various places, the most serious of which occurred at Birmingham. The inhabitants of this town had been kept in a state of almost incessant alarm by the proceedings of disorderly persons calling themselves Chartists. Representations to this effect having been sent to the Home Office, sixty picked men of the metropolitan force were sent down to aid the civil authorities in the preservation of peace. They arrived at Birmingham by the railway on Thursday, July 4th, and speedily mustering, they marched two abreast into the Bull Ring, where about 2,000 Chartists were assembled, at nine o'clock in the evening. They endeavoured, at first, to induce the meeting quietly to disperse, but failed in the attempt. They then seized the flags with which Lord Nelson's monument in the centre of the square was decorated, and among which was one that bore a death's head; but the Chartists, who had at first been disconcerted, recaptured them, after a desperate struggle, and broke their staves into pieces, to be used as clubs. A conflict immediately ensued, in which the police, who were armed only with batons, were seriously injured; and the Chartists were retiring in triumph when the 4th Dragoons charged them, by concert, through all the streets leading to the Bull Ring, and they fled in every direction. Further riots ensued, and on the 15th an organised mob attacked the houses in the High Street and Spiral Street. They broke into the warehouses, flinging their contents into the streets. A large pile of bedding was set on fire in the Bull Ring. Windows and shop-fittings were remorselessly demolished by the infuriated multitude. A few minutes past nine o'clock the cry of "Fire!" was raised. Scarcely had the words been uttered when the rioters carried immense heaps of burning materials from the streets, forcing them into the houses of Mr. Bourne and Mr. Legatt. Within a quarter of an hour the flames burst out with awful violence from both houses, amidst the exulting shouts of the rioters. While this work of destruction was going on they had the streets to themselves. The general cry among the inhabitants was, "Where are the military? Where are the magistrates?" At length, about ten o'clock, sixty of the metropolitan police, with a posse of special constables, made their appearance, and rushed upon the rioters sword in hand, causing them to fly in all directions. The dragoons, under the command of Colonel Chatterton, were now discerned galloping down Moore Street, and another squadron at the same moment down High Street, and in five minutes about 300 of the Rifle Brigade marched to the Bull Ring. The inhabitants, feeling like people sore pressed by a long siege, clapped their hands with joy at the approach of their deliverers. The fire engines also came under escort, having been driven away before, and set about arresting the conflagration. In the meantime the cavalry were scouring and clearing the streets and suburbs, and the police were busily engaged bringing in prisoners. About midnight the roofs of the two houses fell in, and about one o'clock the fire was got under. Next day the shops were nearly all closed, the middle classes full of suspicion, and the populace vowing vengeance against the police and the soldiers. A piece of artillery placed at the head of High Street contributed materially to prevent further disturbance. About twenty prisoners were made, and the evidence produced before the magistrates showed the determined purpose of the rioters. When these outrages were the subject of discussion in the House of Lords, the Duke of Wellington said, "That he had seen as much of war as most men; but he had never seen a town carried by assault subjected to such violence as Birmingham had been during an hour by its own inhabitants."
This coalition was considered a matter of great importance, not as giving strength to the Administration of Lord Liverpool, to which it brought only a few votes in the House of Commons, but as indicating a radical change of policy towards Ireland. Lord Eldon was by no means satisfied with the changes. "This coalition," he writes, "I think, will have consequences very different from those expected by the members of administration who have brought it about. I hate coalitions." No doubt they ill suited his uncompromising spirit; and any connection with Liberal opinions must have been in the highest degree repugnant to the feelings of one who believed that the granting of Catholic Emancipation would involve the ruin of the Constitution.Bagration, prevented by Jerome of Westphalia from pursuing his route towards Drissa, changed his course towards Minsk; but finding himself outstripped there too, he made for the Beresina, and effected a passage at Bobruisk. He then ascended the Dnieper as far as Mohilev; but, finding himself anticipated by Davoust, he attacked that general in the hope of cutting his way through. In this he failed, after a sharply-contested engagement, and once more he retired down the Dnieper, and crossed at Nevoi-Bikoff, which enabled him to pursue his course for a union with Barclay de Tolly, who was making for Smolensk. Thus Bagration, though running imminent hazard of being cut off, managed to out-man?uvre Napoleon himself—a new event in his campaigns. On his march, his troops had several encounters with the French and Polish cavalry; but Platoff showed great gallantry, and often severely punished the enemy.Bolingbroke was well aware that a violent strife for power was going on in the British Cabinet. Lord Carteret, the new Secretary of State, and afterwards Earl Granville, was labouring hard to undermine both Walpole and Townshend. He was a very accomplished man and a great linguist, familiar with nearly all the Continental languages, including German, which, strangely enough, the English courtiers neglected, though they had a German monarch on the throne who could not speak English. German then was regarded as a language rude and even vulgar—a tongue, as Voltaire afterwards said, "only fit for horses." But Carteret, by being master of it, could converse freely with the king, whilst Walpole, ignorant, too, of French, could hold communication with him only in Latin, which, from the wide difference between the English and foreign pronunciation of it, could not have been a very favourable medium. Carteret had ingratiated himself so much with the king by conversing in German, and flattering George's German tastes and politics, that he had succeeded to the influence which Stanhope had formerly possessed. He had also secured the same influence in the Court of Paris. He had by that means confirmed the appointment of Sir Luke Schaub at that Court, and thus kept open the most favourable communication with the Abbé Dubois. The Courts of England and France continued during Dubois' life in close connection, and through the influence of George and his Ministers, Dubois obtained first the Archbishop's mitre, and then the Cardinal's hat.
The only attempts at reform were in the commissariat and discipline of the army. The soldiers were allowed an extra quantity of bread and meat, and the militia regiments were permitted to have artillery, and to increase their force and improve their staffs. But even these reforms were made unconstitutionally by the dictum of the Ministers, without the authority of Parliament, and occasioned smart but ineffectual remonstrances from the House. Every motion for inquiry or censure was borne down by the Ministerial majority.
Here, then, our history of the political transactions of the reign of George III. terminates. That reign really terminated in 1811, with the appointment of the Regency, which continued the ruling power during the remainder of his life. From that date it is really the history of the Regency that we have been prosecuting. But this was necessary to maintain the unity of the narrative of that most unexampled struggle which was involving the very existence of every nation in Europe. Of all this the poor old, blind, and deranged king knew nothing—had no concern with it. The reins of power had fallen from his hands for ever: his "kingdom was taken from him, and given to another." He had lived to witness the rending away of the great western branch of his empire, and the sun of his intellect went down in the midst of that tempest which threatened to lay in ruins every dynasty around him. We have watched and detailed that mighty shaking of the nations to its end. The events of the few remaining years during which George III. lived but did not rule, were of a totally different character and belong to a totally different story. They are occupied by the national distresses consequent on the war, and the efforts for reform, stimulated by these distresses, the first chapter of which did not close till the achievement of the Reform Bill in 1832.Shortly before the Clare election Mr. O'Connell established the order of "Liberators," as a mode of expressing the gratitude and confidence of the people for past services. Its objects were to prevent the formation or continuance of secret societies; to conciliate all classes in one bond of brotherhood and affection, "so that all religious animosities may cease among Irishmen;" to bury in total and eternal oblivion all ancient animosities and reproaches; to prevent feuds and riots, and faction fights at fairs and markets; to promote the collection of a national fund for national purposes; to protect voters from the vengeance of their landlords, and to watch over their registration; "to promote the system of dealing exclusively with the friends of civil and religious liberty, Protestant and Catholic, with the selection, where choice can be made, of Protestant friends, being the most disinterested of the two; also, to prevent, as much as possible, all dealing with the enemies of Ireland, whether Protestant, Orangemen, or Orange Catholics, the worst of all Orangists; to promote the exclusive use of articles the growth and manufacture of Ireland."详情
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