类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-31 12:18:38


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The debate lasted four nights, and was kept up with the greatest spirit and vigour. The division was taken between three and four o'clock in the morning, when it was found that in a House of 611 members the numbers were—for the motion, 322; against it, 289; leaving the Government in a minority of 33. A Cabinet Council was held on the following day, when it was unanimously resolved to await the result of the debate on the Irish Tithe question on the same evening. Lord John Russell, on the report of the committee being brought up, moved the following resolution:—"That it is the opinion of this House that no measure upon the subject of tithes in Ireland can lead to a satisfactory and final adjustment which does not embody the principle contained in the foregoing resolution." He referred to the principle of the appropriation clause. On this an animated debate followed, which lasted till one o'clock in the morning. When the House divided,[385] it was found that the resolution was carried by a majority of twenty-seven; the numbers being—ayes, 285; noes, 258. As these divisions took place on a question of vital policy, Sir Robert Peel had no alternative but to resign. Accordingly, he announced his decision in the House next day. After the extraordinary efforts that he had made, and considering the circumstances in which he had been called upon to assume the reins of Government, it must have been very painful to him to be thus cut short in his patriotic labours; but he bore the disappointment with admirable spirit, and retired from his position so gracefully that he was warmly cheered from all parts of the House.

Gloomy as was the Pretender's fortune, it was, nevertheless, infinitely better than that of thousands who had ventured their lives and fortunes in his cause. There were not many prisoners in Scotland, but the clans which had sided with the English Government were hounded on to hunt down those who had been out with the Pretender amongst their hills, and they were hunted about by the English troops under the guidance of these hostile clans; and where they themselves were not to be found, their estates suffered by troops being quartered in their houses and on their lands. In England the prisons of Chester, Liverpool, and other northern towns were crowded by the inferior class of prisoners from the surrender of Preston. Some half-pay officers were singled out as deserters, and shot by order of a court-martial; but the common soldiers were eventually acquitted or let off with light sentences.

This was going to the very heart of the question with that clear, searching sense for which Chatham was so distinguished. Lord Chancellor Camden, who had himself a strong and honest intellect, but not the moral courage of Chatham, had retained the Great Seal, though disapproving of the measures of his colleagues. Emboldened by the words of his friend, he now rose and expressed his regret for having so long suppressed his feelings. But, he added, "I will do so no longer; I will openly and boldly speak my sentiments. I now proclaim to the world that I entirely coincide in the opinions expressed by my noble friend, whose presence again reanimates us, touching this unconstitutional and illegal vote of the House of Commons.... By this violent and tyrannical conduct Ministers have alienated the minds of the people from his Majesty's Government—I had almost said from his Majesty's person!" After these words Camden could no longer remain Lord Chancellor.[See larger version]


The affairs of Ireland had been entrusted in the House of Commons to the vigorous hands of Mr. Stanley (afterwards Earl of Derby), who had been sent over as Chief Secretary with Lord Anglesey, and whom, from his firmness in administering the law, Mr. O'Connell denounced as "scorpion Stanley." On the 24th of March Mr. Stanley moved the first reading of the Bill to amend the representation of Ireland. A long and a violent debate ensued, in which Ireland was not so much thought of as the vast general interests involved in the impending revolution. In the meantime Ministers had done what they could to make the king comfortable with regard to his revenue. They proposed £510,000 a year for the Civil List, instead of £498,480, as recommended by the committee, while the liberal jointure of £100,000 a year was settled upon Queen Adelaide. This gratified his Majesty in the highest degree, and reconciled him to the dissolution, his decision being hastened by the attempt of the Tories to stop supplies. When the royal carriages were not ready to take him to the House of Lords, the king said, "Then call a hackney coach."

Sir R. Musgrove, made receiver of customs, with £1,200 a year.The preparations for invasion turned the attention of the British Government to ports where it was supposed the troops would be embarked. Ostend was regarded with particular suspicion, and Sir Home Popham was sent in May with a small squadron, conveying a thousand men, under Colonel Coote, to destroy the ships and sluices of the Bruges canal there. The troops were landed, and did their work, but found themselves unable to regain the ships from the violence of the wind and the surf, and were surrounded and compelled to surrender. In the autumn of this year Admiral Duckworth sailed for Minorca, and landed eight hundred men, under Sir Charles Stuart, who readily made themselves masters of the island.

Earl Grey was not slow to avail himself of these exciting topics in order to point the lightning of popular discontent against the head of the Government. "We ought," he said, "to learn wisdom from what is passing before our eyes; and, when the spirit of liberty is breaking out all round, it is our first duty to secure our own institutions by introducing into them a temperate reform. I have been a Reformer all my life; and on no occasion have I been inclined to go farther than I am prepared to go now, if an opportunity were to offer. But I do not found the title to demand it on abstract right. We are told that every man who pays taxes—nay, that every man arrived at the years of discretion—has a right to vote for representatives. That right I utterly deny. The right of the people is to have a good Government, one that is calculated to secure their privileges and happiness; and if that is incompatible with universal, or very general suffrage, then the limitation, and not the extension, is the true right of the people."[See larger version]



The destruction of the French magazines delayed their operations till midsummer, when Broglie advanced from Cassel, and the Prince Soubise from the Rhine, to give Ferdinand battle. On the march they fell in with Sporken, and this time defeated one of his posts, and took nineteen pieces of cannon and eight hundred prisoners. The Allies awaited them in front of the river Lippe, and between that river and the Aest, near the village of Kirch-Denkern. The French were routed at all points, having lost, according to the Allies, five thousand men, whilst they themselves had only lost one thousand five hundred. The effect of the victory, however, was small.Prussia, it might be supposed, would escape the invasion of Revolutionary principles in 1848. Great hopes had been excited on the accession of Frederick William IV. to his father's throne. Yet it was evident to close observers of the signs of the times that a spirit of sullen discontent was brooding over the population. There was a feeling that their amiable and accomplished Sovereign had disappointed them. He proved to be excessively sensitive to the slightest infringement of his prerogative, and he abhorred the idea of representative bodies, who might oppose constitutional barriers to his own absolute will. Hence, there grew up sensibly a mutual feeling of distrust between him and the people, and the natural effect on his part was a change from the leniency and liberality of his earlier years to a more austere temper, while a tedious, inactive, and undecided course of policy wore out the patience of those who expected a more constitutional system. Consequently, although the administration of the country was free from any taint of corruption, and was, on the whole, moderate and just, the revolutionary earthquake of 1848 shook the kingdom of Prussia to its very foundations.

In the House of Commons, on the same evening (the 30th of June), Sir Robert Peel moved an answer to the Address to the same effect. Lord Althorp, acting in concert with Lord Grey, moved the adjournment of the House for twenty-four hours to allow time for consideration. The discussion in the Commons, however, was not without interest, as it touched upon constitutional questions of vital importance. Mr. Brougham did his part with admirable tact. He dwelt upon the danger of allowing the people to learn that Government could go on, and every exigency of the common weal be provided for, without a king. The Act which had appointed the late Prince Regent had been passed without the Royal sanction, the king being insane, and no provision having been made to meet the calamity that occurred. The Act of Parliament was called a law, but it was no law; it had not even the semblance of a law; and the power which it conveyed was in those days called the phantom of royal authority. The fact, indeed, was that the tendency of that Act of Parliament, more than any other Act that had ever been passed by the legislature, was to inflict a blow on the royal authority; to diminish its influence and weight; to bring it into disrepute with, and to lessen it in the estimation of, the people at large; and that fact was in itself a sufficient comment upon the propriety of doing an act of legislation without having the Crown to sanction it. That, he said, was his first great and principal reason for proceeding with this question at once. He showed that one of the greatest advantages connected with the monarchical form of government was the certainty of the succession, and the facile[314] and quiet transmission of power from one hand to another, thus avoiding the inconveniences and dangers of an interregnum. The question was rendered more difficult and delicate by the fact that the Duke of Cumberland, the most unpopular man in the country, was the eldest of the remaining brothers of the king, in the event of whose death he would be Heir Apparent to the Throne of Great Britain, and King of Hanover. In the case supposed, the question would arise whether the next heir to the Throne was of right regent, should the Sovereign be incompetent, from infancy, insanity, or any other cause. If that right were established, then the regent, during the minority of the Princess Victoria, would be a foreign monarch, and one who was utterly detested by the mass of the people of Britain. Such a question, arising at a moment when the spirit of revolution was abroad, might agitate the public mind to a degree that would be perilous to the Constitution. The contingencies were sufficiently serious, therefore, to justify the efforts of Lord Grey and Mr. Brougham to have the regency question settled before the dissolution. They may not have been sorry to have a good popular case against the Government, but their conduct was not fairly liable to the imputation of faction or mere personal ambition. "Can we," asked Mr. Brougham, "promise ourselves a calm discussion of the subject when there should be an actual accession of the Duke of Cumberland to the Throne of Hanover, and Parliament is suddenly called upon to decide upon his election to the regency, to the supreme rule in this country, to which, according to the principle of Mr. Pitt, he has a paramount claim, although he has not a strict legal right?" The motion for adjournment was lost by a majority of 46—the numbers being, for it, 139; against it, 185. After this debate, on the motion for adjournment, Lord Althorp moved the amendment to the Address, almost in the words of Lord Grey in the other House. Sir Robert Peel stated that he meant no disrespect by abstaining from further discussion, which would be wasting the time of the House, by repeating the arguments he had already employed. Mr. Brougham, however, took the opportunity of launching out against the Ministry in a strain of bitter invective, of sarcasm vehement even to fierceness.On the 28th of September the combined army of French and Americans came in sight of York Town, and encamped about two miles from the outworks. The next morning they extended themselves towards the left of Cornwallis, but cautiously; and the English pickets slowly retired within the outer lines at their approach. That evening Cornwallis received a despatch from Sir Henry Clinton, dated September 24th, which gave the cheering expectation that he was duly sensible of the imminence of the danger, and of his responsibility. He said:—"At a meeting of the general and flag officers held this day, it is determined that above five thousand men, rank and file, shall be embarked on board the king's ships, and the joint exertions of the navy and army made in a few days to relieve you, and afterwards to co-operate with you. The fleet consists of twenty-three sail of the line, three of which are three-deckers. There is every reason to hope that we start on the 5th of October." On this promising intimation of speedy aid, Cornwallis immediately drew in his small force from the extended outworks, and concentrated them within the entrenchments round the town. Undoubtedly it was a measure calculated to save much life, which must have been lost in defending outworks too widely extended for the enclosed force; but it encouraged the Americans, who did not expect to gain them thus easily. Two thousand men took up their ground before Gloucester. Round York Town itself Washington, Rochambeau, Lafayette, and St. Simon concentrated their forces. On the night of the 1st of October, the French on the right and the Americans on the left drew nearer, and commenced breaking ground. Six days were then spent in bringing from the ships fifty pieces of cannon, some of them very heavy, ammunition, and other military stores; in fact, as much preparation was made for carrying this single post as if it had been a regular and first-rate fortress. On the night of the 6th of October the French and Americans began casting up their first parallel within six hundred yards of Cornwallis's lines. By the 9th of October their trenches and batteries were completed, and that afternoon they opened a tremendous fire on the town. Cornwallis replied to them with vigour,[283] but he found many of his guns on the left silenced, and his works greatly damaged. On the night of the 11th the enemy began their second parallel within three hundred yards of the lines. In its progress, for three days, Cornwallis committed much havoc amongst them by opening fresh embrasures for guns, and pouring an incessant shower upon them of balls and shells. Two redoubts on the left flank of the British more particularly annoyed them, and Washington determined to carry these by storm. Of course they were carried, and their guns then turned on York Town.



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