On the 25th of November Parliament was opened, and the king, in his speech, made a strong appeal to the country for support against the unprovoked war on the part of France and Spain. The Marquis of Rockingham, in proposing an amendment on the Address in the Lords, was extremely severe. He concluded by moving that every part of the Address, except the title, should be expunged, and that, instead of what then stood, a prayer should be inserted that his Majesty would reflect on the extent of territory which marked the opening of his reign, the opulence and power, the reputation abroad, the concord at home, to which he had succeeded, and now on the endangered, impoverished, enfeebled, distracted, and even dismembered, state of the whole, after the enormous grants of his successive Parliaments, and calling on him, as the only remedy of impending ruin, to dismiss his present evil councillors, and summon new and more auspicious ones. The language was crushing, but it derived its force from its undeniable truth. Lord John Cavendish moved a similar amendment in the Commons; and the Opposition declared that it was well that his Majesty's speech expressed trust in Divine Providence, for Providence was the only friend that his Government had now left; and that our arms, both on sea and land, were paralysed by the scandalous practice of putting at the head of the army and navy mere Court favourites, and by the want of all vigour and sagacity of planning and following up our campaigns. Fox went further, and asserted that weakness and stupidity could not effect the wholesale shame and ruin that surrounded us; that there must be treachery somewhere; and that, if this were driven a little further, the people would seize on arms, and chase the miserable Cabinet from its abused seat. Lord North made the best reply that the circumstances admitted; but there were no symptoms of the Ministers resigning, or being removed by the infatuated monarch, and the amendments were rejected in both Houses, as a matter of course.
The Ministers being duly informed of all, the preparations for the dinner were carried on ostensibly as though nothing was suspected. On the 23rd of February, when the evening had arrived, carriages began to collect about the house of Lord Harrowby, and the scouts who were sent out to see that there were no soldiers or police stationed there, reported all right. But the carriages were driving to the house of the Archbishop of York, which adjoined Lord Harrowby's, and this had deceived the conspirators. The Ministers had remained at home to dine, and then had assembled at Lord Liverpool's to await the news of the result. The police, conducted by the spies, meanwhile reached the rendezvous of the conspirators, which was a stable in Cato Street, near the Edgware Road. The soldiers had orders to be in readiness, and surround the place immediately, and assist in securing the desperadoes. But it seems that the soldiers were not ready at the moment, and on the police entering the stable they found that the conspirators were in the hayloft over it. They were proceeding up the ladder to the loft, and Smithers, one of the police, had just entered it, when Thistlewood, seeing that they were betrayed, stabbed the man to the heart, blew out the light, and made his escape. There was a confused firing of pistols in the dark, and the soldiers coming up, nine of the conspirators were secured, with a quantity of arms and ammunition; but fourteen were said to have succeeded in escaping.
Bolingbroke had assured Iberville, the French agent, that, had the queen only lived six weeks longer, his measures were so well taken that he should have brought in the Pretender in spite of everything. On the very day of the queen's death Marlborough landed at Dover, so exactly had he timed his return. He found George I. proclaimed in London, in York, and in other large towns, not only without disorder, but with an acclamation of joy from the populace which plainly showed where the heart lay.
The court-house on the day of nomination presented a striking scene. On the left hand of the sheriff stood a Cabinet Minister, attended by the whole body of the aristocracy and gentry, Protestant and Catholic, of the county Clare. On the right stood Mr. O'Connell, with scarcely a single gentleman by his side. But he was "the man of the people" and of the priests, and so he was master of the situation. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald was proposed by Sir Edward O'Brien, and seconded by Sir A. Fitzgerald. The Ministerial candidate first addressed the freeholders. He was an accomplished gentleman and an excellent speaker. Mr. Sheil, who was present, remarked that he delivered one of the most effective and dexterous speeches it had ever been his fortune to hear. His venerable father, who had voted against the union in the Irish Parliament, was now on his death-bed, and the knowledge of the contest had been kept from him, lest the excitement should hasten his departure. In alluding to him, and to his own services to the county, Mr. Fitzgerald's eyes filled with tears, and there were few amongst his opponents, excited as they were against him, who did not give the same evidence of emotion; and when he sat down, although the great majority of the audience were strongly opposed to him, and were enthusiasts in favour of the rival candidate, a loud and unanimous burst of acclamation shook the court-house.On the 3rd of February Mr. Darby brought forward a motion that the sheriffs should be discharged from the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. This gave rise to a long and animated debate. The Attorney-General opposed the motion, contending that until they made their submission the House could not dismiss them with due regard to its dignity. Sir William Follett replied to the arguments of the Attorney-General, and was answered by the Solicitor-General. The debate was adjourned, and was resumed on the 7th. At its conclusion the House divided on the question that the sheriffs be discharged, which was negatived by a majority of 71. On the 12th Mr. Sheriff Wheelton was discharged on account of ill-health, a motion for the release of the other sheriff having been rejected.
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SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH. (After the Portrait by Sir T. Lawrence, P.R.A.)
HELIGOLAND.The Lords Justices having met, appointed Joseph Addison, afterwards so celebrated as a writer, and even now very popular, as their secretary, and ordered all despatches addressed to Bolingbroke to be brought to him. This was an intimation that Bolingbroke would be dismissed; and that proud Minister, instead of giving orders, was obliged to receive them, and to wait at the door of the Council-chamber with his bags and papers. As the Lords Justices were apprehending that there might be some disturbances in Ireland, they were about to send over Sunderland as Lord-Lieutenant, and General Stanhope as Commander-in-Chief; but they were speedily relieved of their fears by the intelligence that all had passed off quietly there; that the Lords Justices of Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh, and Sir Constantine Phipps, who had been more than suspected of Jacobitism, had proclaimed the king on the 6th of August, and, to give evidence of their new zeal, had issued a proclamation for disarming Papists and seizing their horses. The proclamation of George passed with the same quietness in Scotland, and no king, had he been born a native, in the quietest times, could have succeeded to the throne more smoothly. Eighteen lords, chiefly Whigs, were nominated by the new king to act as a Council of Regency, pending his arrival, and the Civil List was voted by Parliament.
Arnold had not been able to bring any artillery with him; Montgomery had a little. They had about twelve hundred men altogether; and with this force they now marched upon Quebec. On the 20th of December they commenced firing on the town from a six-gun battery; but their cannon were too light to make much impression—they had no guns heavier than twelve-pounders, and these were soon dismounted by Colonel Maclean and his sailors. The Americans withdrew their guns to a safer distance; and their troops were desirous to abandon the enterprise as impracticable, but the commanders engaged them to continue by holding out a prospect of their plundering the lower town, where all the wealth lay. On the last day of the year, soon after four in the morning, the attack was commenced. Two divisions, under Majors Livingstone and Brown, were left to make feigned attacks on the upper town, whilst the rest, in two lines, under Montgomery and Arnold, set out amid a blinding snow-storm to make two real attacks on the lower town. Montgomery, descending to the bed of the St. Lawrence, wound along the beach to Cape Diamond, where he was stopped by a blockhouse and picket. Haying passed these, he again, at a place called Pot Ash, encountered a battery, which was soon abandoned. Montgomery then led his troops across huge piles of ice driven on shore; and no sooner had they surmounted these than they were received by a severe fire from a battery manned by sailors and Highlanders. Montgomery fell dead along with several other officers and many men; and the rest, seeing the fate of their commander, turned and fled back up the cliffs. Arnold, at the same time, was pushing his way through the suburbs of the lower town, followed by Captain Lamb with his artillerymen, and one field piece mounted on a sledge. After these went Morgan with his riflemen; and as they advanced in the dark, and muffled in the falling snow, they came upon a two-gun battery. As Arnold was cheering on his men to attack this outpost, the bone of his leg was shattered by a musket-ball. He was carried from the field; but Morgan rushed on and made himself master of the battery and the guard. Just as day dawned, he found himself in front of a second battery, and, whilst attacking that, was assailed in the rear and compelled to surrender, with a loss of four hundred men, three hundred of whom were taken prisoners. Arnold retreated to a distance of three or four miles from Quebec, and covered his camp behind the Heights of Abraham with ramparts of frozen snow, and remained there for the winter, cutting off the supplies of the garrison, and doing his best to alienate the Canadians from the English.THE ROYAL FAMILY OF FRANCE ON THEIR WAY TO THE ASSEMBLY. (See p. 403.)
These disorders appealed with irresistible force to the Government and the legislature to put an end to a system fraught with so much evil, and threatening the utter disruption of society in Ireland. In the first place, something must be done to meet the wants of the destitute clergy and their families. Accordingly, Mr. Stanley brought in a Bill in May, 1832, authorising the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland to advance ￡60,000 as a fund for the payment of the clergy, who were unable to collect their tithes for the year 1831. This measure was designed to meet the existing necessity, and was only a preliminary to the promised settlement of the tithe question. It was therefore passed quickly through both Houses, and became law on the 1st of June. But the money thus advanced was not placed on the Consolidated Fund. The Government took upon itself the collection of the arrears of tithes and to reimburse itself for its advances out of the sum that it succeeded in recovering. It was a maxim with Mr. Stanley that the people should be made to respect the law; that they should not be allowed to trample upon it with impunity. The odious task thus assumed produced a state of unparalleled excitement. The people were driven to frenzy, instead of being frightened by the Chief Secretary becoming tithe-collector-general, and the army employed in its collection. The first proceeding of the Government to recover the tithes under the Act of the 1st of June was, therefore, the signal for general war. Bonfires blazed upon the hills, the rallying sounds of horns were heard along the valleys, and the mustering tread of thousands upon the roads, hurrying to the scene of a seizure or an auction. It was a bloody campaign; there was considerable loss of life, and the Church and the Government thus became more obnoxious to the people than ever. Mr. Stanley being the commander-in-chief on one side, and O'Connell on the other, the contest was embittered by their personal antipathies. It was found that the amount of the arrears for the year 1831 was ￡104,285, and that the whole amount which the Government was able to levy, after putting forward its strength in every possible way, was ￡12,000, the cost of collection being ￡15,000, so that the Government was not able to raise as much money as would pay the expenses of the campaign. This was how Mr. Stanley illustrated his favourite sentiment that the people should be made to respect the law. But the Liberal party among the Protestants fully sympathised with the anti-tithe recusants.The restrictions, however, if not to any great extent a practical grievance, were felt to be a stigma utterly undeserved, and the necessity for an annual Indemnity Act continually reminded a large, influential, intelligent, energetic portion of the nation of their inferiority to the rest of the king's subjects. The Government felt that public opinion was against them. They therefore allowed the Bill to go into committee without opposition, and there they adopted it as their own by carrying certain amendments. It passed the Commons by a majority of 44, the numbers being 237 to 193. From the tone of the debate in the Commons it was evident that the Government was not sorry to be left in a minority. In the House of Lords the measure encountered more opposition. Lord Eldon, exasperated with the treatment he had received from the Ministers, denounced it with the utmost vehemence. When he heard of its success in the Lower House, he was in a state of consternation.The war in America, amid the absorbing momentousness of the gigantic conflict in Europe, went on with little attention from Ministers at home, and, consequently, with the results which seem destined to attend Britain's campaigns in that quarter. In Canada, which the Americans were particularly anxious to obtain, there was a most meagre and inadequate British force; and, what was much worse, the Ministry still continued there the incompetent governor, Sir George Prevost. The only circumstances to which Britain owed the preservation of those provinces were the loyalty of the people and the sterling bravery of the handful of soldiers. Early in the year 1813 the American general, Dearborn, suddenly approached York, on Lake Ontario, and attacked it, supported by the flotilla under command of Commodore Chauncey. The British had about seven hundred men there, partly regulars, partly militia, with some few Indians. General Sheaffe drew off the main part of his force, and left the rest to capitulate, abandoning a considerable quantity of military and other stores, which were most desirable for the Americans. The British Government ought to have taken care to have had a fleet on the lakes, but this had been neglected, so that the Americans could not be prevented from bearing down on any point of the lake frontiers. Dearborn, having a strong flotilla, embarked the stores he won at York and sailed for Niagara, where he landed at Fort George, with six thousand infantry, two hundred and fifty cavalry, and a good train of artillery. The British there, under Vincent, were not a fourth of the enemy. Vincent, therefore, after some gallant fighting, retired up the strait to Burlington Bay, about fifty miles from Fort George, and, collecting the little garrisons from Fort Erie and other points, found himself at the head of about one thousand six hundred men, and resolved to make a stand. Dearborn, rendered confident by his great superiority of numbers, marched after him, and, on the 4th of June, was seen approaching the British position. He encamped about five miles from Vincent, with three thousand five hundred men and nine pieces of artillery. He intended to attack the next morning, but in this he was forestalled; for Colonel Harvey reconnoitred his camp, and advised General Vincent to assault it at midnight with fixed bayonets. This was done, and though the attacking party numbered only seven hundred and four men, the Americans fled in all directions, leaving two generals, one hundred prisoners, and four pieces of artillery in their hands. Colonel Harvey, who had headed the charge, returned to the British camp loaded with booty. It was expected that, in the morning, when Dearborn ascertained the inferior force of British, he would renew the fight; but after destroying provisions and stores, to facilitate his flight, he decamped, and only halted eleven miles off, where he met with strong reinforcements.详情
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