Taking this view of his Continental neighbours, George was driven to the conclusion that his only safety lay in firmly engaging France to relinquish the Pretender. The means of the attainment of this desirable object lay in the peculiar position of the Regent, who was intent on his personal aims. So long as the chances of the Pretender appeared tolerable, the Regent had avoided the overtures on this subject; but the failure of the expedition to the Highlands had inclined him to give up the Pretender, and he now sent the Abbé Dubois to Hanover to treat upon the subject. He was willing also to destroy the works at Mardyk as the price of peace with England. The preliminaries were concluded, and the Dutch included in them; but the Treaty was not ratified till January, 1717.Lord Wellington did not give the retreating enemy much time for repose; within the week he was approaching Valladolid and Clausel was quitting it in all haste. On the 30th of July Wellington entered that city amid the enthusiastic acclamations of the people. In his haste, Clausel abandoned seventeen pieces of artillery, considerable stores, and eight hundred sick and wounded. The priests were preparing to make grand processions and sing a Te Deum in honour of Wellington's victories, as they had done at Salamanca; but he was much too intent on following up his blows to stay. He was on his march the very next day. He re-crossed the Douro to advance against King Joseph Buonaparte, who had set out from Madrid to make a junction with Marmont, but on arriving at Arevalo Joseph had learnt with amazement of the French defeat, and diverted his march, with twenty thousand men, on Segovia, in order to reinforce Clausel. Wellington left a division to guard against Clausel's return from Burgos, whither the latter had fled, and, collecting provisions with difficulty, he marched forward towards Madrid. Joseph fell back as the British advanced. Wellington was at San Ildefonso on the 9th of August, and on the 11th issued from the defiles of the mountains into the plain on which Madrid stands. On the 12th he entered the capital amid the most enthusiastic cheers—Joseph having merely reached his palace to flee out of it again towards Toledo. He had, however, left a garrison in the palace of Buon Retiro; but this surrendered almost as soon as invested, and twenty thousand stand of arms, one hundred and eighty pieces of ordnance, and military stores of various kinds were found in it. These were particularly acceptable; for it can scarcely be credited in what circumstances Wellington had been pursuing his victorious career. We learn this, however, from his dispatch to Lord Bathurst, dated July 28th—that is, very shortly before his arrival at Madrid. After declaring that he was in need of almost everything, he particularises emphatically: "I likewise request your lordship not to forget horses for the cavalry, and money. We are absolutely bankrupt. The troops are now five months in arrears, instead of being one month in advance. The staff have not been paid since February, the muleteers not since July, 1811; and we are in debt in all parts of the country. I am obliged to take the money sent to me by my brother for the Spaniards, in order to give a fortnight's pay to my own troops, who are really suffering from want of money."At this very moment Necker was receiving his dismissal. His situation at Court had been most painful. The people surrounded the palace, crying, "Vive Necker!" "Vive le Ministre du Peuple!" He was more popular than ever, because he had had no part in the insult to the Tiers état on the 23rd of June. At the same time, when the queen appeared on the balcony with a child in her arms, the fiercest execrations were uttered amid curses on the aristocrats. This made Necker all the more unpopular within the palace. He was accused of having produced all the mischiefs by advising the king to summon the States General. He retorted that the nobles and bishops were the cause, by preventing the king from following the plans he had laid down. Necker, therefore, begged to resign; but he had been always desired to remain, for the Court apprehended an outbreak if he were dismissed. But now, matters being deemed sufficiently safe—the army being in grand force—the king, on the 11th of July, took him at his word. Necker was just sitting down to dinner when he received the king's note, which begged him to keep his retirement secret, and to get across the frontier as expeditiously as possible.
In the meantime, coroners' inquests had been held on the two men who were shot by the military. In the one case the jury brought in a verdict of "justifiable homicide;" but, in the other, of "wilful murder" against the soldiers. On their part, the Government offered a reward of five hundred pounds for the discovery of any one who had been guilty of firing at the soldiers, and an additional one of five hundred pounds for the discovery of the person who had fired at and wounded Ensign Cowell, whilst on duty at the Tower, the night after the committal of Sir Francis. The Reform party in the Commons demanded whether the Government did not intend to offer a reward for the discovery of the soldiers who had fired at and wounded several of the people, and killed two of them. Whitbread moved that an inquiry should be instituted into the justice of the verdict of "wilful murder" against the soldiers, and in this he was seconded by William Smith of Norwich; but Captain Agar, who had been on duty, declared that the people had fired the first shot, and the Premier got rid of the question by asserting that an inquiry was already going on into the circumstances of the riot, and that it was not for Parliament to anticipate it.Grey followed, contending that we ought to avoid the calamities of war by all possible means. A long debate ensued, in the midst of which Mr. Jenkinson declared that on that very day, whilst they were discussing the propriety of sending an ambassador to France, the monarch himself was to be brought to trial, and probably by that hour was condemned to be murdered. All the topics regarding Holland and Belgium were again introduced. Fox was supported by Grey, Francis, Erskine, Whitbread, and Sheridan; but his motion was negatived without a division.
[See larger version]General Evans had taken the command of the Spanish Legion, which throughout the whole of the campaign was encompassed with difficulties and pursued by disasters, without any military success sufficiently brilliant to gild the clouds with glory. Within a fortnight after the debate on Lord Mahon's motion came the news of its utter defeat before Hernani. This defeat encouraged the opponents of Lord Palmerston's policy to renew their attacks. Accordingly, immediately after the recess, Sir Henry Hardinge brought forward a motion on the subject. He complained that no adequate provision was made for the support of those who were in the Legion. At Vittoria they were placed for four months in uninhabited convents, without bedding, fuel, or supplies of any kind. Not less than 40 officers and 700 men fell victims to their privations. The worst consequence was, however, the total demoralisation of the troops. Theirs was not honourable war, it was butchery. They were massacring a fine and independent people, who had committed no offence against Britain. Ill treatment, want of food and of clothing, habits of insubordination and mutiny, and want of confidence in their officers, had produced their natural effects. Let them palliate the disaster as they would, there was no doubt, he said, of the fact that a large body of Britons had suffered a defeat such as he believed no British soldiers had undergone in the course of the last five or six hundred years. The motion was defeated by 70 votes to 62, but as the Legion was dissolved in the following year, 1838, the object of the Opposition was gained.
"My lords," he said, "I rejoice that the grave has not closed upon me; that I am still alive to lift up my voice against the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy. Pressed down as I am by the hand of infirmity, I am little able to assist my country in this most perilous conjuncture; but, my lords, whilst I have sense and memory, I will never consent to deprive the royal offspring of the House of Brunswick, the heirs of——" here he faltered for some moments, whilst striving to recall the name—"of the Princess Sophia, of their fairest inheritance. My lords, his Majesty succeeded to an empire as great in extent as its reputation was unsullied. Shall we tarnish the lustre of that empire by an ignominious surrender of its rights and fairest possessions? Shall this great kingdom, which has survived whole and entire the Danish depredations the Scotch inroads, and the Norman conquest—that has stood the threatened invasion of the Spanish Armada, now fall prostrate before the House of Bourbon? Surely, my lords, this nation is no longer what it was! Shall a people that fifteen years ago were the terror of the world now stoop so low as to tell this ancient, inveterate enemy—'Take all we have, only give us peace'? It is impossible! I wage war with no man or set of men; I wish for none of their employments; nor would I co-operate with men who persist in unretracted error—who, instead of acting on a firm, decisive line of conduct, halt between two opinions where there is no middle path. In God's name, if it is absolutely necessary to declare either for peace or war, and the former cannot be preserved with honour, why is not the latter commenced without hesitation? I am not, I confess, well informed of the resources of this kingdom; but I trust it has still sufficient to maintain its just rights, though I know them not. But, my lords, any state is better than despair. Let us, at least, make one effort, and if we must fall, let us fall like men!"A regrettable episode in this rebellious movement occurred on the 29th of April in the city of Limerick. The Sarsfield Club in that place invited Messrs. Smith O'Brien, Mitchell, and Meagher to a public soirée. The followers of O'Connell, known as the Old Ireland party, being very indignant at the treatment O'Connell had received from the Young Ireland leaders, resolved to take this opportunity of punishing the men who had broken the heart of the Liberator. They began by burning John Mitchel in effigy, and, placing the flaming figure against the window where the soirée was held, they set fire to the building. As the company rushed out they were attacked by the mob. Mr. Smith O'Brien, then member for the county of Limerick, was roughly handled. He was struck with a stone in the face, with another in the back of the head, and was besides severely hurt by a blow on the side. Had it not been for the protection of some friends who gathered round him, he would probably have been killed.
Whilst the fate of Louis XVI. was drawing to a crisis, the question of danger menaced by the French revolution had been warmly discussed in the British Parliament. The Government had already called out the militia when Parliament met on the 13th of December, 1792. The speech from the throne attributed this to the attempts of French incendiaries to create disturbance in the country, coupled with the doctrines of aggression promulgated by the French Convention, and their invasion of Germany and the Netherlands, which had already taken place. The latter country was overrun with French armies, and Holland, our ally, was threatened. The Address to the Speech, in the Commons, was moved by Mr. Wallace and seconded by Lord Fielding in the same tone. Fox, on the other hand, strongly opposed the warlike spirit of the speech. He declared that he believed every statement in the royal speech was unfounded, though the invasion of Germany and of the Netherlands was no myth. Fox had not yet, despite the horrors perpetrated by the French revolutionists, given up his professed persuasion of the good intentions of that people—a wonderful blindness—and he recommended that we should send a fresh ambassador to treat with the French executive. Grey and Sheridan argued on the same side; Windham and Dundas defended the measures of Government, declaring that not only had the French forced open the navigation of the Scheldt, the protection of which was guaranteed by Britain, but that they were preparing for the regular subjugation of Holland. Burke declared that the counsels of Fox would be the ruin of England, if they could possibly prevail. He remarked that nothing was so notorious as the fact that swarms of Jacobin propagandists were actively engaged in disseminating their levelling principles in Great Britain, and were in close co-operation with Republican factions. These factions had sent over deputations to Paris, who had been received by the Jacobin society and by the Convention. He read the addresses of Englishmen and Irishmen resident in Paris, and of Joel Barlow and John Frost, deputies of the Constitutional Society of London. Burke said the question was, if they permitted the fraternising of these parties with the French Jacobins, not whether they should address the throne, but whether they should long have a throne to address, for the French Government had declared war against all kings and all thrones. Erskine replied, ridiculing the fears of Burke, and denouncing the prosecution of Paine's "Rights of Man" by Government. The Address was carried by a large majority. Fox, however, on the 14th of December, moved an amendment on the Report; and in his speech he rejoiced in the triumph of the French arms over what he called the coalition of despots, Prussia and Austria. He declared the people of Flanders had received the French with open arms; that Ireland was too disaffected for us to think of going to war; and that it was useless to attempt to defend the Dutch, for the people there would go over to France too. He again pressed on the House the necessity of our acknowledging the present French Government, and entering into alliance with it. He said France had readily acknowledged the Revolution in England, and entered into treaty with Cromwell. Burke again replied to Fox, declaring that France had no real Government at all to enter into terms with. It was in a condition of anarchy, one party being in the ascendency one day, another the next; that such was not the condition of England under Cromwell. There was a decided and settled Republican Government, but a Government which did not menace or overthrow all monarchies around it, any more than Switzerland or the United States of America did now. Dundas reminded the House that we were bound by treaties to defend Holland if attacked, and that we must be prepared for it. Whigs, who had hitherto voted with Fox, now demanded to whom we were to send an ambassador—to the imprisoned king, to the Convention, or to the clubs who ruled the Convention? Fox's amendment was rejected without a division.
The Ministers and the Prince Regent, indeed, fully approved of the conduct of these magistrates, and that was to be expected, for neither of these parties ever evinced much sympathy for the people, and consequently received very little regard in return. There was a disposition to rule by the high hand in both the Prince and the Cabinet, which eventually brought them into extreme odium, and warned them that very different times were approaching. On the reassembling of Parliament Lord Sidmouth made the most candid statement of the full and entire approbation of himself and his colleagues of this cruel and dastardly transaction. He said that the news of the event reached town on the Tuesday night; and that it was followed on the Wednesday by two gentlemen from Manchester, one of them a magistrate, to give the Government the most minute particulars regarding it; that a Cabinet Council was immediately summoned, at which the two Manchester gentlemen attended, and entered into the fullest details of all that had taken place; and that the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General, then present, gave it as their opinion that the proceedings were perfectly justified by the necessity of the case. The statement of all particulars was then dispatched to the Prince Regent, who was yachting off Christchurch, and, on the 19th, the Prince replied, by the hand of Sir Benjamin Bloomfield, expressing his "high approbation and commendation of the conduct of the magistrates and civil authorities at Manchester, as well as of the officers and troops, both regular and yeoman cavalry, whose firmness and effectual support of the civil power preserved the peace of the town on that most critical occasion." To most people this appeared to be giving commendation, not for preserving, but for disturbing the peace of the town; but Lord Sidmouth, having received this sanction, addressed letters, on the 21st, to the Lords-Lieutenant of Lancashire and Cheshire, the Earls of Derby and Stamford, requesting them to convey to the magistrates of the two counties, who were present at Manchester on the 16th, "the great satisfaction derived by his Royal Highness from their prompt, decisive, and efficient measures for the preservation of the public tranquillity." Hunt and his confederates were charged with high treason; but, on the circumstances being examined, they were found not to bear out this charge, and Hunt and his friends were indicted only for a treasonable conspiracy; and true bills to the extent of this mitigated charge were proved against Hunt and nine others at the summer assizes for the county of Lancaster.Hastings next determined to experiment on the Nabob of Oude. This Nabob, Asaph-ul-Dowlah, was an infamously dissipated prince, spending his own money in licentious pleasures, and extorting what he could from the Begums, his mother and grandmother. The old ladies lived at the palace of Fyzabad, or the "Beautiful Residence," situated in a charming district, amid hills and streams, about eighty miles from Lucknow. The Nabob's father had left them large sums of money and extensive estates, so that they kept a handsome court, and yet had the reputation of having accumulated about three million pounds sterling. The Nabob had compelled them, by coercive means, to let him have, at different times, about six hundred thousand pounds, and he thirsted exceedingly for more. Hastings determined to anticipate him. He sent for the Nabob of Oude while he was still in the fortress of Chunar, and there reminding him of his debts to the British Government, which were considerable, coolly proposed to him the robbery of his mother and grandmother. The proposal was so barefaced that, when Hastings came to make it to the Nabob, he felt that he really required some pretended reason for thus arbitrarily laying hands on the property of these innocent women, and therefore unblushingly asserted that they had been concerned in stirring up the insurrection at Benares—a matter, besides that it was so notoriously the result of Hastings' own daring arrest of Cheyte Sing, the Begums had neither motive for meddling in nor time for doing it. Till now they had regarded the British as their only protectors. They were living quietly at Fyzabad, one hundred and fifteen miles from Benares, when the insurrection broke out from very obvious causes. This infamous bargain being concluded at Chunar, Hastings relying on his agent at Lucknow, Mr. Middleton, compelling the Nabob to carry it out, retreated to Benares, and thence to Calcutta. The Nabob returned to Lucknow to enforce the diabolical scheme; but he found his mother and grandmother determined to resist the iniquitous order, and so shameful was it that even the needy and debauched Nabob felt compunctions in proceeding with it. He left it to Middleton to execute it, but Middleton, in his turn, recoiled from the odious business. Not so Hastings; cold and resolute, he wrote to Middleton, that if he could not rely upon his firmness he would free him from his charge, and himself proceed to Lucknow and enforce his own orders. To induce Middleton to abandon his scruples of conscience and honour, the ever-ready friend of Hastings, the Chief Justice of Bengal, Sir Elijah Impey, it appears, wrote to Middleton, and inculcated the necessity of obedience. Middleton and the Nabob, therefore, seized on the estates of the Begums, and suddenly surrounded Fyzabad and the palace with troops, and made themselves masters of both. But the old ladies had not been so inattentive to the approaches of the storm as to neglect the hiding of their treasures; they could not be found. Thus cruelly disappointed of the expected hoard, and the Begums remaining firm in their refusal to produce any part of it, Middleton seized on their two chief ministers, the eunuchs, Jewar Ali Khan and Behar Ali Khan. They were now thrown into prison, put in irons, and orders were given to starve and torture them till they revealed the secret of the concealment of the treasure of their mistresses. At the same time, the two ladies were placed in rigorous confinement themselves. This system was continued till they had extorted upwards of a million sterling from the Begums, and found that they might kill both them and their aged ministers, but could get no more. When the Begums and the two old men were liberated, they were told by the Resident—not now Middleton, but Bristow—that they owed this favour to the Governor-General, who had determined to have them "restored to their dignity and honour." There was another name connected with these events, and with almost equal disadvantage, that of Sir Elijah Impey, the Chief Justice. Impey, who had no jurisdiction in Oude, was found up there in the midst of these transactions, volunteering his assistance in getting up charges against the Begums. These charges were supported by a host of venal witnesses, and affidavits of their evidence were made out, and sent down to Calcutta, to justify the dark doings of Hastings.
The changes in furniture were not remarkable. During the French war a rage for furniture on the classic model had taken place; but on the return of peace Paris fashions were restored. Rosewood superseded mahogany, and a more easy and luxurious style of sofa and couch was adopted. There came also Pembroke tables, Argand lamps, register stoves, Venetian and spring blinds, a variety of ladies' work-tables and whatnots; and a more tasteful disposition of curtains and ornamental articles purchased on the Continent.CAPTAIN WALPOLE INTERCEPTING THE DUKE OF SALDANHA'S SHIPS. (See p. 306.)
[See larger version]The poets who most retained the robes of the past, without disguising the divine form within, were the Rev. George Crabbe and Cowper. The poetry of Crabbe, all written in the metre of Pope, is, nevertheless, instinct with the very soul of nature. It chooses the simplest, and often the least apparently lofty or agreeable topics, but it diffuses through these, and at the same time draws from them, a spirit and life that are essentially poetry. Nothing at the time that it appeared could look less like poetry. The description of a library, the dirty alleys, the pothouses, the sailors, and monotonous sea-shores in and about a maritime borough, struck the readers of the assumed sublime with astonishment and dismay. "Can this be poetry?" they asked. But those who had poetry in themselves—those in whom the heart of nature was strong, replied, "Yes, the truest poetry." Nature smiles as the rude torch flickers past, and shows its varied forms in its truest shape. In his "Tales of the Hall" Crabbe entered on scenes which are commonly deemed more elevated; he came forward into the rural village, the rectory, and the manor-house; but everywhere he carried the same clear, faithful, analytical spirit, and read the most solemn lessons from the histories and the souls of men. Crabbe has been styled the Rembrandt of English poetic painting; but he is not merely a painter of the outward, he is the prober of the inward at the same time, who, with a hand that never trembles, depicts sternly the base nature, and drops soothing balm on the broken heart.
The young Queen enjoyed, in the new King of Hanover, the advantage of a foil which, with all the force of contrast, placed her character as a constitutional Sovereign in the best possible light. At her accession, the Crown of Hanover, which could not be inherited by a female, was separated from the Crown of England, with which it had been united since the accession of George I. in 1714, and had descended to the Duke of Cumberland, the next surviving male heir of George III. This severance, instead of being regarded as a loss, was really felt as a great relief by the British nation, not only as terminating its connection with German politics, from which nothing but annoyance and expense could result, but, what was regarded as much more important, freeing the country from the presence of the Duke of Cumberland, who was detested for his arbitrary temper. On the 24th of June, Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, left London, apparently in a very churlish spirit, and breathing hostility to constitutional freedom in the country which was to be cursed by his rule. So strong were his feelings against constitutional government that he had not the grace to receive a deputation of the Chambers, who came to offer him their homage and their congratulations; and on the 5th of July he hastened to issue a proclamation, announcing his intention to abolish the Constitution. He not only did this, but he ejected from their offices, and banished from their country, some of the most eminent professors in the University of G?ttingen. It was thus he inaugurated a rule of iron despotism worse than that of the native princes, who had not the advantage of being brought up in a free country.详情
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