As the woollen manufactures of Ireland had received a check from the selfishness of the English manufacturers, it was sought to compensate the Protestants of Ulster by encouraging the linen manufacture there, which the English did not value so much as their woollen. A Board was established in Dublin in 1711, and one also in Scotland in 1727, for the purpose of superintending the trade, and bounties and premiums on exportation were offered. In these favourable circumstances the trade rapidly grew, both in Ireland and Scotland. In 1750 seven and a half million yards of linen were annually woven in Scotland alone.But they were not then in the position of a beleaguered garrison. Before relief came, they had won a victory that covered them with glory. The troops had been in the highest pluck, and never seemed so happy as when they could encounter any portion of the enemy. In this state of feeling an idea began to take possession of the officers that they were able to capture Mahomed Akbar's camp. A false report had come to the Sirdar, that General Pollock had been beaten back with great slaughter in the Khyber Pass; and in honour of this event his guns fired a royal salute. A rumour also reached the garrison that there had been a revolution at Cabul, and that the enemy was obliged to break up his camp and hasten back to the capital. Whether either or both these reports should prove true, the time seemed to have come for General Sale to strike a blow. A council of war was held; the general would have shrunk from the responsibility of an attack upon the camp; but he was dissuaded by Havelock. Akbar Khan, at the head of 6,000 men, was aware of their approach and ready to receive them. On issuing from the gate, General Sale had ordered Colonel Dennie forward, to attack a small fort, from which the enemy had often molested the garrison. The colonel, at the head of the brave 13th, rushed to the fort; but having entered the outer wall, they found themselves exposed to a murderous fire from the defences of the inner keep. There Colonel Dennie received a mortal wound, a ball passing through his sword-belt. Sale now gave orders for a general attack on the enemy's camp, and in his despatch he thus describes the result:—"The artillery advanced at a gallop, and directed a heavy fire upon the Afghan centre, whilst two of the columns of infantry penetrated the line near the same point, and the third forced back its left from its support on the river, into the stream of which some of his horse and foot were driven. The Afghans made repeated attempts to check our advance by a smart fire of musketry, by throwing forward heavy bodies of horse, which twice threatened the detachments of foot under Captain Havelock, and by opening upon us three guns from a battery screened by a garden wall, and said to have been served under the personal superintendence of the Sirdar. But in a short time they were dislodged from every point of their position, their cannon taken, and their camp involved in a general conflagration. The battle was over, and the enemy in full retreat, by about seven a.m. We have made ourselves masters of two cavalry standards, re-captured four guns lost by the Cabul and Gundamuk forces—the restoration of which to our Government is matter of much honest exultation among the troops—seized and destroyed a great quantity of material and ordnance stores, and burnt the whole of the enemy's tents. In short, the defeat of Mahomed Akbar, in open field, by the troops whom he had boasted of blockading, has been complete and signal. The field of battle was strewed with the bodies of men and horses, and the richness of the trappings of some of the latter seemed to attest that persons of distinction were among the fallen. The loss on our side was remarkably small—seven privates killed, and three officers and fifty men wounded."
LA ROCHE-JAQUELEIN AND THE REPUBLICAN SOLDIERS. (See p. 444.)[See larger version]
Lord North soon found himself briskly assailed in both Lords and Commons. In the former, Chatham was not so happy in amalgamating the parties of Rockingham and Grenville as he hoped; but he had staunch friends and oppositionists in Lords Camden, Shelburne, and Stanhope, and in the Commons he was as warmly supported by Barré, Beckford, Calcraft, and Dunning. On the 2nd of March a motion was also made in the Lords for an Address to the king, praying him to increase the number of seamen in the navy; and it was made to introduce strong censures on the dismissal of able officers for their votes in Parliament. On this occasion Chatham loudly reiterated the old charge of the royal councils being influenced by favourites. "A long train of these practices," he said, "has convinced me that there is something behind the throne greater than the throne itself." He referred to Mazarin, of France; and as Bute was just at this period gone to Turin, he added, "Mazarin abroad is Mazarin still!" It is not to be supposed that Bute had any secret influence whatever at this period; but the people still believed that he had, and that two men especially were his agents with the king—Bradshaw, commonly called "the cream-coloured parasite," and Dyson, both placemen and members of the Commons. Probably, Chatham had a secondary object—to punish these men, who with Rigby, the parasite of the Duke of Bedford, were continually running about endeavouring to depreciate the efforts of the more competent, to whom they were pigmies, saying, "Only another mad motion by the mad Earl of Chatham." Grafton, though now out of office, repelled the insinuation of secret influence with indignation. This charge of Chatham's was followed up, four days after, by a most outspoken remonstrance from the Corporation of London. It was carried up to St. James's on the 14th of March by Beckford, the Lord Mayor, and two hundred and twenty Common Councilmen and other officers. Beckford read the Address, which charged secret counsellors, and a corrupt majority of the House of Commons, with depriving the people of their rights. It declared that the House of Commons did not represent the people, and called upon the king to dissolve it. His Majesty received the Address with manifest signs of displeasure, and the courtiers, who stood round, with actual murmurs and gesticulations of anger.
The great question of the Prince of Wales's debts was brought on by Alderman Newnham, who had been selected by the prince's set for that purpose, to give it more an air of independence. Newnham, on the 20th of April, asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Majesty's Ministers proposed to make any arrangement for this purpose. He praised the prince for his generous conduct in breaking up his establishment to facilitate the payment of his debts; but declared it disgraceful to the nation that he should remain in that condition. Not receiving any satisfactory answer, the alderman gave notice of a motion on the subject for the 4th of May. Pitt then endeavoured to deter the alderman from bringing in the motion, by saying that it was not his duty to do so except by command of the king. Newnham, however, persisted in his motion, and in the course of the debate Mr. Rolle, the member for Devonshire, pointedly alluded to the rumours that were afloat as to the marriage of the prince with Mrs. Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic lady. As a matter of fact, these rumours were true: the prince had been secretly united to her by a Protestant clergyman on December 21st, 1785, in the presence of several witnesses. The marriage placed the prince in this dilemma: by the Act of Settlement, marriage with a Roman Catholic invalidated all claims to the throne; but by the Royal Marriage Act, any marriage contracted without the royal consent was null. He could therefore annul the action of the first Act by pleading the second, but by so doing he would obviously take away the character of his wife. The prince saw a better way out of the difficulty—namely, a denial that the marriage had taken place at all. Fox, completely duped by the mendacious assurances of his royal friend, was induced to get up and contradict the rumour, "by direct authority." The revulsion of feeling in the House was immediate. On the 23rd of May Pitt laid before the members a schedule of the prince's debts, amounting to one hundred and ninety-four thousand pounds. Of this sum a hundred and sixty-one thousand were voted, together with twenty thousand for the completion of Carlton House, and the king was induced to add ten thousand a year from the Civil List to the prince's income. He was thus placed for the time being in affluence, and only had to reckon with Mrs. Fitzherbert. This he did by disavowing Fox, whom he declared to have spoken without authority. But the lady appears to have urged some public explanation. The prince naturally avoided Fox, but sent for Grey, who, however, declined to have anything to do with the dirty business. "Then," said the prince, "Sheridan must say something." Accordingly, a few days later, Sheridan got up and paid a few vapid compliments to Mrs. Fitzherbert, which assuaged her wrath, without exposing the royal liar.
From the manufacturing districts the movement was spreading to the metropolis, where usually there had been but little attention paid to this important subject. The various trades of London began to take part in the preparation of petitions, and to hold meetings. At some of these the working men carried resolutions against the petitions; and they made similar, though unsuccessful, attempts in various towns. But it was remarked that even while refusing to take preliminary measures for procuring relief from the bread-tax, they declared its injustice; in fact, the savage mood to which the prevalent distress was bringing the labouring classes began to manifest itself in a determination to postpone every question save that of their claim to a share of political power. They were not friendly to the middle class; but their ill-will could not be cited even as a proof of their indifference to the continuance of the Corn Law system.
But the event which, far more than the battle of Baylen, showed Buonaparte and the world the sort of war he had provoked, was the siege of Saragossa. This ancient city, the capital of Aragon, stands on the right bank of the Ebro, with a suburb on the left bank connected with it by a bridge. Another river, a small one, called the Cozo, flowed into the Ebro, close under the city walls. The immediate neighbourhood of Saragossa is flat, and, on one side of the river, marshy; its walls were of brick, about ten feet high, old and ruinous, but in places they were only of mud. It might seem that no strong defence of such a place could be made against an army of thirteen thousand men—veterans who had served in Germany and Poland, and who were furnished with battering trains and every means of assault. But the streets of the city were narrow and crooked, the houses strong and lofty, the rooms being almost all vaulted, and therefore almost impervious to shell. The inhabitants were sixty thousand. Saragossa raised the flag of resistance the moment that Murat issued his proclamation on the 20th of May, informing the Spanish people of the abdication of Charles and Ferdinand, and calling on the Spaniards to submit to the new government. On the 16th of June General Lefebvre commenced the attack by driving in the outposts of Palafox, the Spanish General, and establishing strong guards before the gates, but the Spaniards fought him street by street. As fast as they knocked down the walls and scattered the sandbags, they were repaired again by the Spaniards. At this stage of the siege, Augustina, "the Maid of Saragossa," a handsome woman of the lower class, of about twenty-two years of age, arrived on one of the batteries with refreshments, and found every man who had defended it lying slain. The fire was so tremendous that the citizens hesitated to re-man the guns. Augustina sprang forward over the bodies of the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hand of a dead artilleryman, and fired off a six-and-twenty-pounder. She then jumped upon the gun, and vowed never to quit it alive during the siege. Such an example added new courage to the defenders; and the siege proceeded with incessant fury. At this juncture Buonaparte withdrew a part of the troops, ordering Lefebvre to join Bessières with them, and Verdier was left to continue the siege with about ten thousand men. The Saragossans, encouraged by this, and assisted by some regular troops, not only defended the town more vigorously than ever, but sent out detachments to cut off Verdier's supplies. After several determined assaults he raised the siege on the 13th of August.Again, on the night between the 18th and 19th of April, General Gage sent a detachment of about eight hundred grenadiers and light infantry to destroy a dep?t of stores and arms at Concord. They were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn, of the Marines. The alarm was given, fires were kindled, bells rung, guns discharged, and the country was up. The British troops reached Lexington at five o'clock in the morning, and pushed on their light infantry to secure the bridges. They encountered a body of militia under cover of a gun near the road, whom they ordered to retire, and they withdrew in haste.
We must return from victory abroad to discontent at home. On the 28th of January, 1817, the Prince Regent opened the fifth Session of Parliament. In his speech he expressed indignation at "the attempts which had been made to take advantage of the distresses of the country for the purpose of exciting a spirit of sedition and violence;" and he declared himself determined to put down these attempts by stern measures. The seconder of the Address in the Commons had the good sense to believe that the demagogues and their acts would die of themselves. Certainly, if the demagogues had no cause on which to base their efforts, those efforts must have proved fruitless; and the wisdom of Government consisted in seriously inquiring whether there were such causes. To attempt to insure peace by smothering distress is the old remedy of tyrants, and is like heaping fuel on fire to put it out. Whilst this debate was proceeding, a message arrived from the Lords to announce that the Regent, on his return from the House, had been insulted, and some missile thrown through the windows of his carriage. The House agreed upon an Address to the Regent on this event, and then adjourned.Mr. J. F. Maguire, who writes as an eye-witness of the scenes he describes, referring to the spring of 1847, says:—"The famine now raged in every part of the afflicted country, and starving multitudes crowded the thoroughfares of the cities and large towns. Death was everywhere—in the cabin, on the highway, in the garret, in the cellar, and even on the flags or side-paths of the most public streets of the city. In the workhouses, to which the pressure of absolute starvation alone drove the destitute, the carnage was frightful. It was now increasing at prodigious pace. The number of deaths at the Cork workhouse in the last week of January, 1847, was 104. It increased to 128 in the first week in February, and in the second week of that month it reached 164; 396 in three weeks. During the month of April as many as thirty-six bodies were interred in one day in that portion of Father Mathew's cemetery reserved for the free burial of the poor; and this mortality was entirely independent of the mortality in the workhouse. During the same month there were 300 coffins sold in a single street in the course of a fortnight, and these were chiefly required for the supply of a single parish. From the 27th of December, in 1846, to the middle of April, in 1847, the number of human beings that died in the Cork workhouse was 2,130! And in the third week of the following month the free interments in the Mathew cemetery had risen to 277—as many as sixty-seven having been buried in one day. The destruction of human life in other workhouses of Ireland kept pace with the appalling mortality in the Cork workhouse. According to official returns, it had reached in April the weekly average of twenty-five per 1,000 inmates; the actual number of deaths being 2,706 for the week ending the 3rd of April, and 2,613 in the following week. Yet the number of inmates in the Irish workhouses was but 104,455 on the 10th of April, the entire of the houses not having then been completed.
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.The first business in the House of Commons was the re-election of Mr. Shaw Lefevre as Speaker. On the 24th of August the Address was moved by Mr. Mark Philips, and seconded by Mr. John Dundas. Mr. Wortley then moved an amendment similar to the one which had been carried in the House of Lords, in which he went over all the charges against the Government. His motion was seconded by Lord Bruce, and supported by Mr. Disraeli. The debate lasted several nights. Sir Robert Peel delivered a long and very able speech, in which he reviewed the whole policy of the Government. He was answered by Lord John Russell, whose speech closed the debate. The division gave to Sir Robert Peel a majority for which no one seemed prepared. The numbers were—for the Ministerial Address, 269; for the amendment, 360; majority against the Government, 91. On the 30th the resignation of Ministers was announced.详情
Copyright © 2020