In committee the Opposition endeavoured to introduce some modifying clause. They proposed that the Dissenters should have schools for their own persuasion; and, had the object of the Bill been to prevent them from endangering the Church by educating the children of Churchmen, this would have served the purpose. But this was not the real object; the motive of the Bill was the old tyrannic spirit of the Church, and this most reasonable clause was rejected. They allowed, however, dames or schoolmistresses to teach the children to read; and they removed the conviction of offenders from the justices of peace to the courts of law, and granted a right of appeal to a higher court. Finally, they exempted tutors in noblemen's families, noblemen being supposed incapable of countenancing any other than teachers of Court principles. Stanhope seized on this to extend the privilege to the members of the House of Commons, arguing that, as many members of the Commons were connected with noble families, they must have an equal claim for the education of their children in sound principles. This was an exquisite bit of satire, but it was unavailing. The Hanoverian Tories, headed by Lord Anglesey, moved that the Act should extend to Ireland, where, as the native population was almost wholly Catholic, and therefore schismatic in the eye of the Established Church, the Bill would have almost entirely extinguished education. The Bill was carried on the 10th of June by a majority only of seventy-seven against seventy-two, and would not have been carried at all except for the late creation of Tory peers.
Murat hastened in disguise to Naples to consult with his wife, who had as much courage and more judgment than he had; but this availed him nothing. On the 20th of May his generals signed a convention with the Austrians at Casa Lanza, a farmhouse near Capua, to surrender Capua on the 21st, and Naples on the 23rd, on condition that all the Neapolitan officers who took the oath of allegiance to King Ferdinand should retain their respective ranks, honours, and estates. At this news Murat fled out of Naples, and, with a very small attendance, crossed over in a fisherman's boat to the island of Ischia, and his wife went on board the vessel of Commodore Campbell, which, however, she was only able to effect by a guard of three hundred English sailors and marines, for the lazzaroni were all in insurrection. Commodore Campbell, having received Caroline Buonaparte, her property and attendants on board his squadron, then sailed to Gaeta, where were the four children of Murat, took them on board, and conveyed them altogether to Trieste, the Emperor of Austria having given Madame Murat free permission to take up her residence in Austria, under the name of the Countess of Lipano.But the conquered Sikhs did not very easily acquiesce in the terms proposed by the conquerors, in spite of the wise administration of the great brothers John and Henry Lawrence, who organised a thoroughly efficient government in the new territories. Gholab Singh was chased from the territory the British had given him, and it became necessary that British arms should reinstate him, and that a British force should permanently garrison Lahore, at a cost to the Sikh Government of ￡220,000 a year. The intriguing and restless Ranee was sent off from the capital to Sharpoora, where she was kept under surveillance. Sir Charles Napier was obliged to resign his government in Scinde from ill-health, and he returned home in 1847. The Governor-General, after making a progress through various parts of the empire, in order to inaugurate and encourage works of social improvement, was also obliged to retire from his post, in consequence of the failure of his health owing to the fatigues and hardships he had endured in the campaign, and Henry Lawrence accompanied him. On his return home Hardinge was made Master-General of the Ordnance and Commander-in-Chief, being succeeded in India by Lord Dalhousie, who arrived there on the 10th of January, 1848. He, too, found disturbances to be quelled and treachery to be punished among our allies and tributaries. Troubles occurred at Lahore, where the hostility of the inhabitants to the British broke out with terrible effect. Mr. Vans Agnew, the British Resident, and Lieutenant Anderson were treacherously murdered at Mooltan, apparently by the orders of Moolraj, who had been ordered to pay a large sum as succession duty to the Sikh Government. Their death was avenged by Lieutenant Edwardes and General Courtland, who, at the head of a small force, attacked and defeated the revolted Sikhs, 3,000 strong. At length 26,000 troops under General Whish invested the place. But his troops went over to the enemy, and he was compelled to raise the siege and retire. At the same time an insurrection broke out in the Punjab, headed by the governor of the North-West Provinces; in fact, there was a general revolt of the Sikhs against British rule.
In America, the belligerents were early afoot this year; but the attention and the forces of the English were drawn from the States to the West Indies by the determined attempts of the French to make themselves masters of our islands there. D'Estaing, who was joined by another French squadron under the Marquis de Vaudreuil, was early opposed by Admiral Byron, who arrived at St. Lucia from the American coast on the 6th of January. This Admiral Vaudreuil, on his way, had visited our settlements on the coast of Africa, and taken from us Senegal; but Sir Edward Hughes soon arrived there, and took their settlement of Goree, so that it was a mere exchange of territory. In June Admiral Byron was obliged to escort our merchant fleet to a certain distance, and D'Estaing seized that opportunity to make himself master of St. Vincent and Grenada, where the garrisons were weak. On the return of Byron, on the 5th of July, he came to an engagement with D'Estaing off Grenada; but the French admiral, after an indecisive action, took advantage of the night to sail away, boasting of a great victory. He now made for Georgia and Carolina, to assist the Americans in endeavouring to wrest from us our recent conquest of Savannah, in Georgia.With the reign of George III. began the real era of civil engineering. With respect to our highways there had been various Parliamentary enactments since the Revolution of 1688; but still, at the commencement of George III.'s reign, the condition of the greater part of our public roads was so dreadful as now to be almost incredible. Acts of Parliament continued to be passed for their amendment, but what was their general state we learn from the invaluable "Tours" of Arthur Young. He describes one leading from Billericay to Tilbury, in Essex, as so narrow that a mouse could not pass by any carriage, and so deep in mud that chalk-waggons were continually sticking fast in them, till so many were in that predicament that the waggoners put twenty or thirty of their horses together to pull them out. He describes the same state of things in almost every part of the country—in Norfolk, Suffolk, Wiltshire, and Lancashire. Some of them had ruts four feet deep by measure, and into these ruts huge stones were dropped to enable waggons to pass at all; and these, in their turn, broke their axles by the horrible jolting, so that within eighteen miles he saw three waggons lying in this condition. Notwithstanding, from 1785 to 1800 no fewer than six hundred and forty-three Acts of Parliament regarding roads were passed. But scarcely a penny of the money collected at the toll-bars went to the repair of the roads, but only to pay the interest of the debt on their original construction. Whatever was raised was divided amongst the members of the body known as the trustees for the original fund; and though many Acts of Parliament limited this interest, means were found for evading the restriction.
In the course of his speech Lord John Russell stated that he had made inquiry with respect to the amount of relief afforded to wandering mendicants, and the result was that in most cases a shilling an acre was paid by farmers in the year, and he calculated that it amounted on the whole to perhaps ￡1,000,000 a year. Among those thus relieved, he said, the number of impostors must be enormous. It was not proposed, however, to prohibit vagrancy until the whole of the workhouses should be built and ready for the reception of the destitute. A lengthened discussion then took place in reference to the proposed measure, in which Mr. Shaw, Mr. O'Connell, Lord Howick, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanley, and other members took part. The Bill was read a first time, and on the 25th of April, 1837, Lord John Russell moved the second reading, when the debate was adjourned till the 1st of May. Notwithstanding a good deal of hostile discussion the second reading was carried without a division. On the 9th of May the House went into committee on the Bill. Twenty clauses were passed with only two unimportant divisions. The introduction of a settlement clause was rejected by a majority of 120 to 68. The vagrancy clauses were postponed for future consideration. The committee had got to the sixtieth clause on the 7th of June, when the king's illness became so serious that his recovery was highly improbable, and the business of Parliament was consequently suspended. He died on the 20th of June, and on the 17th of July Parliament was prorogued, so that there was an end for the present to the Irish Poor Relief Bill, and all the other measures then before Parliament.
Very strong hopes were entertained by the Liberal party from the Administration of Lord Wellesley, but it was his misfortune to be obliged to commence it with coercive measures, always the ready resource of the Irish Government. The new Viceroy would have removed, if possible, the causes of public disturbance; but, in the meantime, the peace must be preserved and sanguinary outrages must be repressed, and he did not shrink from the discharge of his duty in this respect on account of the popular odium which it was sure to bring upon his Government. Mr. Plunket, as Attorney-General, was as firm in the administration of justice as Mr. Saurin, his high Tory predecessor, could be. The measures of repression adopted by the legislature were certainly not wanting in severity. The disorders were agrarian, arising out of insecurity of land tenure, rack rents, and tithes levied by proctors upon tillage, and falling chiefly upon the Roman Catholic population, who disowned the ministrations of the Established Church. The remedies which the Government provided for disturbances thus originating were the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act and the renewal of the Insurrection Act. By the provisions of the latter the Lord-Lieutenant was empowered, on the representation of justices in session that a district was disturbed, to proclaim it in a state of insurrection, to interdict the inhabitants from leaving their homes between sunset and sunrise, and to subject them to visits by night, to ascertain their presence in their own dwellings. If absent, they were considered idle and disorderly, and liable to transportation for seven years! These measures encountered considerable opposition, but they were rapidly passed through both Houses, and received the Royal Assent a week after Parliament met. Under these Acts a number of Whiteboys and other offenders were tried and convicted, several hanged, and many transported. Lord Wellesley must have felt his position very disagreeable between the two excited parties. To be impartial and just was to incur the hostility of both. Possibly he became disgusted with the factions that surrounded him. Whether from this cause, or from an indolent temper, or from the feeling that he was hampered and restrained, and could not do for the country what he felt that its well-being required, or from ill health, it is certain that he became very inactive. A member of the Cabinet writes about him thus:—"I find the Orange party are loud in their abuse of Lord Wellesley, for shutting himself up at the Ph?nix Park, lying in bed all day, seeing nobody, and only communicating with Secretary Gregory by letter. Indeed, I believe that the latter is more than he often favours Secretaries Peel and Goulburn with." In another letter, the same Minister, Mr. Wynn, complains of his total neglect of his correspondence with England. This, he said, was inexcusable, because those on whom the chief responsibility rested had a right to know his views upon the state of Ireland, in order to be able to meet the Opposition during the sitting of Parliament. This was written towards the end of April, and at that time the Government had not for a month heard a syllable from him on the agitated questions of tithes, magistracy, and police. The state of Ireland, indeed, became every day more perplexing and alarming. A revolutionary spirit was abroad, and all other social evils were aggravated by famine, which prevailed in extensive districts in the south and west. The potato crop, always precarious, was then almost a total failure in many counties, and left the dense population, whose existence depended upon it, totally destitute. The cry of distress reached England, and was responded to in the most generous spirit. Half a million sterling was voted by Parliament, and placed at the disposal of Lord Wellesley, to be dispensed in charitable relief and expended on public works for the employment of the poor. In addition to this, the English people contributed from their private resources the sum of three hundred thousand pounds for the relief of Irish distress. On the 30th of May there was a ball given for the same object, in the King's Theatre, London, which produced three thousand five hundred pounds.[See larger version]
Scarcely was the Prince married, when he began to complain of his limited income. His father, as Prince of Wales, had been allowed one hundred thousand pounds from the Civil List, which then was only seven hundred thousand pounds, but he now received only fifty thousand pounds from a Civil List of eight hundred thousand pounds. Bolingbroke, two years before, on leaving England, told the prince, as his parting advice, to apply to Parliament, without any regard to the king, for a permanent income of one hundred thousand pounds a year. Under these circumstances, Walpole persuaded the king to send a message to the prince, offering to settle a large jointure on the princess, and to make the prince's own income independent of his father. Here the prince ought to have yielded; if he had been either politic or well-disposed, he would have done so. The king was at this time very ill, and his physicians declared that if he did not alter soon, he could not live a twelvemonth. This circumstance of itself would have touched any young man of the least natural feeling, to say nothing of policy; for, if the king died, there was an end of the question—the prince would be king himself. But he was now in such a temper that he would not listen to the royal proposal; and the next day, the 22nd of February, 1737, Pulteney made his motion in the House of Commons for an address beseeching the king to settle upon the prince a hundred thousand pounds a year, and promising that the House would enable him effectually to do so. What was still stranger, it was seconded by Sir John Barnard. The Commons were not willing to run counter to a prince apparently on the point of ascending the throne, and Walpole would have found himself in a minority had Wyndham, as he hoped, brought the Tories to vote for the prince. But forty-five Jacobites, who could not bring themselves to vote for an heir of the House of Hanover, though they would by that have done a serious mischief to the Hanoverian usurper, as they styled him, rose in a body and quitted the House. On the division, the Ministerial party amounted to two hundred and thirty-four, the Opposition to only two hundred and four—being a majority for Ministers of exactly thirty. The next day the same motion was made in the Lords by Carteret, but was rejected by a large majority—one hundred and three to forty.
GREAT SEAL OF GEORGE III.The popular agitation became so alarming, however, that Mr. Stevens, one of its instigators, was indicted and held to bail on a charge of sedition. But this interference with liberty of speech served only to inflame the excitement, and to render the language of the orators more violent. In June, 1839, Mr. Attwood presented the Chartist petition to the House of Commons, bearing 1,200,000 signatures, and on the 15th of July he moved that it should be referred to a select committee, but the motion was rejected by a majority of 289 to 281. This gave a fresh impulse to the agitation. The most inflammatory speakers besides Mr. Stephens were Mr. Oastler and Mr. Feargus O'Connor. The use of arms began to be freely spoken of as a legitimate means of obtaining their rights. Pikes and guns were procured in great quantities; drilling was practised, and armed bands marched in nocturnal processions, to the terror of the peaceable inhabitants. At length, Lord John Russell, as Home Secretary, reluctant as he was to interfere with the free action of the people, issued a proclamation to the lieutenants of the disturbed counties, authorising them to accept the armed assistance of persons who might place themselves at their disposal for the preservation of the public peace. As a means of showing their numerical strength, the Chartists adopted the plan of going round from house to house with two books, demanding subscriptions for the support of the Charter, entering the names of subscribers in one book, and of non-subscribers in the other. Each subscriber received a ticket, which was to be his protection in case of insurrection, while the non-subscribers were given to understand that their names would be remembered. Another striking mode of demonstrating their power and producing an impression, though not the most agreeable one, was to go in procession to the churches on Sunday some time before Divine service began, and to take entire possession of the body of the edifice. They conducted themselves quietly, however, although some were guilty of the impropriety of wearing their hats and smoking pipes.The best excuse for George II.'s apparent sluggishness was, that the French were now so closely pressed by concentrating armies. Prince Charles of Lorraine and the Austrians were pressing De Broglie so hotly that he was glad to escape over the Rhine near Mannheim; and Noailles, thus finding himself between two hostile armies, followed his example, crossed over the Rhine to Worms, where, uniting with Broglie, they retreated to their own frontier at Lauter, and thus the Empire was cleared of them. The Emperor Charles now suffered the fate which he may be said to have richly deserved. He was immediately compelled to solicit for peace from Austria through the mediation of George of England and Prince William of Hesse. But Maria Theresa, now helped out of all her difficulties by English money and English soldiers, was not inclined to listen to any moderate terms, even when proposed by her benefactor, the King of England. The Emperor was down, and she proposed nothing less than that he should permanently cede Bavaria to her, or give up the Imperial crown to her husband. Such terms were not to be listened to; but the fallen Emperor finally did conclude a treaty of neutrality with the Queen of Hungary, by which he consented that Bavaria should remain in her hands till the conclusion of a peace. This peace the King of England and William of Hesse did their best to accomplish; and Carteret, who was agent for King George, had consented that on this peace England should grant a subsidy of three hundred thousand crowns to the Emperor. No sooner, however, did the English Ministers receive the preliminaries of this contract, than they very properly struck out this subsidy, and the whole treaty fell to the ground.详情
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