The plan of a very liberal constitution was discussed for several days, and ultimately adopted. It is unnecessary here to describe in detail the principles of a constitution so short-lived. One of those principles led to its speedy destruction. It was, that the President of the Republic should be chosen, not by the Assembly, but by the nation at large. This was a very extraordinary course for the Assembly to take, because they must have known that Louis Napoleon would be elected by universal suffrage; whereas their own choice would have fallen upon Cavaignac. The following was the result of the voting:—Louis Napoleon, 5,434,226; Cavaignac, 1,448,107; Ledru Rollin, 370,119; Raspail, 36,900; Lamartine, 17,910; Changarnier, 4,790; votes lost, 12,600. On the 20th of December Prince Napoleon was proclaimed President of the French Republic, in the National Assembly, by the President, M. Marrast, and took the oath required by the Constitution.Ten years passed away from the adoption of Mr. Canning's resolution, and little or nothing was effectually done to mitigate the system, not-withstanding various subsequent recommendations of the British Government. The consolidated slave law for the Crown colonies contained in an Order in Council issued in 1830, was proposed for the chartered colonies as a model for their adoption; but it contained no provision for the education or religious instruction of the slaves. All the chartered colonies, except two, Grenada and Tobago, had legalised Sunday markets, and they allowed no other time to the negroes for marketing or cultivating their provision grounds. The evidence of slaves had been made admissible; but in most of the colonies the right was so restricted as to make it entirely useless. Except in the Crown colonies, the marriage of slaves was subject to all sorts of vexatious impediments. The provision against the separation of families was found everywhere inoperative. The right of acquiring property was so limited as to prove a mockery and a delusion. The Order in Council gave the slaves the right of redeeming themselves and their families, even against the will of their owners; but all the chartered colonies peremptorily refused any such right of self-liberation. In nearly all the colonies the master had a right by law to inflict thirty-nine lashes at one time, on any slave of any age, or of either sex, for any offence whatever, or for no offence. He could also imprison his victims in the stocks of the workhouse as long as he pleased. There was no return of punishments inflicted, and no proper record. An Order in Council had forbidden the flogging of females; but in all the chartered colonies the infamous practice had been continued in defiance of the supreme Government. The administration of justice—if the term be applicable to a system whose very essence was iniquity—was left to pursue its own course, without any effort for its purification. In July, 1830, Mr. Brougham brought forward his motion, that the House should resolve, at the earliest possible period in next Session, to take into consideration the state of the West Indian colonies, in order to the mitigation and final abolition of slavery, and more especially in order to the amendment of the administration of justice. But the national mind was then so preoccupied with home subjects of agitation that the House was but thinly attended, and the motion was lost by a large majority. The Reform movement absorbed public interest for the two following years, so that nothing was done to mitigate the hard lot of the suffering negro till the question was taken up by Mr. Stanley, in 1833, in compliance with the repeated and earnest entreaties of the friends of emancipation. The abolitionists, of course, had always insisted upon immediate, unconditional emancipation. But the Ministerial plan contained two provisions altogether at variance with their views; a term of apprenticeship, which, in the first draft of the measure, was to last twelve years, and compensation to the owners—a proposition which, though advanced with hesitation, ultimately assumed the enormous amount of twenty millions sterling. On the principle of compensation there was a general agreement, because it was the State that had created the slave property, had legalised it, and imposed upon the present owners all their liabilities. It was therefore thought to be unjust to ruin them by what would be regarded as a breach of faith on the part of the legislature. The same excuse could not be made for the system of protracted apprenticeship, which would be a continuance of slavery under another name. If the price were to be paid for emancipation, the value should be received at once. This was the feeling of Lord Howick, who was then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and who resigned his office rather than be a party to the apprenticeship scheme, which he vigorously opposed in the House, as did also Mr. Buxton and Mr. O'Connell. But the principle was carried against them by an overwhelming majority. Among the most prominent and efficient advocates of the negroes during the debates were Mr. Buckingham, Dr. Lushington, Admiral Flemming, and Mr. T. B. Macaulay. The opposition to the Government resolution was not violent; it was led by Sir Robert Peel, whose most strenuous supporters were Sir Richard Vivian, Mr. Godson, Mr. W. E. Gladstone, and Mr. Hume. In the House of Lords the resolutions were accepted without a division, being supported by the Earl of Ripon, Lord Suffield, Earl Grey, and the Lord Chancellor Brougham. The speakers on the other side were the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Harewood, Lord Ellenborough, and Lord Wynford.
It was the tremendous exertions of O'Connell and his followers that secured the triumph of the Liberal party in this memorable struggle. The first trial of strength was on the election of a Speaker. Parliament met on the 19th of February, 1835, and Lord Francis Egerton, one of the members for Lancashire, moved that Sir C. Manners Sutton, who for eighteen years had filled the chair with the unanimous approbation of all parties in the House, should be re-elected. Mr. Denison, one of the members for Surrey, proposed Mr. Abercromby, a gentleman of high position at the bar, and member for the city of Edinburgh. The division, it was felt on both sides, would be decisive as to the fate of the Government, by showing whether or not it was supported by a majority of the new Parliament which was the response given to the Prime Minister's appeal to the country. The house was the fullest on record, there being 626 members present. Mr. Abercromby was elected by a majority of ten, the numbers being 316 to 306. Sir Charles Sutton was supported by a majority of the English members—23, but his opponent had a majority of ten of the Scottish. Still, had the decision been in the hands of the British representatives, Government would have had a majority of 13; but of the Irish members only 41 voted for Sutton, while 61 voted for Abercromby. From this memorable division two things were evident to the Tories, in which the future of England for the next half century was to them distinctly foreshadowed; the first was, that the Ministry was entirely, on party questions, at the mercy of the Irish Catholic members; the second, that the county members of the whole empire were outvoted by the borough members in the proportion of 35 to 20, and that a large majority of the former had declared for the Conservative side.
In the latest period scarcely any acting dramas were produced. Amongst the unacted tragedies, or such as were acted with no great success—being better fitted for private study—were Coleridge's "Remorse" and "Zapolya;" Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound" and "The Cenci;" Byron's "Cain," "Manfred," "Sardanapalus," etc.; Maturin's "Bertram," "Manuel," and "Fredolpho;" Joanna Baillie's "Plays on the Passions," "The Family Legend"—the last acted with some success at Edinburgh, through the influence of Sir Walter Scott, in 1810—Charles Lamb's "John Woodvill," Milman's "Fazio," and Walter Savage Landor's "Count Julian," "Andrea of Hungary," "Giovanni of Naples," "Fra Rupert," "The Siege of Ancona," etc., all masterly dramas, constituting a blaze of dramatic genius which, had it been adapted to the stage, would have given it a new grandeur at the close of this reign.The royal party then proceeded up the beautiful river Lee, to the city of Cork, hailed by cheering crowds at every point along the banks where a sight of the Queen could be obtained. All the population of the capital of Munster seemed to have turned out to do homage to their Sovereign. A procession was quickly formed. The Queen and the Royal Family occupied carriages lent for the occasion by Lord Bandon. The procession passed under several beautiful triumphal arches, erected at different points. The public buildings and many private houses were adorned with banners of every hue, evergreens, and all possible signs of rejoicing. The windows, balconies, and all available positions were crowded by the citizens, cheering and waving their hats and handkerchiefs. When this ceremony had been gone through, the Queen returned to the Victoria and Albert in Queenstown Harbour. At night the whole of that town was brilliantly illuminated. In Cork, also, the public buildings and the principal streets were lit up in honour of her Majesty's visit. Her Majesty, before she departed, was pleased to say to Sir Thomas Deane that "nothing could be more gratifying" than her reception.
Driven to desperation, Burgoyne now contemplated crossing the river in the very face of the enemy, and fighting his way through, and for this purpose he sent a party up the river to reconnoitre a suitable spot. Once over, he had little doubt of making his way to Fort Edward, and thence to the Canadian lakes. At this moment Gates was informed that Burgoyne had effected his passage, and that he had left only the rear-guard in the camp. He was in full march upon the camp, in the belief that he could seize it with ease, and part of his forces had actually crossed the fords of Fishkill, near which Burgoyne was strongly posted, when a spy or a deserter informed him of his mistake. Had it not been for this circumstance he must have suffered a surprise and a certain defeat, and the fortunes of Burgoyne would probably have been different. He was now on the alert to receive the Americans, and when, to his mortification, he saw them at a signal again retreating, he poured a murderous fire into them, and pursued them in confusion across the creek. This was his last chance. No news reached him from Clinton; but he ascertained that the Americans had already, in strong force, blocked up his way to Fort Edward. This was decisive. On the 13th he called together a council of war, at which every captain was invited to attend, and the unanimous result of the deliberations was that they must capitulate. Accordingly, an officer was sent with a note to the American headquarters that evening, to propose an interview between General Burgoyne and General Gates. The American General agreed to the meeting at ten o'clock the next morning. There Burgoyne stated that he was aware of the superiority of Gates's numbers, and, to spare the useless effusion of blood, he proposed a cessation of arms, to give time for a treaty to that effect.
The spirits of the Americans had been raised by the success of attempts against the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on Lake Champlain. Early in the spring, some of the leading men of Connecticut, and chief amongst them Wooster and Silas Deane, projected this expedition, as securing the passes into Canada. The volunteers who offered for this enterprise were to march across the frontiers of New York, and come suddenly on these forts. The wretched condition of carelessness existing in these important outposts, notwithstanding the alarming state of the colonies, may be known by the result. Phelps, disguised as a countryman, entered the fort on pretence of seeking a barber; and, whilst roaming about in feigned search of him, noted well the ruinous condition of the fort, and the utter negligence of the guard. The next day, Ethan Allen went alone to the fortress, ostensibly on a visit to his friend the commander, leaving his troops concealed in the wood. He represented that he wanted to conduct some goods across the lake, and borrowed twenty of his soldiers to help him. These men he made dead-drunk; and then, rushing suddenly to the fort, where there were only twenty-two soldiers more, he compelled them in their surprise to lay down their arms, set a guard over them, and entered his friend's bed-room and pronounced him a prisoner. He then advanced against the fort of Crown Point, where he found only a garrison of twelve men, and immediately afterwards secured Skenesborough, the fortified house of Major Skene, and took his son and his negroes.
This noble independence was in bright contrast to that of Scottish juries. In this very autumn, fresh trials of accused seditionists had taken place at Edinburgh, in which the conduct of Government and the servility of the Scottish juries were equally reprehensible. One Robert Watt, a ruined tradesman of that city, was put upon his trial, on the 14th of August, charged with eighteen overt acts of high treason—in exciting many individuals to arm themselves, and to meet in convention to concoct plans for the overthrow of the Government. But it appeared on the trial that Watt had long been a Government spy, employed to instigate people to these courses, by direct orders from Mr. Secretary Dundas and the Lord Advocate of Scotland. Letters from these gentlemen containing these orders, and proofs of Watt being in the pay of Government for these purposes, were produced by Mr. Henry Erskine, the prisoner's counsel. It was shown unanswerably that he had been encouraged to have arms made and distributed, and to tempt soldiers in Edinburgh. He had been thus employed to mislead and ensnare unsuspecting persons from August, 1792, to October, 1793—more than twelve months; and it was shown that after this the Government had abandoned him, and that he had then joined the Reformers in earnest. Notwithstanding this display of the infamous conduct of the Government, Watt was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.THE CATHEDRAL OF MILAN.
"Now is the stately column broke,During these proceedings, the National Assembly was sitting at Versailles in the utmost agitation. On the morning of the 13th, Mounier had risen and censured the dismissal of the Ministers, and had been seconded by Lally Tollendal, who had pronounced a splendid panegyric on Necker, and recommended an address to the king for his recall. M. de Virieu, a deputy of the noblesse, proposed to confirm by oath the proceedings of the 17th of June; but Clermont Tonnerre declared that unnecessary, as the Assembly had sworn to establish a constitution, and he exclaimed, "The Constitution we will have, or we will perish!" In the midst of this discussion came the news of the rising of the people of Paris, on the morning of the 13th, and an address was immediately voted to the king, beseeching him to withdraw the foreign troops, and authorise the organisation of the Civic Guards. The Duke de la Rochefoucauld said, the foreign troops in the hands of despotism were most perilous to the people, who were not in any one's hands. The address was sent, and the king returned a curt answer, that Paris was not in a condition to take care of itself. The Assembly then assumed a higher tone, asserted that the present counsellors of the king would be responsible for all the calamities which might take place, and declared itself in permanent session, that is, that it would sit day and night till the crisis was over. It appointed M. de Lafayette vice-president, in the place of the aged Bishop of Vienne, who was not capable of much exertion.
Growth of Material Wealth—Condition of the Working Classes—The Charity Schools—Lethargy of the Church—Proposal to abolish Subscription to the Articles—A Bill for the further Relief of Dissenters—The Test and Corporation Acts—The Efforts of Beaufoy and Lord Stanhope—Attempts to relieve the Quakers—Further Effort of Lord Stanhope—The Claims of the Roman Catholics—Failure of the Efforts to obtain Catholic Emancipation—Lay Patronage in Scotland—The Scottish Episcopalians—Illustrious Dissenters—Religion in Wales and Ireland—Literature—The Novelists: Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, and Sterne—Minor and later Novelists—Scott—Historians: Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon—Minor Historians—Miscellaneous Literature—Criticism, Theology, Biography, and Science—Periodical Literature—The Drama and the Dramatists—Poetry: Collins, Shenstone, and Gray—Goldsmith and Churchill—Minor Poets—Percy's "Reliques," and Scott's "Border Minstrelsy"—Chatterton and Ossian—Johnson and Darwin—Crabbe and Cowper—Poetasters and Gifford—The Shakespeare Forgeries—Minor Satires—Burns—The Lake School: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey—Scott, Campbell, Byron, Shelley, and Keats—Poets at the close of the Period—Improvement of Agricultural Science—Arthur Young—Drainage and Roots—Improvements in Road-making: Telford and Macadam—Brindley's and Telford's Canals—Bridges and Harbours—Iron Railways—Application of the Steam-Engine to Railways and Boats—Improvements in Machinery—Wedgwood—Manufacture of Glass—Collieries—Use of Coal in Iron-works—Improvements in various Manufactures—Scientific Discoveries—Music—Architecture—Painting—Sculpture—Engraving—Coins and Coinage—Manners and Customs.详情
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