The following statement of the numbers receiving rations, and the total expenditure under the Act in each of the four provinces, compared with the amount of population, and the annual value assessed for poor-rate, may serve to illustrate the comparative means and destitution of each province:—
The crisis was at hand. The efforts of the Jacobins had culminated in the great blow which should crush this ancient monarchy to the earth. The Federates called a meeting of the Committee of Insurrection to arrange the final plans, and it was resolved that the insurrection should take place on the 10th of August.
NELSON AT THE BATTLE OF COPENHAGEN. (See p. 481.)
Amongst the earliest of the prose writers may be mentioned the theological authors. Cumberland was the author of a Latin treatise, "De Legibus Natur?," in which he successfully combated the infidelity of Hobbes. Bull, who, as well as Cumberland, became a bishop, distinguished himself before the Revolution by his "Harmonia Apostolica," an anti-Calvinistic work, and by his "Defensio Fidei Nicen?." In 1694 he published his "Judicium Ecclesi? Catholic?." John Norris, of the school of Cudworth and Henry More, and nearly the last of that school called the English Platonists, published, besides many other works, his "Essay on the Ideal World" in 1701 and 1702. He also wrote some religious poetry of no particular mark.The history of the Peninsular War was written very ably and faithfully by a soldier who bore a distinguished part in it—General Sir W. F. P. Napier, one of three brothers, all eminently distinguished for their talents and achievements. About the time when this work was concluded appeared further illustrations of the war, in the "Despatches of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington," which were edited by Colonel Gurwood, and which are very valuable. Of these despatches it was justly remarked in the Edinburgh Review that no man ever before had the gratification of himself witnessing the formation of such a monument to his glory.
Even this example was not sufficient to protect her Majesty from the criminal attempts of miscreants of this class. Another was made on the 3rd of July following, as the Queen was going from Buckingham Palace to the Chapel Royal, accompanied by Prince Albert and the King of the Belgians. In the Mall, about half way between the palace and the stable-yard gate, a deformed youth was seen by a person named Bassett to present a pistol at the Queen's carriage. Bassett seized him and brought him to the police; but they refused to take him in charge, treating the matter as a hoax. Bassett himself was subsequently arrested, and examined by the Privy Council. When the facts of the case were ascertained, the police hastened to repair the error of the morning, and sent to all the police-stations a description of the real offender. This led to the apprehension of a boy called Bean, who was identified, examined, and committed to prison. His trial took place on the 25th of August, at the Central Criminal Court. The Attorney-General briefly related the facts of the case, and Lord Abinger, the presiding judge, having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of "Guilty," convicting the prisoner of presenting a pistol, loaded with powder and wadding, "in contempt of the Queen, and to the terror of divers liege subjects." The sentence of the court was—"Imprisonment in Millbank Penitentiary for eighteen calendar months."
Reports that the king was rapidly recovering now began to fly about Court, daily gaining strength. The Whigs, impatient to seize on office, were in a state of strange excitement; but to go in with the prospect of being immediately dismissed by the king, did not accord with the dignity of the leaders. On the other hand, there were so many good things to be given away—one or two bishoprics, the office of Chief Justice in Eyre, sundry commissions of Major-General, besides expectations of promotions to the rank of Field-Marshal—that the dependents of the party grew impatient. Neither the Whigs nor Pitt knew well what to do. The Lords did not commit the Bill till the 17th, when they made two important additions to it, namely, to place all the palaces, parks, houses, and gardens of the king under the control of the queen, and to give her the care of all the royal children under the age of twenty-one. But, at that very crisis, the king was pronounced convalescent. On the 19th, Lord Thurlow announced this, on the certificate of the physicians; and it was declared by him that their lordships could not, in these circumstances, proceed with the Bill, but had better adjourn till Tuesday next. The Duke of York observed that he should most gladly have corroborated the statement of the Lord Chancellor, but could not, having called the day before at Kew, to desire that he might see his father, but had not been permitted. The House, however, adjourned, and on Tuesday, the 24th, Thurlow informed it that he had seen his Majesty, had found him perfectly recovered, and therefore he moved another adjournment to the Monday following, which was agreed to.Misery and privation in large masses of people naturally engender disaffection, and predispose to rebellion; and this was the state of things in Ireland at the beginning of the memorable year of 1848. O'Connell had passed away from the scene. On the 28th of January, 1847, he left Ireland, never to return. He went to London for the purpose of attending his Parliamentary duties, but shortly after his arrival there he went for benefit of his health to Hastings. But a still greater change of scene and climate was found necessary, and he embarked for France, and proceeding to Paris, he was received with great consideration by the Marquis of Normanby, and other distinguished persons. In reply to a complimentary address from the electoral committee, of which Montalembert was chairman, O'Connell said, "Sickness and emotion close my mouth. I would require the eloquence of your president to express to you all my gratitude. But it is impossible for me to say what I feel. Know, simply, that I regard this demonstration on your part as one of the most significant events of my life." He went from Paris to Lyons, where he became much weaker. In all the French churches prayers were offered on behalf of "Le célèbre Irlandais, et le grand libérateur d'Irlande." At Marseilles he became rather better; but at Genoa death arrested his progress. He expired on the 15th of May (1847), apparently suffering little pain. He was on his way to Rome, intending to pay his homage in person to Pius IX., but finding this impossible, he ordered that his heart might be sent to Rome, and his body to Ireland. It has been remarked that O'Connell was the victim of the Irish famine, and that its progress might have been learnt from the study of his face. The buoyancy had gone out of his step; he had become a stooping and a broken-down man, shuffling along with difficulty, his features betraying despondency and misery. His memory was respected by Englishmen, because of the devotion of his life to the service of his country. Born of a conquered race and a persecuted religion, conscious of great energies and great talents, he resolved to make every Irishman the equal of every Englishman. After the labours of a quarter of a century he obtained Catholic Emancipation.
Whilst Washington man?uvred to prevent Howe from crossing the Schuylkill above him, the English General crossed below on the 22nd of September, and thus placed himself between Philadelphia and the American army. It was now necessary for Washington to fight, or give up that city; but the condition of his troops, deficient in clothes and shoes, owing to the poverty of the commissariat department, with wretched arms, and fatigued by their recent exertions, forbade all hope of maintaining even the defensive. He therefore fell back, and Cornwallis, on the 27th, advancing from Germantown, entered Philadelphia amid the welcome of the loyal inhabitants. Cornwallis occupied the city with four regiments, but the body of the British army encamped at Germantown, ten miles distant. But, though the Americans had evacuated the city, they still held the command of the Delaware below it, and thus cut off the supplies of the British army by sea, and all communication between the army and the fleet, except by the circuitous course of Chester, liable to capture by the enemy.
Sheridan introduced the subject on the 18th of April, and Fox ably supported him; but the motion was negatived. But this defeat only appeared to stimulate the reformers to higher exertions. On the 28th of April a new Reform society, entitled the Society of the Friends of the People, was formally inaugurated by the issue of an address, which was signed by no less than twenty-eight members of the House of Commons, and a considerable number of Lords, amongst them the Lords Lauderdale, John Russell, Stanhope, and Fitzgerald. Their title was unfortunate, for, though they were united only for Parliamentary reform, this cognomen was so much in the French style as to create suspicion and alarm. Many of the members were known to be admirers of the French Revolution, and about the same time another and decidedly French-admiring society was started, calling itself the Corresponding Society, and prosecuting a zealous intercourse with the Girondists and Jacobins. The admiration of French political principles rendered the conservative portion of the population quite determined to resist all innovations; and as this Society of the Friends of the People was regarded as a direct imitation of the Jacobin Club, it was violently opposed and stigmatised. On the 30th of April Mr. Grey, as representative of this Society, rose to announce that in the next Session he meant to introduce a regular measure for the reform of Parliament; that it was necessary, he said, had long been asserted by the two leading men of the House—Pitt and Fox. Pitt rose on this, and declared himself still the friend of Reform; but he contended that this was not the time to attempt it. He had only, he said, to point to the state of things in France, and to the effervescence which those principles of anarchy had produced in Britain, to show the necessity of remaining quiet for the present; neither did he believe that the mass of the English people would support any change in our Constitution. Fox upbraided Pitt with the abandonment of his former sentiments, and contended that we had only to look at the money spent lately in the armament against Russia, money thus spent without any consent of the people, to perceive the necessity of reform in our representation. He referred to Pitt's remarks on revolutionary books and pamphlets recently published, and declared that he had read very few of them. He had only read one of the two books of Thomas Paine, the "Rights of Man," and did not like it. Burke replied to him, and drew a most dismal picture of the condition of France under her Revolutionists. He said that the French Assembly was composed of seven hundred persons, of whom four hundred were lawyers, and three hundred of no description; that he could not name a dozen out of the whole, he believed, with one hundred pounds a-year; and he asked whether we should like a Parliament in Great Britain resembling it. In this debate, the further dissolution of the Whig party became obvious when Windham and others took the side of Burke.
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