INVASION OF CANADA: RED MEN ON THE WAR PATH. (See p. 35.)Tillotson and South were the great authors of sermons of this period. Tillotson was one of the most popular preachers of the time, but may be said to have done more good by his liberal and amiable influence at the head of the Church than by his preaching. There is a solid and genuinely pious character about the sermons of Tillotson which suited the better-trained class of mind of his age, but which would now be deemed rather heavy. South has more life and a more popular style; he was therefore more attractive to the courtiers of his day than to the sober citizens, and he has larded his text with what were then deemed sprightly sallies and dashing phrases, but which are now felt as vulgarisms. Both divines, however, furnished succeeding preachers with much gleaning.
GEORGE II. AT DETTINGEN, 1743.
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Puisaye's mission to London had been successful. Pitt was weak enough to fall into the plan of sending over the Emigrants in our ships—as if any such force could do more against the Republican armies than create fresh miseries to all parties, and bring down worse vengeance on the unfortunate Vendéans and Bretons. Puisaye, with the aid of the Counts d'Hervilly, d'Hector, du Dresnay, Colonel Routhalier, and other Royalist officers, had mustered a most miscellaneous body of three thousand Emigrants, most of whom had been soldiers, and who were accompanied by four hundred artillerymen of Toulon, commanded by Routhalier. Besides these men, of whom the Count d'Artois, for the time, gave the command to Puisaye, intending himself to follow, Puisaye carried over ten thousand pounds, furnished by the Count d'Artois, twenty-seven thousand muskets, six hundred barrels of gunpowder, uniforms for seventeen thousand infantry and four thousand cavalry, as well as provisions for three months. These troops and stores were, after many delays, conveyed in a little squadron of three ships of the line and six frigates, attended by transports, and commanded by Sir John Borlase Warren. They sailed from the Isle of Wight in the beginning of June, another squadron being sent to take up the Emigrant troops in the Channel Islands, and land them at St. Malo, where they were to co-operate with bodies of Chouans. These Chouans were smugglers and bandits, who had led a life of plunder, and had been easily collected into a sort of guerilla force, and their mode of warfare still bore a strong resemblance to their old habits. These men, under their different chiefs, had been excited by Puisaye to combine for a strong resistance to the Republicans. They were dressed in green coats and pantaloons, with red waistcoats. During his absence, Puisaye had deputed the chief command of the Chouan bands to the so-called Baron Cormatin, or Sieur Désoteux, who had assumed the title of Baron de Cormatin from an estate of his wife's. Cormatin was a vain, weak man, and by no means trustworthy, being ready, at any moment, to supersede his chief, Puisaye, and act for himself. If the expedition against St. Malo did not succeed, it was to join Puisaye and his detachment in the Bay of Quiberon; and transports were also sent to the mouth of the Elbe, to fetch thence the Emigrant regiments with the black cockade, and bring them to join Puisaye. If all went well, the Count d'Artois was to follow with British troops. The grand error of the whole was, that the French prince did not put himself at once at the head of the expedition, and see the different squadrons united in the Bay of Quiberon before making the descent, though, even then, it could have effected no great success.This avowal in the royal speech called forth John Wilkes in No. 45 of the North Briton, destined to become a famous number indeed. Wilkes had ceased in the North Briton to employ mere initials when commenting on leading men in Parliament or Government; and he now boldly declared that the speech put into the king's mouth by the Ministers was false in its assertion, that the peace was neither honourable to the Crown nor beneficial to the country. This was regarded as a gross insult to his Majesty, though it was avowedly declared to attack only the Ministry; and on the 30th of April Wilkes was arrested upon a general warrant, that is, a warrant not mentioning him or any one by name, but applying to the authors, printers, and publishers of the paper in question. George Grenville, the new Minister, had, of course, the credit of this proceeding; though it was thought that Bute still secretly directed the movements of Government, and that he or the king might be the real author of the order.
But the agitation of this question produced a strong sensation on the Continent. Buonaparte, who watched every movement of the British Parliament and Government with the deepest anxiety, immediately seized on the discussion as a proof that Great Britain was fast sinking under his Continental system. That system, indeed, was rapidly prostrating the Continent. From all sides complaints had long been pouring in upon him that the suppression of commerce was ruining the great mercantile cities—Hamburg, Bremen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Naples, Genoa, and the other parts of Italy; and that it was diffusing universal poverty and distress. The breach which the Emperor Alexander had made in it, and the determined resistance which the Swedes made to it, had caused him to feel the necessity of relaxing the rigour of his system. But now he took fresh courage. He believed that Great Britain was at her last gasp; that there would speedily be universal rebellion within her from starving citizens; and he held on in his plan, and this proved his ultimate destruction; for it made him all the more determined to coerce Russia, and thus precipitated his fatal campaign against that country.George had, if anything, a narrower intellect than his father, but spoke English fluently, though with a foreign accent—a great advantage over his predecessor. He was small of stature, and subject to fits of violent passion, neither of which qualities was conducive to royal dignity. Nor did the attributes of his mind supply any gain calculated to remedy these defects. He was possessed of courage, which he had proved at the battle of Oudenarde, and displayed again at Dettingen, and he was praised for justice. Perhaps it was a love of order and etiquette rather than justice which distinguished him. For his sort of military precision and love of soldiers he was nicknamed the "Little Captain" by the Jacobites. But the worst trait of his disposition was his avarice. He admitted, says Lord Chesterfield, that he was much more affected by little things than great ones—the certain mark of a little mind; he therefore troubled himself very little about religion, but took it as he found it, without doubt, objection, or inquiry. He hated and despised all literature and intellectual pursuit, arts and sciences, and the professors of them.That night Charles and his chief officers lay at Culloden House, the seat of the able and patriotic Lord-President, Duncan Forbes; but the troops were obliged to lie on the moor amid the heather, which served them both for beds and fuel, the cold being very severe. They were up early in the morning, and formed in order of battle on Drummossie Muir, the part of the heath of Culloden near to Culloden House. No enemy, however, appeared, and there the poor hungry men lay for most of the day with no other food than a biscuit per man. A council of war being called, Lochiel stated this fact as a plea for delay; Lord John Drummond, the Duke of Perth, and others, were of the same opinion; but Lord George Murray declared for making a night march, and surprising the duke's army whilst it would lie, as they supposed, asleep in a drunken debauch. Charles, who had the same idea, but had not yet broached it, embraced Lord George with ardour, declaring it of all things his own wish. The idea was adopted, yet the slightest military wisdom would have shown them the futility of the scheme. The men were in a general state, not only of famine, but of discontent, from the non-payment of their arrears. The night was dark, and the men soon began to stumble through bog and mire, making their march heavy, and causing them to curse and swear. It was soon found that they were so feeble and incapable of walking, even, to say nothing of fighting after a fourteen or fifteen miles' march, on empty stomachs, that it was impossible to make the rear keep up with the van. They had calculated on being at Nairn at two o'clock, but it was that hour before they had all passed Kilravock House, only four miles from the English camp. It was clear that it would be daylight long before they reached Nairn, and they could only get there to be slaughtered in helplessness, for they would be too tired either to fight or run away. It was therefore agreed to return.
Now, though in some obscure and ignorant parts of the country there were clubs which contemplated the foolish idea of seizing on neighbouring properties, the committees must have been very ill-informed to have drawn any such conclusion as to the Hampden Clubs, which were organised for Parliamentary reform under the auspices of Sir Francis Burdett, Major Cartwright, Lord Cochrane, Cobbett, and others. Most of these persons had large properties to be sacrificed by the propagation of any such principles, and the great topics of Cobbett's Register, the organ through which he communicated with the people, were the necessity of refraining from all violence, and of rising into influence by purely political co-operation. But these reports answered the purposes of the Government, and they proceeded to introduce, and succeeded in passing, four Acts for the suppression of popular opinion. The first was to provide severe punishment for all attempts to seduce the soldiers or sailors from their allegiance; the second to give safeguards to the person of the Sovereign, but which did not include the most effectual of all—that of making him beloved; the third was to prevent seditious meetings, and gave great power to the magistrates and police to interfere with any meeting for the mildest Reforms; the fourth was the old measure of suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, which armed the magistrates with the fearful authority to arrest and imprison at pleasure, without being compelled to bring the accused to trial. The last of these Acts was not passed till the 29th of March, and it was to continue in force only till the 1st of July. But in the meantime events took place which occasioned its renewal.The attempt of the Whigs in the Lords to unearth the vituperative dean, though it had failed, stimulated the Tories in the Commons to retaliation. Richard Steele, author of "The Tatler," an eloquent and able writer, had not sought to screen himself from the responsibility of the honest truths in "The Crisis," as Swift had screened himself from the consequences of his untruths, and a whole host of Tories assailed him in the Commons, of which he was a member. Amongst these were Thomas Harley, the brother of Oxford, Foley, the auditor, a relative of Oxford's, and Sir William Wyndham, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They flattered themselves with an easy triumph over him, for Steele, though popular as a writer, was new to the House of Commons, and had broken down in his first essay at speaking there; but he now astonished them by the vigour, wit, and sarcasm of his defence. He was ably supported, too, by Robert Walpole, who had obtained a seat in this new Parliament. Nothing, however, could shield Steele, as Swift's being anonymous had shielded him. Steele was pronounced by the votes of a majority of two hundred and forty-five to one hundred and fifty-two to be guilty of a scandalous libel, and was expelled the House. During the debate Addison had sat by the side of Steele, and, though he was no orator to champion him in person, had suggested continual telling arguments.
CHAPTER III. THE REIGN OF GEORGE II.Attention was now turned to a matter of the highest importance in a commercial, an intellectual, and a moral point of view. The stamp duty on newspapers had been the subject of keen agitation for some months, and newspaper vendors had incurred repeated penalties for the sale of unstamped newspapers; some of them having been not only fined, but imprisoned. A general impression prevailed that such an impost was impolitic, if not unjust, and that the time had come when the diffusion of knowledge must be freed from the trammels by which it had been so long restrained. A deputation, consisting of Dr. Birkbeck, Mr. Hume, Colonel Thompson, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Grote, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Brotherton, Mr. Wallace, and Mr. Buckingham, having, on the 11th of February, waited upon Lord Melbourne, to ask for an entire abolition of the stamp on newspapers, he promised to give his most serious attention to the matter; and he kept his word, for on the 15th of the next month the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought the subject before Parliament, and announced the intentions of Government with regard to it. He stated that it was proposed to revise the whole of the existing law respecting stamp duties, first by consolidating into one statute the 150 Acts of Parliament over which the law was at present distributed; secondly, by the apportionment of the various rates on a new principle—namely, by the simple and uniform rule of making the price of the stamp in every case correspond to the pecuniary value involved in the transaction for which it is required. The effect of this change would be to reduce the stamp duty upon indentures of apprenticeship, bills of lading, and many others of the more common instruments, and to increase it upon mortgages and conveyances of large amounts of property. It was intimated that the proposed Consolidation Act would contain no less than 330 sections. With regard to the stamp on newspapers, then fourpence with discount, it was proposed to reduce it to one penny without discount. This would be a remission of a proportion, varying according to the price of the newspaper, of between two-thirds and three-fourths of the tax. To this remission Parliament assented, and the illicit circulation of unstamped papers was in consequence abandoned. Some of the members very reasonably objected to any stamp whatever on newspapers; but the time was not yet come when Government would venture entirely to remove it, although the advantages which must necessarily arise from such a proceeding could not but have been foreseen. It was considered unfair that the public at large should pay for the carriage of newspapers by post; and it does not seem to have been remembered that, as only a portion of them would be transmitted in this way, an injustice would be committed by demanding payment for all. The difficulty of the case was, however, in due time, easily surmounted; and political knowledge was, by the change even then made, in a great degree exempted from taxation—a good preparation for the time, which was not very far off, when a newspaper of a high order might be obtained, even for the reduced price of the stamp.
In the House of Lords on the 24th of January, 1721, five directors who had been called before them were arrested and their papers seized. By what had been drawn from them, it appeared that large sums had been given to people in high places to procure the passing of the South Sea Bill. Lord Stanhope rose and expressed his indignation at such practices, and moved that any transfer of stock for the use of any person in the Administration without a proper consideration was a notorious and dangerous corruption. The motion was seconded by Lord Townshend, and carried unanimously. The examination being continued on the 4th of February, Sir John Blunt refused to answer their lordships, on the plea that he had already given his evidence before the Secret Committee. A vehement debate arose out of this difficulty, during which the Duke of Wharton, a most profligate young nobleman, and president of the Hell-fire Club, made a fierce attack on Stanhope, accused him of fomenting the dissensions between the king and his son, and compared him to Sejanus, who had sown animosities in the family of Tiberius, and rendered his reign hateful to the Romans. Stanhope, in replying to this philippic, was so transported by his rage, that the blood gushed from his nostrils. He was carried from the House, and soon afterwards expired.Whilst the English Court was distracted by these dissensions, the Emperor was endeavouring to carry on the war against France by himself. He trusted that the death of Queen Anne would throw out the Tories, and that the Whigs coming in would again support his claims, or that the death of Louis himself might produce a change as favourable to him in France; he trusted to the genius of Eugene to at least enable him to maintain the war till some such change took place. But he was deceived. The French, having him alone to deal with, made very light of it. They knew that he could neither bring into the field soldiers enough to cope with their arms, nor find means to maintain them. They soon overpowered Eugene on the Rhine, and the Emperor being glad to make peace, Eugene and Villars met at Rastadt to concert terms. They did not succeed, and separated till February; but met again at the latter end of the month, and, on the 3rd of March, 1714, the treaty was signed. By it the Emperor retained Freiburg, Old Briesach, Kehl, and the forts in the Breisgau and Black Forest; but the King of France kept Landau, Strasburg, and all Alsace. The Electors of Bavaria and Cologne were readmitted to their territories and dignities as princes of the Empire. The Emperor was put in possession of the Spanish Netherlands, and the King of Prussia was permitted to retain the high quarters of Guelders.详情
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