If Grenville and his Cabinet, in their ignorance of human nature, had made a gross mistake in their conduct towards Wilkes, they now made a more fatal one in regard to our American colonies. These colonies had now assumed an air of great importance, and were rapidly rising in population and wealth. The expulsion of the French from Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, the settlement of Georgia by General Oglethorpe, the acquisition of Florida from Spain, had given a compactness and strength to these vast colonies, which promised a still more accelerated and prosperous growth. At this period the inhabitants are calculated to have amounted to two millions of Europeans, and half a million of coloured people, Indians and negroes. The trade was becoming more extensive and valuable to the mother country. The imports from England, chiefly of her manufactures, amounted to three million pounds annually in value. They carried on a large trade with our West Indian islands and the Spanish American colonies, and French and Dutch West Indies. They also built ships for the French and Spaniards, in the West Indies. They had extensive iron and copper mines and works in different states. They manufactured great quantities of hats in New England. The fisheries of Massachusetts produced two hundred and thirty thousand quintals of dried fish, which they exported to Spain and Portugal, and other Catholic countries of Europe. Carolina exported its rice to these countries as well as to England; and they exported vast quantities of cured provisions, dye-woods, apples, wax, leather, tobacco from Virginia and Maryland (fifty thousand hogsheads annually to England alone) valued at three hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds. The masts from New England, sent over for the British navy, were the largest in the world.
On the 26th Blucher had nearly annihilated the division of Macdonald. No sooner did he learn the return of Buonaparte to Dresden than he wheeled round upon Macdonald, taking him by surprise, and driving his troops into the rivers Katzbach and Neisse, swollen by the rains. The battle raged the most fiercely near Wahlstadt, and, on the subsidence of the floods, hundreds of corpses were seen sticking in the mud. A part of the French fled for a couple of days in terrible disorder along the right bank of the Neisse, and were captured, with their general, by the Russian commander, Langeron.The success of the Duke of Wellington in carrying Emancipation was fatal to his Government. Almost to a man the Tories fell from him, and he found no compensation in the adhesion of the Whigs. The latter were glad that their opponents had been induced to settle the question, a result which they had long desired, but had not the power to accomplish. Their gratitude, however, for this great service to the public was not sufficiently warm to induce them to enlist under the banner of the Duke of Wellington, though they were ready to come to his assistance, to protect his Government for a time against the violent assaults of the party whose feelings and prejudices he had so grievously outraged. All parties seem, indeed, to have been exhausted by the violence of the struggle, and there was no desire to attempt anything important in the way of legislation during the remainder of the Session. There was nothing extraordinary in the Budget, and it was accepted without much objection. The subject of distress among the operatives gave rise to a debate which occupied two days, and a motion for inquiry into its causes was rejected. The trade which suffered most at the time was the silk trade. It was stated that, in 1824, there were 17,000 looms employed in Spitalfields; now there were only 9,000. At the former period wages averaged seventeen shillings a week, now the average was reduced to nine shillings. By the manufacturers this depression was ascribed to the relaxation of the prohibitory system, and the admission of foreign silks into the home market. On the other hand, Ministers, and the advocates of Free Trade, ascribed the depression to the increase of production, and the rivalry of the provincial towns of Congleton, Macclesfield, and Manchester. That the general trade had increased was shown by the vast increase in the quantity of raw silk imported, and in the number of spindles employed in the silk manufacture. The Government was firm in its hostility to the prohibitory system, and would not listen to any suggestion for relief, except a reduction in the duties on the importation of raw silk, by which the demand for the manufactured article might be augmented. While these discussions were going on in Parliament the silk-weavers were in a state of violent agitation, and their discontent broke forth in acts of lawlessness and destructive outrage. They were undoubtedly in a very miserable condition. It was ascertained that there were at Huddersfield 13,000 persons, occupied in a fancy trade, whose average earnings did not exceed twopence-halfpenny a day, out of which they had to meet the wear and tear of looms, etc. The artisans ascribed this reduction to the avarice of their employers, and they avenged themselves, as was usual in those times, by combination, strikes, and destruction of property. In Spitalfields bands of weavers entered the workshops and cut up the materials belonging to refractory masters. The webs in thirty or forty looms were sometimes thus destroyed in a single night. The same course was pursued at Macclesfield, Coventry, Nuneaton, and Bedworth, in which towns power-looms had been introduced which enabled one man to do the work of four. The reign of terror extended to Yorkshire, and in several places the masters were compelled to succumb, and to accept a list of prices imposed by the operatives. In this way the distress was greatly aggravated by their ignorance. What they demanded was a restrictive system, which it was impossible to restore. The result obtained was simply a reduction of the duties on raw silk.
[See larger version]The Duke of Wellington wrote to the British Government to inform them of this event, and that the Allied sovereigns were this time resolved to make sure of the fugitive; that the Emperor of Austria had agreed to bring into the field three hundred thousand men; the Czar, two hundred and twenty-five thousand; Prussia, two hundred and thirty-six thousand; the other States of Germany, one hundred and fifty thousand; and that it was expected Holland would furnish fifty thousand. Thus nine hundred and sixty thousand men were promised, independently of Sweden and Great Britain; so that a million of men might be calculated upon to crush Buonaparte, provided that the latter Power were ready to furnish the necessary millions of money to put this mighty host in motion.
TRICOTEUSE, OR KNITTING WOMAN, OF THE NATIONAL CONVENTION.For some time after the revival of true poetry the old forms still hung about what in spirit was new. The last of the old school of any note may be said to have been Dr. Johnson and Dr. Darwin. Johnson was too thoroughly drilled into the dry, didactic fashion of the artificial past, he was too bigotedly self-willed to be capable of participating in the renovation. In fact, he never was more than a good versifier, one of that class who can win prizes for University themes on the true line and square system of metrical composition. His "London," a mere paraphrase of the third book of "Juvenal," and "The Vanity of Human Wishes" are precisely of that stamp. Johnson lived at the time of Chatterton's appearance, but he completely ignored him, and he ridiculed the simplicity of the poems introduced by Bishop Percy by absurd parodies on them, as—
Pitt, on the day mentioned, announced these facts, and declared that his Majesty had demanded satisfaction from the Court of Spain for the insult to our flag and for the usurpation of our settlement; but that considerable armaments were making in the ports of Spain. He called upon the House to address his Majesty, imploring him to take all necessary measures for the vindication of our honour and our rights. Fox naturally expressed his surprise at this announcement, after the high assurances of such profound prospects of peace little more than a fortnight before. He moreover asserted that not only were the Ministers fully aware of all these circumstances at the very moment when the Premier made these statements, but that he had himself been aware of them a considerable time before that. Pitt endeavoured to explain that all the circumstances were not known when he professed such confidence in peace; but these assertions were clearly as little true as the former, for the British Government had received information from the Spanish Government itself, as early as the 10th of the previous February. Notwithstanding, the House supported the Government warmly in its determination to resist the enormous claims of Spain and to compel her to make satisfaction. Lord Howe was desired to have a fleet in readiness, and the Spanish Court having taken a high tone to Mr. Merry, our Minister at Madrid, Mr. Fitzherbert was dispatched thither as our plenipotentiary. He arrived at Madrid in the beginning of June. At first the Spanish Court were very high, and applied to France for co-operation, according to treaty; but France, in the throes of the Revolution, had no money to spend in such armaments and, on second thoughts, Spain dreaded introducing French revolutionary sailors amongst their own. They soon, therefore, lowered their tone, agreed to surrender Nootka Sound, make full compensation for all damages, and consented that British subjects should continue their fisheries in the South Seas, and make settlements on any coasts not already occupied. Captain Vancouver, who had been with Cook as a midshipman in his last two voyages, being present at his tragical death, was sent out in the following year to see that the settlement of Nootka Sound was duly surrendered to England. He saw this done, the Spanish commander, Quadra, behaving in a very friendly manner; and he proceeded then, during the years 1792 and 1793, to make many accurate surveys of the western coasts of North and South America, in which the Spaniards gave him every assistance. The British took formal possession not only of Nootka Sound, but of the fine island called after Vancouver. Pitt was highly complimented for his firmness and ability in the management of this business.The aggressive policy of the Holy Alliance, and the French invasion of Spain, despite England's remonstrances, provoked Mr. Canning to hasten the recognition of the revolted colonies in South America. It was in defending this policy that he uttered the memorable sentence so often quoted as a specimen of the sublime:—"Contemplating Spain such as our ancestors had known her, I resolved that if France had Spain, it should not be Spain with the Indies. I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old."
During the Session of 1764 Grenville imposed several duties on American articles of export, if imported direct from the French, Dutch, and Spanish West Indies. The Americans did not dispute the right of the mother country to impose such duties on the trade of the empire in any quarter; but these imposts, seeing the object of them, were not the less galling. But Grenville did not stop there; he stated, at the time of passing these duties, that it was probable that Government would charge certain stamp duties in America. This was creating a sore place and immediately striking it. The infatuated Minister was contemplating an act of the nature of which neither he nor his colleagues had any conception.Windham, on the 3rd of April, proposed his plan for the improvement of the army. Till this time enlistments had been for life, which gave men a strong aversion to enter it, and made it the resort chiefly of such as were entrapped in drink, or were the offscouring of society, who became soldiers to enjoy an idle life and often to escape hanging for their desperate crimes. He said that we could not have recourse to conscription in this country, and to get men, and especially a better class of men, we must limit the term of service and increase the pay. To prepare the way for his contemplated regulations, he first moved for the repeal of Pitt's Additional Force Bill. This was strongly opposed by Castlereagh and Canning, who contended that nothing could be better or more flourishing than the condition of the army; and that the repeal of Pitt's Bill was only meant to cast a slur on his memory. Notwithstanding this, the Bill was repealed by a majority, in the Commons, of two hundred and thirty-five against one hundred and nineteen, and in the Lords by a majority of ninety-seven against forty. Windham then moved for a clause in the annual Mutiny Bill, on the 30th of May, for limiting the terms of service. In the infantry, these terms were divided into three, of seven years each; and in the cavalry and artillery three also, the first of ten, the second of six, and the third of five years. At the end of any one of these terms, the soldier could demand his discharge, but his privileges and pensions were to be increased according to the length of his service. Notwithstanding active opposition, the clause was adopted and inserted. He then followed this success by a series of Bills: one for training a certain number of persons liable to be drawn from the militia, not exceeding two hundred thousand; a Bill suspending the ballot for the militia for England for two years, except so far as should be necessary to supply vacancies in any corps fallen below its quota; a Bill, called the Chelsea Hospital Bill, to secure to disabled or discharged soldiers their rightful pensions; a Bill for augmenting the pay of infantry officers of the regular line; and one for settling the relative rank of officers of troops of the line, militia, and yeomanry. To these Bills, which were all passed, was added a vote for the increased pay of sergeants, corporals, and privates of the line, and an augmentation of the Chelsea pensions, and the pensions of officers' widows. Lord Howick moved that the same benefits should be extended to the officers, petty officers, and seamen of the navy, and to the Greenwich pensioners, which was carried. These were, undoubtedly, most substantial measures of justice to the two services; and the results of them soon became apparent enough in their beneficial effects on the condition of the army and navy.[See larger version]
THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS. (See p. 342.)
Mr. Canning had been offered the Governor-Generalship of India. Before his departure, he was resolved, if possible, to make a breach in the system of Parliamentary exclusiveness. On the 29th of March he gave notice of a motion to bring in a Bill for the admission of Roman Catholic peers to seats in Parliament, and on the following day supported it by a speech of great power of argument and brilliant eloquence, illustrating his position very happily from the case of the Duke of Norfolk, and his official connection with the ceremonial of the coronation. He asked, "Did it ever occur to the representatives of Europe, when contemplating this animating spectacle—did it occur to the ambassadors of Catholic Austria, of Catholic France, or of states more bigoted in matters of religion—that the moment this ceremony was over the Duke of Norfolk would become disseized of the exercise of his privileges amongst his fellow peers?—that his robes of ceremony were to be laid aside and hung up until the distant (be it a very distant!) day when the coronation of a successor to his present most gracious Sovereign might again call him forth to assist at a similar solemnisation?—that, after being thus exhibited to the eyes of the peers and people of England, and to the representatives of the princes and nations of the world, the Duke of Norfolk—highest in rank amongst the peers—the Lord Clifford, and others like him, representing a long line of illustrious ancestry, as if called forth and furnished for the occasion, like the lustres and banners that flamed and glittered in the scene, were to be, like them, thrown by as useless and trumpery formalities?—that they might bend the knee and kiss the hand, that they might bear the train or rear the canopy, might discharge the offices assigned by Roman pride to their barbarian ancestors—详情
Copyright © 2020