Whilst the French armies had been carrying bloodshed and misery into the countries around them, their brethren at home had been equally busy in pushing forward those mutual hatreds which appeared likely to end in the extermination of the whole race of revolutionists. The Girondists being destroyed, new divisions showed themselves in those who had hitherto been allies—Robespierre and his coadjutors. Hébert, Chaumette, Clootz, Ronsin, and others, began to raise their heels against their chief, and their chief doomed every one of them to the guillotine. His most important victim was Danton, a man by no means contemptible (guillotined April 5th, 1794).The very first act was to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act for a year. To punish the Catholics and Non-jurors, who were all regarded as implicated in this conspiracy, Walpole proposed to raise one hundred thousand pounds by a tax on their estates. A Bill of Pains and Penalties was passed against Atterbury, and he was compelled to go into banishment. On the 18th of June Atterbury was put on board a man-of-war and conducted to Calais. As he landed there, he was told that Bolingbroke had received the king's pardon, and was just quitting Calais for England; and the Bishop said, with a smile, "Then I am exchanged."
This was the fatal year in which Buonaparte, led on by the unsleeping ambition of being the master of all Europe, and so of all the world, made his last great attempt—that of subduing Russia to his yoke—and thus wrecked himself for ever. From the very day of the Treaty of Tilsit, neither he nor Alexander of Russia had put faith in each other. Buonaparte felt that the Czar was uneasy under the real dictatorship of France which existed under the name of alliance. He knew that he was most restless under the mischief accruing from the stipulated embargo on British commerce, and which, from the ruin which it must bring on the Russian merchants, and the consequent distress of the whole population, might, in fact, cause him to disappear from the throne and from life as so many of his ancestors had done. Timber, pitch, potash, hemp, tallow, and other articles were the very staple of Russia's trade, and the British were the greatest of all customers for these. The landed proprietors derived a large income from these commodities, and they asked why they were to perish that Buonaparte might destroy Great Britain, whence they drew their principal wealth. He knew that Alexander looked with deep suspicion on his giving the Duchy of Warsaw to the King of Saxony, a descendant of the royal family of Poland. To this act was added the stipulations for a free military road and passage for troops from Saxony to Warsaw; and also that France should retain Dantzic till after a maritime peace. These things seemed to point to the re-establishment of the kingdom of Poland, and the demand, at some future day, for the surrender of the rest of the Polish territory by Russia. So the Poles seemed to interpret these matters, for they had, since these arrangements, flocked to his standard, and were fighting Buonaparte's battles in Spain. To these causes of offence and alarm, which Alexander did not hesitate to express, and which Napoleon refused to dissipate, were added the seizure of the Duchy of Oldenburg, guaranteed to Alexander's near relative, and the marriage alliance with Austria. Alexander, on this last occasion, said—"Then my turn comes next;" and in anticipation of it he had been strengthening himself by a secret league with Sweden.
Amongst the fine arts, the first to which we direct attention, that is, music, was warmly patronised by the Royal Family, and therefore maintained the status which it had acquired in the last reign, though it produced no great original genius. Church music continued to be cultivated, and the anthems of Kent, published in 1773, and those of Nares, published in 1778, were of much merit. To these we may add the services and anthems of Doctors Hayes, Dupuis, Arnold, Cooke, Ayrton, and of Mr. Battishill. The "Shunamite Woman," an oratorio by Arnold, appeared at a later date, as well as the anthems and services of Dr. Whitfield.RETREAT OF THE HIGHLANDERS FROM PERTH. (See p. 31.)
The feeling of humanity that gained ground among the masses powerfully affected the middle classes. The consequence was that the state of public feeling produced by the practical inculcation of Christianity and the diffusion of knowledge compelled our legislature to change its system, despite the obstinate resistance of Lords Eldon and Ellenborough, hardened by a long official familiarity with the destructive operation of legal cruelty. How fearful the amount of that destruction was we may infer from the calculation of Mr. Redgrave, of the Home Office, who stated that had the offences tried in 1841 been tried under the laws of 1831, the eighty capital sentences would have been increased to 2,172. Mr. Redgrave gave the following succinct history of the mitigation of the criminal code during the reigns of George IV. and William IV., in a series of enactments which were extorted from a reluctant Legislature by society, humanised through the education of the masses:—In 1826, 1827, and 1828 Sir Robert Peel carried several very important Bills for the consolidation and amendment of the criminal laws, but these Bills did not abolish capital punishments. That statesman, indeed, made it a matter of boast that he did not constitute any new capital felonies, and pointed out an instance in which he had abated the capital punishment by increasing from 40s. to ￡5, the sum of which the theft in a dwelling-house constituted a capital offence, and by widening the technical description of a dwelling. In 1830 Sir Robert Peel brought in his Forgery Bill, and petitions were poured into the House from all quarters against the re-enactment of the severe penalties for this offence. Sir James Mackintosh again took up the subject, and moved that the capital punishment be struck out from the Bill. He was unsuccessful; but in the last stage of the measure Mr. Spring-Rice was enabled to defeat the Ministry by a majority of 151 to 138, and to remove the sentence of death from the Bill. It was, however, restored by the Lords, and the Bill, as altered, was suffered to pass the House of Commons at the end of the Session. In 1832 two most important Bills for abolishing capital punishments were passed. Mr. Ewart, assisted by the Government, was able to carry a Bill abolishing the punishment of death in cases of horse, sheep, and cattle stealing, and larceny in a dwelling-house. He was opposed by Sir Robert Peel, and an amendment was made in the Lords, subjecting these offences to the fixed penalty of transportation for life. At the same time, Ministers brought in a Bill for abolishing capital punishment in cases of forgery. The Bill was introduced into the Commons by the Attorney-General, and into the House of Lords by the Lord Chancellor. It passed into law, but an amendment was made in the House of Lords, under protest of the Lord Chancellor, exempting the forgery of wills and powers of attorney to transfer stock, which offences were left capital. In 1833 Mr. Leonard carried his Bill for abolishing capital punishment for housebreaking, executions for which offence were continued down to 1830. In 1834 Mr. Ewart carried a Bill for abolishing capital punishment for returning from transportation, and in the following year for sacrilege and letter-stealing. This was the state of the criminal law when Lord John Russell brought in Bills for its mitigation, founded on the report of a committee which Government had appointed. The little progress which Sir S. Romilly and Sir J. Mackintosh had made in opposition to the Governments of their day will be seen by the foregoing sketch, as well as the extensive and salutary changes which followed. Lord John Russell's Bills effected an extensive abolition of the sentence of death, and a mitigation of the secondary punishments. He was enabled to abolish capital punishments in all cases but murder and attempts to murder where dangerous bodily injuries were effected; burglary and robbery when attended with violence or wounds; arson of dwelling-houses where life was endangered; and six other offences of very rare occurrence. The number of capital convictions in 1829 was 1,385; and in 1834, three years after the extensive abolition of capital punishments, the number was reduced to 480.But though the 21st of January was to be the day of the grand attack on the Ministry, the battle was not deferred till then. Every day was a field-day, and the sinking Minister was dogged step by step, his influence weakened by repeated divisions, and his strength worn out by the display of the inevitable approach of the catastrophe. The first decided defeat that he suffered was in the election of the Chairman of Committees. The Ministerial candidate, Giles Earle, was thrown out by a majority of two hundred and forty-two to two hundred and thirty-eight, and the Opposition candidate, Dr. Lee, was hailed by a shout that rent the House. Other close divisions followed. The fall of Walpole was now certain, and he would have consulted both his dignity and comfort in resigning at once. This was the earnest advice of his friends, but he had been too long accustomed to power to yield willingly. He was oppressed with a sense of his defeats, and the insolence of enemies whom he had so long calmly looked down upon without fear. He was growing old and wanted repose, but he still clung convulsively to his authority, though he had ceased to enjoy it.
Whilst blood was thus flowing by the guillotine, not only in Paris, but, under the management of Jacobin Commissioners, in nearly all the large towns of France, especially Lyons, Bordeaux, and Nantes, a terrible work of extermination was going on against the royalists of La Vendée. The simple people of that province, primitive in their habits and sincere in their faith, desired no Republic. Their aristocracy, for the most part of only moderate possessions, lived amongst them rather like a race of kindly country squires than great lords, and the people were accordingly cordially attached to them. In March of the year 1793 the Convention called for a conscription of three hundred thousand, and the Vendéans, to a man, refused to serve under a Government that had persecuted both their priests and their seigneurs. This was the certain signal of civil war. Troops were ordered to march into La Vendée, and compel obedience. Then the peasants flew to arms, and called on the nobles and priests to join them. At first they were entirely successful, but matters changed when Kleber was put in practical command.Windischgr?tz was, meanwhile, diligently preparing for the conquest of Hungary, with an army which numbered 65,000 men, with 260 guns. The full details of the campaign, however, can hardly be said to belong to English history. It is enough to say here that while G?rgei more than held him in check at the outset of the campaign, Bem, a Pole, had been conducting the war in the east of Hungary with the most brilliant success. He was there encountered by the Austrian General Puchner, who had been shut up in the town of Hermannstadt with 4,000 men and eighteen guns, and Bem succeeded in completely cutting off his communications with the main Austrian army. In these circumstances, the inhabitants of Hermannstadt and Kronstadt, on the Russian frontier, both menaced with destruction by the hourly increasing forces under Bem's command, earnestly implored the intervention of Russia. Puchner summoned a council of war, which concurred in the prayer for intervention. For this the Czar was prepared, and a formal requisition having been made by Puchner, General Luders, who had received instructions from St. Petersburg, ordered two detachments of his troops to cross the frontier, and occupy the two cities above mentioned. Nevertheless Bem defeated the combined Russian and Austrian army, and shortly afterwards G?rgei won an important battle at Isaszeg.
On the 20th of October, 1848, Chuttur Singh and his son, Shere Singh, raised the standard of revolt in the Punjab, and soon appeared at the head of 30,000 men. In November Lord Gough encountered them with 20,000. At Ramnuggur, in attacking the position of the enemy, his men were led into an ambuscade, and were repulsed with tremendous loss. The contest was again renewed on the 13th of January, 1849, when the Sikhs were also very strongly posted in a jungle with 40,000 men and sixty-two guns. Near the village of Chillianwallah a desperate battle was fought, and had lasted for some time when the 14th Light Dragoons, on being ordered to charge, turned and fled through our Horse Artillery, upsetting several guns, and causing such confusion that the Sikh cavalry, promptly availing themselves of the advantage, made a charge, and cut down seventy of our gunners, capturing six guns and five colours. The result was a drawn battle, but the loss on our side was fearful—twenty-seven officers and 731 men killed, and sixty-six officers and 1,446 men wounded. This terrible reverse produced a profound sensation at home. It was ascribed to bad generalship, and there were loud cries for the recall of Lord Gough. The Duke of Wellington felt that the case was so desperate that he called upon Sir Charles Napier to go out and take the command, though suffering under a mortal disease, using the memorable expression, "If you don't go, I must." Sir Charles went immediately. But before he arrived, Lord Gough, on the 21st of February, had retrieved his reputation, and covered the British arms with fresh glory by winning, in magnificent style, the great battle of Goojerat, with the loss of only ninety-two killed and 682 wounded. Mooltan had been besieged again in December. During the bombardment the principal magazine was blown up. It contained 16,000 lbs. of powder: 800 persons were killed or wounded by the explosion, and many buildings destroyed. But Moolraj, though he saw ruined in a moment a work which it cost him five years to construct, still held out. On the 2nd of January the city was stormed, but the citadel remained. Though of immense strength, it yielded to artillery, and Moolraj, with his garrison of nearly 4,000 men, surrendered at discretion.The success of the Scottish courts in sentencing Reformers encouraged the Ministers to try the experiment in England; but there it did not succeed so well. First, one Eaton, a bookseller, of Bishopgate, was indicted for selling a seditious libel, called "Politics for the People; or, Hog's-wash." On the 2nd of April, Thomas Walker, a merchant of Manchester—was, with six others, indicted at the Lancaster assizes; but Eaton, in London, and these Manchester men, were acquitted. Rather irritated than discouraged by these failures, Pitt and Dundas made a swoop at the leaders of the Corresponding Society, and the Society for Constitutional Information in London; and, in the month of May, Horne Tooke, John Thelwall—a celebrated political lecturer—Thomas Hardy, Daniel Adams, and the Rev. Jeremiah Joyce—private secretary to the Earl of Stanhope, and tutor to his son, Lord Mahon—were arrested and committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason. No sooner was this done, than, on the 12th of May, Dundas announced to the House of Commons that, in consequence of the Government having been informed of seditious practices being carried on by the above-named societies, they had seized their papers, and he now demanded that a committee of secrecy should be appointed to examine these papers. This was agreed to; and on the 16th Pitt brought up the report of this committee, which was so absurd in its results that nothing but the most blind political desperation could have induced the Government to make it known. The committee found nothing amongst these papers but the reports of the societies since the year 1791, which had been annually published and made known to every one. Yet on this miserable evidence Pitt called for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and it was accordingly granted, Burke—who now seems to have grown quite politically mad by dwelling on the horrors of the French Revolution—believing it the only measure to insure the safety of the country. Windham and others asserted that the mere suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act was hardly sufficient: there required yet more stringent measures. Similar language was held in the Lords, but did not pass without some severe comments from the Duke of Bedford, and the Lords Stanhope, Lauderdale, and Albemarle, who declared that Ministers, instead of suppressing, were creating a veritable reign of terror. The Bill was, notwithstanding, readily passed; and on the 13th of June an Address was carried to his Majesty, expressing the determination of their lordships to punish the men who had been concerned in the so-called conspiracy. Fox and Lambton condemned this course energetically in the Commons, declaring that, if there were any conspiracy, the ordinary laws and tribunals were amply sufficient for their punishment. Fox moved that all that part of the Address which expressed a conviction of the existence of a conspiracy should be struck out, but it was carried entire; and such was the alarm of the country at the reverses of the Allies on the Continent and the successes of France, that far more violent measures would have been readily assented to.NEW ORLEANS.
Sir Robert Peel then rose. He said that the immediate cause which had led to the dissolution of the Government was "that great and mysterious calamity which caused a lamentable failure in an article of food on which great numbers of the people in this part of the United Kingdom and still larger numbers in the sister kingdom depended mainly for their subsistence." But he added, "I will not assign to that cause too much weight. I will not withhold the homage which is due to the progress of reason, and to truth, by denying that my opinions on the subject of Protection have undergone a change." This announcement was received in profound silence from the Ministerial benches, but with triumphant cheering from the Opposition. Protection, he said, was not a labourer's question. High prices did not produce high wages, nor vice versa. In the last three years, with low prices and abundance of food, wages were comparatively high, and labour was in demand. In the three years preceding, with high prices and scarcity, wages were low and employment was scarce. Experience thus proved that wages were ruled by abundance of capital and demand for labour, and did not vary with the price of provisions. Again, increased freedom of trade was favourable to the prosperity of our commerce. In three scarce and dear years, namely, from 1839 to 1841, our foreign exports fell off from ￡53,000,000 in value to ￡47,000,000. But in three years of reduction of duties and low prices, namely, from 1842 to 1844, the value of our exports rose from ￡47,000,000 to ￡58,000,000. Even deducting the amount of the China trade, a similar result was shown. Nor was the reduction in the customs duties unfavourable to the revenue. In 1842 there was an estimated loss of ￡1,500,000; in 1843 a smaller one of ￡273,000; but in 1845 there was a reduction at an estimated loss to the revenue of no less than ￡2,500,000. The total amount of the various reductions effected in three years exceeded ￡4,000,000; and many of the duties were totally abolished; the loss, therefore, not being compensated by any increased consumption. Had ￡4,000,000 been lost to the revenue? He believed that on the 5th of April next the revenue would be found to be more buoyant than ever. Sir Robert Peel referred to other proofs of prosperity resulting from reduced import duties, and then adverted to his own position, and declared that "he would not hold office on a servile tenure."
The interval of repose now obtained continued through the winter, and late into the spring of 1813. It was greatly required by the British army. Lord Wellington stated that the long campaign, commencing in January, had completely tired down man and horse; that they both required thorough rest and good food, and that the discipline of the army, as was always the case after a long campaign, needed restoration; and he set himself about to insure these ends, not only in the troops immediately under his own eye, but in those under Maitland and his successors in the south. He had, even during his own retreat, written to Maitland, encouraging him to have confidence in his men, assuring him that they would repay it by corresponding confidence in themselves. Lord William Bentinck, however, ordered Maitland to return to Sicily with his army in October; Lord Wellington decidedly forbade it. Maitland therefore resigned, and was succeeded by General Clinton, who found himself completely thwarted in his movements by the governor of Alicante, who treated the allies much more like enemies, and would not allow the British to have possession of a single gate of the town, keeping them more like prisoners than free agents. At the beginning of December a fresh reinforcement of four thousand men, under General Campbell, arrived from Sicily, and Campbell took the chief command; but he did not venture to take any decisive movement against the French, but waited for Lord William Bentinck himself, who now determined to come over, but did not arrive till July, 1813. Whilst Campbell remained inactive from this cause, his motley foreign troops continued to desert, and many of them went and enlisted with Suchet.In Italy, on the contrary, France sustained severe losses. The Austrians, liberated from their Prussian foe by the peace of Dresden, threw strong forces into Italy, and soon made themselves masters of Milan, Guastalla, Parma, and Piacenza. On the 17th of June they gave the united French and Spaniards a heavy defeat near the last-named city, entered Genoa in September, and made preparations to pursue them into Provence.The whole army now crossed the river at leisure, and marched towards Lahore. Lord Hardinge issued a proclamation, in which he stated that the war was the result of the wanton and unprovoked incursion of the Sikhs; that the British Government wanted no acquisition of territory, but only security for the future, indemnity for the expenses of the war, and the establishment of a government at Lahore, which should afford a guarantee against such aggressions in the time to come. The Ranee and her durbar, or council, now saw the necessity of prompt submission, which was tendered by plenipotentiaries sent to the British camp, who threw the whole blame of the war on the uncontrollable troops. They were well received by the Governor-General, and a treaty was without difficulty concluded on the 15th of February at a place called Kussoor. By the terms of the treaty, all the territory lying between the river Beas and the Sutlej was ceded to the British Government. The sum of one million sterling was to be paid for the expenses of the war; but the sum was found too heavy, and instead Gholab Singh was rewarded for his fidelity to the British by the grant of a large tract of territory between the Beas and the Indus. Peace having been thus concluded, the young Maharajah, Dhuleep Singh, was received by the Governor-General at his camp with Oriental pomp; and on the 22nd of February Sir Henry Hardinge entered Lahore at the head of his victorious army, taking possession of the gates, the citadel, and the Royal palace.
Dumouriez had no sooner come into office than he laid down a great military plan. He proposed that wherever France extended to what he called her natural limits—that is, to the Rhine, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the sea—they should act only on the defensive; but in the Netherlands, where the territory did not extend to the Rhine, and in Savoy, where it did not extend to the Alps, there they should act on the offensive, and carry France to what he called its boundaries by the genuine laws of nature. This plan was adopted. The Austrians had only thirty thousand men in Belgium, and Lafayette was to make a dash on that division of the Netherlands. From Namur he was to push on for Liége, which would make him complete master of the country, and was to be strengthened by a reinforcement of thirty thousand infantry, so that he would be seventy-five thousand strong before the Emperor could advance to his attack. Further, while Lafayette was marching from Givet on Namur, a division of his army of ten thousand men, under General Biron, was to march upon Mons, where Beaulieu, the Austrian general, was posted with only two thousand five hundred men. On the same day Major-General Theobald Dillon was to advance with three thousand six hundred men from Lille, in Tournay, and to surprise that place. The French calculated on the support of the Belgians who had been strongly inoculated with the spirit of the Revolution. The two smaller divisions were punctual in their movements; but Lafayette, instead of marching simultaneously, remained strengthening himself in his position at Givet. General Biron set out from Valenciennes, and, on the 29th of April, crossed the Belgian frontiers, and the next day marched towards Mons. But no sooner did the French cavalry come in sight of some light troops, said only to amount to about five hundred men, than they fled, crying that they were betrayed. Beaulieu's horse pursued and captured Biron's baggage and military chest. On the very same day, Dillon's division, on their march from Lille to Tournay, fled with the very same cry from nine hundred Austrians who had issued from Tournay. The French officers in vain endeavoured, in both cases, to rally their forces, and Dillon was murdered by his own men on re-entering Lille with a lieutenant-colonel and an unsworn priest. Lafayette, hearing this strange news, did not venture to quit Givet.Whilst Chatham was heading the Opposition in a determined onslaught on the Government, the latter were also compelled to face the awkward American question. Great hopes had been entertained that the people of Boston would be much calmer after the departure of Governor Bernard. Hutchinson, the Deputy-Governor, was not only an American, but a man of a mild temper. But the temper of the Bostonians was now so much excited, that the leaders of the non-importation Act were more vehement than ever. The English merchants presented a petition to Parliament showing that, in consequence of the import duties and the combinations of the colonists to resist them, the exports from England to these colonies had fallen off in 1769 by the amount of seven hundred and forty thousand pounds; that the revenue received from duties paid in America had fallen off from one hundred and ten thousand pounds per annum to thirty thousand pounds.
Besides succeeding to the government of a country whose chief province was thus exhausted, the finances of the Company were equally drained, both in Calcutta and at home, and the Directors were continually crying to Hastings for money, money, money! As one means of raising this money, they sent him a secret order to break one of their most solemn engagements with the native princes. When they bribed Meer Jaffier to depose his master, by offering to set him in his seat, and received in return the enormous sums mentioned for this elevation, they settled on Meer Jaffier and his descendants an annual income of thirty-two lacs of rupees, or three hundred and sixty thousand pounds. But Meer Jaffier was now dead, and his eldest son died during the famine. The second son was made Nabob, a weak youth in a weak government, and as the Company saw that he could not help himself, they ordered Hastings to reduce the income to one-half. This was easily done; but this was not enough, disgraceful as it was. Mohammed Reza Khan, who had been appointed by the Company the Nabob's Minister, on the ground that he was not only a very able but a very honest man, they ordered to be arrested on pretended pleas of maladministration. He and all his family and partisans must be secured, but not in an open and abrupt way, which might alarm the province; they were to be inveigled down from Moorshedabad to Calcutta, on pretence of affairs of government, and there detained. Nuncomar, the Hindoo, who had been displaced, in order to set up Mohammed, who was a Mussulman, and who had been removed on the ground of being one of the most consummate rogues in India, was to be employed as evidence against Mohammed. Hastings fully carried out the orders of the secret committee of the India House. He had Mohammed seized in his bed, at midnight, by a battalion of sepoys; Shitab Roy, the Minister of Bahar, who acted under Mohammed at Patna, was also secured; and these two great officers and their chief agents were sent down to Calcutta under guard, and there put into what Hastings called "an easy confinement." In this confinement they lay many months, all which time Nuncomar was in full activity preparing the charges against them. Shitab Roy, like Mohammed, stood high in the estimation of his countrymen of both faiths; he had fought on the British side with signal bravery, and appears to have been a man of high honour and feeling. But these things weighed for nothing with Hastings or his masters in Leadenhall Street. He hoped to draw large sums of money from these men; but he was disappointed. Though he himself arranged the court that tried them, and brought up upwards of a hundred witnesses against them, no malpractice whatever could be proved against them, and they were acquitted. They were therefore honourably restored, the reader will think. By no means. Such were not the intentions of the Company or of Hastings. Whilst Mohammed and Shitab Roy had been in prison, Hastings had been up at Moorshedabad, had abolished the office of Minister in both Patna and Moorshedabad, removed all the government business to Calcutta, cut down the income of the young Nabob, Muharek-al-Dowla, to one half, according to his instructions, and reduced the Nabob himself to a mere puppet. He had transferred the whole government to Calcutta, with all the courts of justice, so that, writes Hastings, "the authority of the Company is fixed in this country without any possibility of competition, and beyond the power of any but themselves to shake it."详情
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