The death of no English statesman had ever produced a deeper feeling of grief throughout the nation, or more general expressions of lamentation at the irreparable loss which the country had sustained. Mr. Hume had a motion on the paper for the day following his death; but instead of proceeding with it, he moved the adjournment of the House, which was agreed to unanimously. Mr. Gladstone paid an eloquent and touching tribute to his memory, concluding with the lines—Napoleon, reinforced by a number of French, Bavarian, Würtemberg, and Saxon troops, moved off to attack the Allies at Bautzen, on the 19th of May. He had detached Lauriston and Ney towards Berlin to rout Bülow, but they were stopped by Barclay de Tolly and Yorck at K?nigswartha and at Weissig, and compelled to retreat. On the 21st Ney combined with Napoleon, and they made a united attack on Blucher's position on the fortified heights of Klein and Klein-Bautzen. In this battle German fought against German, the Bavarians against Bavarians, for they took both sides, such was the dislocated state of the nation. It was not till after a long and desperately-fought battle that the Allies were compelled to give ground, and then they retired, without the loss of a single gun, and posted themselves strongly behind the fortress of Schweidnitz, so famous in the campaigns of Frederick of Prussia.
Iron suspension bridges were also introduced towards the end of this reign. Chain bridges had been erected in China for nearly two thousand years, and rope bridges in India and South America still earlier. In England a foot-bridge of iron chains was erected at Middleton, over the Tees, in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1816 a bridge of iron wire was thrown across the Gala Water; and another, on a different principle, the following year, was erected over the Tweed, at King's Meadows. But now much greater and more complete works of the kind were to be executed. Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown introduced many improvements into these structures. He substituted iron ropes for hempen ones, thereby forming cable-chains, like those used in Wales on quarry tram-roads, and these he applied to suspension bridges. In 1819 he was commissioned to construct an iron suspension bridge over the Tweed, near Kelso, called the union Bridge, which he completed in 1820, at a cost of five thousand pounds. In 1827 the first suspension bridge was thrown over the Thames by Mr. William Tierney Clarke; and in 1818 Telford commenced his great work of throwing a suspension bridge over the Menai Strait, near Bangor, which he completed in 1825. The main opening of this stupendous work is five hundred and sixty feet wide, and one hundred feet above high-water mark. The length of the roadway of the bridge is one thousand feet. The cost was one hundred and twenty thousand pounds. This was Telford's chef-d'?uvre. But the same neighbourhood was destined to see a more stupendous structure span the Strait from the Welsh shore to Anglesey. This was the tubular railway bridge, connecting the London and Holyhead line, within view of Telford's elegant suspension bridge. This was erected by Robert Stephenson, from his own design, greatly improved by suggestions from William Fairbairn of Manchester. It was completed in October, 1850, at a cost of six hundred and twenty-five thousand eight hundred and sixty-five pounds. Further description of this great work is not proper here, as it belongs to a later date, but it seemed fit to mention it in passing, as an evidence of the progress of the engineering science in the reign of Victoria.
Anglesey, K.G."The year 1757 opened amid very gloomy auspices. War, of a wide and formidable character, was commencing in Europe, and the House of Commons was called on to vote no less than eight million three hundred thousand pounds for the supplies of the year, and to order fifty-five thousand men for the sea service, and forty-five thousand for the land. The National Debt had now reached seventy-two million pounds, and was destined to a heavy and rapid increase. Pitt commenced the admirable plan recommended years before by Duncan Forbes, of raising Highland regiments from the lately disaffected clans. The militia was remodelled, it was increased to thirty-four thousand, and it was proposed to exercise the men on Sunday afternoons, to facilitate their progress in discipline; but an outcry from the Dissenters put a stop to this. Serious riots, moreover, were the consequences of forcing such a number of men from their homes and occupations in the militia ranks; and the public discontent was raised to a crisis by the voting of two hundred thousand pounds, avowedly for the protection of Hanover. A measure which the nation beheld with astonishment Pitt himself introduced, notwithstanding his many thunderings against the Hanover millstone.Mr. Baring, who represented the Duke in the House of Commons, seemed to regard this declaration from the high-minded member for Oxford University as fatal to the Tory scheme for recovering power. They came at length to understand that the new Premier would be equally unacceptable to the country, whether he appeared with a Reform Bill or a gagging Bill. Both Baring and Sutton, the late Speaker, sent in their resignations. The Duke at length confessed that he had failed in his attempt to form an Administration; and the king had no other resource but to submit to the humiliation of again putting himself in the hands of his late Ministers. He had before him only the terrible alternative of a creation of peers or civil war. Earl Grey was determined not to resume office, "except with a sufficient security that he would possess the power of passing the present Bill unimpaired in its principles and its essential provisions." The consequence was, that on the 17th of May the following circular was sent to the hostile Lords by Sir Henry Taylor:—"My dear lord, I am honoured with his Majesty's commands to acquaint your lordship that all difficulties to the arrangements in progress will be obviated by a declaration in the House of Peers to-night from a sufficient number of peers, that in consequence of the present state of affairs they have come to the resolution of dropping their further opposition to the Reform Bill, so that it may pass without delay as nearly as possible in its present shape." Wellington, as usual, obeyed and withdrew from the House, but his seceding comrades prefaced their departure by defiant speeches in which they reserved to themselves the right of resuming their position. Then the Cabinet insisted on obtaining the royal consent to an unlimited creation; and it was given on condition that they, in the first instance, called to the House of Lords the eldest sons of peers or the collateral heirs of childless noblemen. But Sir Henry Taylor's circular had done its work, and the extreme step was unnecessary.
On the 16th of April Parliament was dissolved and the elections were conducted with immense party heat. Each side did all in its power, by fair means and foul, to increase its adherents. Sir Robert used the persuasives for which he became so famous, that he boasted "every man had his price," and if we are to believe the journals of the day, the Opposition were not at all behind him, as far as their ability went. They made ample use, too, of the Septennial Act, the Riot Act, the Excise scheme, and the unrecompensed commercial claims on Spain. They declared the neutrality preserved under such circumstances disgraceful to the country, though they would have been the first to have denounced Ministers had they gone to war. They gained several seats, but when the Parliament met in January, 1735, it was soon discovered that, though less, the majority was as steady as ever, and the Opposition having tried their strength against it for a few times, became greatly depressed for a while. Bolingbroke quitted the country, and settled himself at Chanteloup, in Lorraine.[See larger version]
Surely, both magistrates and soldiers might now have been satisfied. A defenceless multitude have no means of resistance, and, doing their best to get away, might have been left to do so without further molestation, which would be equally brutal in the magistrates, and cowardly in the soldiers. But neither of these parties seems to have thought so on this unhappy occasion. The magistrates issued no orders to desist, and the soldiers, by the confession of one of their officers, went on striking with the flats of their swords at the impeded people, who were thrown down in their vain efforts to get away, and piled in struggling heaps on the field. Mr. Hulton confessed that he walked away from the window after he had let loose the horse-soldiers on the people. "He would rather not see any advance of the military." He was, in fact, so tender-hearted that he did not mind the people—men, women, and children, met to exercise their political rights—being trodden down under the iron hoofs of horses, and cut down by the sword, so long as he did not see it.As the wind was light, the British vessels set their studding-sails, and bore down steadily on the enemy. There were of the British twenty-seven sail of the line, four frigates, one schooner, and one cutter. Of the French and Spaniards there were thirty-three sail of the line, five frigates, and two brigs; but the French vessels were in far superior condition to the old weather-worn ones of Nelson. The French had two thousand six hundred and twenty-six guns, Nelson two thousand one hundred and forty-eight. Collingwood's line first came into contact with the enemy in the Royal Sovereign, and was speedily in the midst of a desperate conflict. It was some time before Nelson's line got up, and Collingwood, amid the din of cannon and the crash of spars, turned to his captain, and said, "Rotherham, what would not Nelson give to be here?" It was just past twelve o'clock at noon as Collingwood's vessel came to close quarters with the Spanish flagship, Santa Anna, and it was more than a quarter of an hour before Nelson's ship came close up to the stupendous four-decker Spaniard, the Santissima Trinidad. He was soon in a terrible contest not only with this great ship, but with the Bucentaure, of eighty guns, the Neptune, of eighty guns, and the Redoubtable, of seventy-four guns. The Victory and Redoubtable were fast entangled together by their hooks and boom-irons, and kept up the most destructive fire into each other with double-shotted cannon. Both ships took fire; that in the Victory was extinguished, but the Redoubtable finally went down. But it was from the mizen top-mast of this vessel that one of the riflemen marked out Nelson by his stars, and shot him down. He fell on the deck, on the spot where his secretary, John Scott, had fallen dead just before. Captain Hardy, to whom Nelson had shortly before said, "Hardy, this is too warm work to last long," stooped, and observed that he hoped that he was not severely wounded. He replied, "Yes, they have done for me at last, Hardy." Hardy said he hoped not. "Yes," he answered; "my back-bone is shot through." He was carried down to the cock-pit, amongst the wounded and the dying, and laid in a midshipman's berth. The ball was found to have entered the left shoulder and to have lodged in the spine; the wound was mortal. For an hour the battle went on in its terrible fury, as the dying hero lay amid those expiring or wounded around him. He often inquired for Captain Hardy, but Hardy found it impossible, in the midst of one of the fiercest and most mortal strifes that ever was waged—the incessant cannonades sweeping away men, masts, tackle at every moment—to go down. When he was able to do it, Nelson asked how the battle went. Hardy replied, "Well, fourteen or fifteen vessels had struck." "That is well," said Nelson; "but I bargained for twenty." He then told Hardy to anchor, foreseeing that a gale was coming on; and Hardy observed that Admiral Collingwood would now take the command. At this the old commander blazed forth in the dying man for a moment. He endeavoured to raise himself in the bed, saying, "Not while I live, Hardy! No, do you anchor!" And he bade Hardy signal to the fleet this order. His last words were again to recommend Lady Hamilton and his daughter to his country, and to repeat several times, "Thank God, I have done my duty!"
But unfortunately for the Pretender, at the moment that the Swedish hero should prepare his armament for the earliest spring, the conspiracy exploded. Whilst the leaders of it had been flattering themselves that it was conducted with the profoundest secrecy, the English Ministry were in possession of its clue. As early as October they had found reason to induce them to intercept the correspondence of Gyllenborg, and had come at once on the letters of Gortz. The matter was kept close, and as nothing was apprehended in winter, Ministers used the time to improve their knowledge of the scheme from the inspected letters passing between Gortz and Gyllenborg. On the king's return it was resolved to act, and accordingly Stanhope laid the information regarding this formidable conspiracy before the Council, and proposed that the Swedish Minister, who had clearly, by conspiring against the Government to which he was accredited, violated the law of nations, and deprived himself of its protection, should be arrested. The Cabinet at once assented to the proposal, and General Wade, a man of firm and resolute military habits, was ordered to make the arrest of the Ambassador. The general found Count Gyllenborg busy making up his despatches, which, after announcing laconically his errand, Wade took possession of, and then demanded the contents of his escritoire. The Dutch Government acted in the same manner to Gortz, and the evidence thus obtained was most conclusive.
In the same field was to be found the poet Ebenezer Elliott, the "Corn Law Rhymer." By his addresses to his fellow-townsmen of Sheffield, his remonstrances with the infatuated followers of O'Connor, who fancied that their own cause was opposed to that of the Manchester League, and by his powerful "Corn Law Rhymes," Elliott rendered services to the movement of the highest value. A good specimen of Elliott's powers of versification is afforded by the following song:—In this awkward dilemma the king resolved to cut his way through the French, superior as they were, and regain communication with their magazines and their auxiliaries at Hanau. But Noailles was closely watching their movements; and, being aware of what was intended, took instant measures to prevent the retreat. He immediately advanced from their front to their rear, threw two bridges over the Main at Selingenstadt, and despatched his nephew, the Duke de Gramont, to secure the defile of Dettingen, through which the English must pass in their retreat. He also raised strong batteries on the opposite bank of the Main, so as to play on the English as they marched along the river. These preparations being unknown to the English, and still supposing Noailles' principal force lay between them and Aschaffenberg, instead of between them and Dettingen, on the 27th of June, at daybreak, the king struck his tents, and the march on Dettingen began. George showed a stout heart in the midst of these startling circumstances, and the soldiers, having the presence of their king, were full of spirits. George took up his position in the rear of his army, expecting the grand attack to come from that quarter; but presently he beheld his advanced posts repulsed from Dettingen, and the French troops pouring over the bridge of the Main. He then perceived that Noailles had anticipated their movements, and, galloping to the head of his column, he reversed the order of his march, placing the infantry in front and the cavalry in the rear. His right extended to the bosky hills of the Spessart, and his left to the river. He saw at once the difficulty of their situation. Gramont occupied a strong position in the village of Dettingen, which was covered by a swamp and a ravine. There was no escape but by cutting right through De Gramont's force—no easy matter; and whilst they were preparing for the charge, the batteries of the French on the opposite bank of the Main, of which they were previously unaware, began to play murderously on their flank. With this unpleasant discovery came at the same instant the intelligence that Noailles had secured Aschaffenberg in their rear with twelve thousand men, and was sending fresh reinforcements to De Gramont in front. Thus they were completely hemmed in by the enemy, who were confidently calculating on the complete surrender of the British army and the capture of the king.
During this protracted agony of suspense and alarm business was almost at a standstill. Nobody seemed to think or talk of anything but the rebellion—the chances of success and the possibility of having to submit to a republic. There could not be a more striking proof of the inability of Lord Clarendon to cope with this emergency than his dealings with the proprietors of the World, a journal with a weekly circulation of only 500 or 600 copies, which subsisted by levying blackmail for suppressing attacks on private character. It was regarded as a common nuisance, and yet the Lord-Lieutenant took the editor into his confidence, held private conferences with him on the state of the country, and gave him large sums for writing articles in defence of law and order. These sums amounted to ￡1,700, and he afterwards gave him ￡2,000 to stop an action in the Court of Queen's Bench. Mr. Birch, the gentleman in question, was not satisfied with this liberal remuneration for his services; the mine was too rich not to be worked out, and he afterwards brought an action against Sir William Somerville, then Chief Secretary, for some thousands more, when Lord Clarendon himself was produced as a witness, and admitted the foregoing facts. The decision of the court was against Birch; but when, in February, 1852, the subject was brought before the House of Commons by Lord Naas, the Clarendon and Birch transactions were sanctioned by a majority of 92.When Buonaparte reached Lyons, the soldiers, in spite of the Duke of Orleans, of Monsieur, and of Marshal Macdonald, went over to him to a man. He was now at the head of seven thousand men, and Macon, Chalons, Dijon, and nearly all Burgundy declared for him. Marseilles and Provence stood out, the authorities of Marseilles setting a price upon his head. But being now in Lyons, Buonaparte issued, with amazing rapidity, no fewer than eight decrees, abolishing every change made by the Bourbons during his absence, confiscating the property of every Emigrant who had not lost it before, restoring the tricolour flag and cockade, and the legion of honour; abolishing the two chambers, and calling a Champ-de-Mai, to be held in the month of May to determine on a new constitution, and to assist at the coronation of the Empress and the King of Rome. He boldly announced that the Empress was coming; that Austria, Russia, and Great Britain were all his friends, and that without this he could not have escaped. These decrees, disseminated on all sides, had a wonderful effect on the people, and he advanced rapidly, reaching Auxerre on the 17th of March. He rode on several hours in advance of his army, without Guards, talking familiarly with the people, sympathising in their distresses, and promising all sorts of redresses. The lancers of Auxerre and Montereau trampled the white cockade under foot and joined him. He appointed Cambacérès minister of justice; Fouché, of police; and Davoust Minister of War. But Fouché, doubting the sincerity of Buonaparte, at once offered his services to Louis, and promised, on being admitted to a private interview, to point out to the king a certain means of extinguishing the usurper. This was presumed to mean assassination by some of his secret agents, and was honourably rejected by Louis, and an officer was sent to arrest Fouché; but that adroit sycophant retired by a back door, locking it after him, got over a wall, and was the next moment in the house of the Duchess of St. Leu, and in the midst of the assembled Buonapartists, who received him with exultation.
The Spaniards had at length made Lord Wellington Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish armies, but this appointment was little more than nominal, for the Spanish generals continued as froward and insubordinate as ever; and the Spanish Government was poorer than ever, its remittances from the South American colonies, which were asserting their independence, being stopped. Wellington's dependence, therefore, continued to rest on his army of British and Portuguese—sixty-three thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry.ARREST OF THE RAJAH OF BENARES. (See p. 334.)
[See larger version]Whilst these indignant sentiments were uttering, the petitions for economical reform were pouring in from all parts of the country in such numbers that the table of the House appeared buried under them. The House went into committee upon the subject, and then Dunning rose and introduced his famous motion for a resolution in these words:—"That it is the opinion of this committee that the influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." Dunning declaimed in language bold and unsparing, and expatiated at great length on the alarming influence of the Crown, purchased by the lavish expenditure of the people's money, the people thus being made the instruments of their own slavery. He censured in stinging terms the treatment of the economical plans of Burke, the treacherous terms of approbation with which Ministers had received them, and then had trodden on them piecemeal till they had left of them the merest shred. He trusted the nation would still resent this audacious mockery of reform—this insult to the most distinguished patriots. This was the way, he contended, that this Administration had again and again acted—adding ridicule to oppression. Dunning's motion was carried, at a late hour of the night, by two hundred and thirty-three votes against two hundred and fifteen.详情
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