But matters had greatly changed at Calcutta before this. Maclean did not present the letter of resignation till October, 1776; but, in September of that year, Colonel Monson had died, and, the members in the Council being now equal, the Governor-General's casting vote restored to him his lost majority. Hastings was not the man to defer for a moment the exercise of his authority. He began instantly to overturn, in spite of their most violent efforts, the measures of Francis and friends. He dismissed Goordas from the chief authority in Oude, and reinstated his "dear friend, Nat Middleton," as he familiarly termed him. He revived his land revenue system, and was planning new and powerful alliances with native princes, especially with the Nabob of Oude, and the Nizam of the Deccan, not omitting to cast a glance at the power of the Sikhs, whose dangerous ascendency he already foresaw. In the midst of these and other grand plans for the augmentation of British power in India—plans afterwards carried out by others—he was suddenly astounded by the arrival of a packet in June, 1777, containing the news of his resignation, and of its acceptance by the Directors. He at once protested that it was invalid, as he had countermanded the resignation before its presentation; but General Clavering, as next in succession, at once claimed the office of Governor-General, and Francis, in Council, administered the oath to him. Clavering immediately demanded the keys of the fort and the treasury from Hastings; but that gentleman refused to admit his own resignation, much less Clavering's election to his post. Here, then, were two would-be Governor-Generals, as Europe had formerly seen two conflicting Popes. To end the difficulty, Hastings proposed that the decision of the question should be referred to the Supreme Court. It is wonderful that Clavering and Francis should have consented to this, seeing that Impey, Hastings' friend, and the judge of Nuncomar, was at the head of that Court; but it was done, and the Court decided in Hastings' favour. No sooner was Hastings thus secured, than he charged Clavering with having forfeited both his place in the Council, and his post as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, by attempting to seize on the Governor-Generalship. Clavering and Francis were compelled to appeal once more to the Supreme Court, and this time, to his honour, Impey decided in favour of Clavering. Clavering, who had been deeply mortified by his defeat, died a few days after this occurred, in August, 1777. By this event the authority of Hastings in the government was sufficiently restored, notwithstanding that Wheler generally sided with Francis, for him to carry his own aims.
In the meanwhile her Majesty was pleased to communicate to the members of the Privy Council assembled at Buckingham Palace on the 23rd of November, her intention of contracting an alliance with a Prince of the family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The story of her affection for her cousin is well known through Sir Theodore Martin's admirable "Life of the Prince Consort." The declaration was made by her Majesty in the following terms:—"I have caused you to be summoned at the present time in order that I may acquaint you with my resolution in a matter which deeply concerns the welfare of my people and the happiness of my future life. It is my intention to ally myself in marriage with the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Deeply impressed with the solemnity of the engagement which I am about to contract, I have not come to this decision without mature consideration, nor without feeling a strong assurance that, with the blessing of Almighty God, it will at once secure my domestic felicity, and serve the interests of my country. I have thought fit to make this resolution known to you at the earliest period, in order that you may be fully apprised of a matter so highly important to me and to my kingdom, and which, I persuade myself, will be most acceptable to all my loving subjects." Upon this announcement the Council humbly requested that her Majesty's most gracious declaration might be made public, which her Majesty was pleased to order accordingly.One of the first things which the Regent did was to re-appoint the Duke of York to the post of Commander-in-chief of the Forces. Old Sir David Dundas, as thoroughly aware of his unfitness for the office as the army itself was, had requested leave to retire, and on the 25th of May the appointment of the duke was gazetted. There was a considerable expression of disapproval in the House of Commons of this measure. Lord Milton moved that it was highly improper and indecorous, and he was supported by Lord Althorp, Mr. Wynn, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Whitbread, and others; but the facts which had come to light through Mrs. Clarke's trials, both regarding her and her champion, Colonel Wardle, had mitigated the public feeling towards the duke so far, that the motion was rejected by a majority of two hundred and ninety-six against forty-seven. It is certain that the change from the duke to Sir David Dundas, so far as the affairs of the army were concerned, was much for the worse. The duke was highly popular in that office with the soldiers, and he rendered himself more so by immediately establishing regimental schools for their children on Dr. Bell's system.ASSASSINATION OF SPENCER PERCEVAL. (See p. 23.)
Meanwhile the second and rear divisions of the army under Davoust and Ney were labouring hard to reach Smolensk, assailed by all the horrors of the season, and of the myriad Russians collected around them, who killed all who straggled or fell behind from fatigue and starvation. The rearguard of Ney suffered most of all, for it was not only more completely exposed to the raids of the Cossacks and of the enraged peasants, but they found every house on their way burnt, and nothing around them but treeless, naked plains, over which the freezing winds and the hurrahing Cossacks careered in deadly glee. At the passage of the Dnieper, it was only by stupendous exertions that Ney saved any part of his army. He lost many men, and much of his artillery. On the 13th of November, as he approached Smolensk, he was appalled by the apparition of the remains of the army of Italy pursued by a cloud of Cossacks, who were hewing them down by thousands. Eugene, the Viceroy of Italy, had been sent with this division on a northward route to support Oudinot, who was retreating before Wittgenstein; but he had found it impossible to reach Oudinot, and had again made for Smolensk. His passage of the river Vop had been no less destructive than the passage of the Dnieper by Ney. He had lost all his baggage and twenty-three pieces of cannon and was only saved by the fortunate arrival of Ney.
The new Ministry consisted of Addington, son of Chatham's old physician, Dr. Addington, as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer: the Duke of Portland, President of the Council; Lord Eldon, Chancellor; Earl St. Vincent, First Lord of the Admiralty; the Earl of Chatham, Master-General of the Ordnance; Lord Pelham, Secretary of the Home Department; Lord Hawkesbury, the eldest son of the Earl of Liverpool, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Lord Hobart, Secretary for the Colonies. Several of Pitt's Ministers remained, but the important members, Grenville, Dundas, Woodham and Spencer retired with him. It was soon seen, however, that though Pitt was out of office his principles dominated in it, and that there was no chance of a change of system. The Cabinet was one of mediocrities, and was probably regarded by Pitt as a convenient makeshift until he could return to power.
He next attacked and took Montereau from the Allies, but at a terrible cost of life. Finding then that the Austrians and Prussians were once more contemplating a junction, he sent an answer to the letter of the Allied sovereigns, but it was addressed only to the Emperor of Austria, and its tenor was to persuade the Emperor to make a separate peace. "Only gain the Austrians," he had said to Caulaincourt, on sending him to Chatillon, "and the mischief is at an end." The Emperor sent Prince Wenceslaus of Liechtenstein to Napoleon's headquarters, and it was agreed that a conference should be held at Lusigny, between him and Count Flahault, on the 24th of February. But Buonaparte did not cease for a moment his offensive movements. On the night of the 23rd he bombarded Troyes, and entered the place the next day. The Congress at Chatillon still continued to sit, Caulaincourt amusing the sovereigns and the ambassador of Great Britain, Lord Aberdeen, with one discussion after another, but having secret instructions from Buonaparte to sign nothing. At length he wrote to him, on the 17th of February, saying, "that when he gave him his carte-blanche it was for the purpose of saving Paris, but that Paris was now saved, and he revoked the powers which he had given him." The Allies, however, continued till the 15th of March their offer of leaving France its ancient limits, and then, the time being expired, they broke up the conference. It is said that as Caulaincourt left Chatillon he met the secretary of Buonaparte bringing fresh powers for treating, but it was now too late. On the 1st of March the Allies had signed a treaty at the town of Chaumont, pledging themselves to combined action against Napoleon, should he still prove to be obstinate.[See larger version]No sooner had the insurrection of Aranjuez taken place, and Ferdinand been proclaimed king, than, so early as April the 8th, General Casta?os informed Sir Hew Dalrymple, the governor of Gibraltar, that there was an end of the policy of Godoy, which had made Spain the slave of France and the foe of Britain. Sir Hew sent a prompt dispatch to England with the news, and, till he could receive instructions from the British Government, he maintained friendly relations with the Spaniards. When the junta of Seville was formed, and there was every reason to believe that Spain would make a determined resistance, on his own responsibility he encouraged the merchants of Gibraltar to make a loan of forty thousand dollars to the junta without premium; and Captain Whittingham, an officer well acquainted with Spain, went to Seville to assist in planning the best means of preventing the French from passing the Sierra Morena. On the 8th of June Sir Hew received a dispatch from Lord Castlereagh, informing him that the British Government had determined to send ten thousand men immediately to the assistance of the Spanish patriots. But this was preceded four days by a proclamation which had outstripped Lord Castlereagh's dispatch, stating that his Majesty had ordered all hostilities towards Spain to cease, and all Spanish ships at sea to be unmolested. Admiral Collingwood took the command of the whole British fleet on the coast of Spain, ready to co-operate. He landed Mr. Cox to proceed to Seville as confidential agent, and about the middle of June General Spencer arrived at Cadiz with five thousand British soldiers. About the same time, the junta of Seville declared themselves at peace with Great Britain, and sent four commissioners to England to settle diplomatic relations between the countries.
The Government was paralysed by the greatness of the evil. While the House of Commons had been sitting, the mob had attacked Lord North's house, in Downing Street, close by; but a party of soldiers had succeeded in interposing themselves between the mansion and its assailants. The house of the Minister was saved; but the gigantic mass of rioters then rolled towards the City, vowing that they would sack Newgate, and release their comrades, who had been sent there on Friday. On the 6th they appeared in vast numbers before that prison, and demanded of Mr. Akerman, the keeper, the delivery of their associates. Their cry was still "No Popery!" though their object was havoc: they were armed with heavy sledge-hammers, crowbars, and pick-axes; and on the keeper refusing to liberate the prisoners, they commenced a desperate attack on his doors and windows, and, collecting combustibles, flung them into the dwelling. It was speedily in flames, and, whilst it burned, the mob thundered on the iron-studded doors of the prison with their tools. But, as they made no impression, they formed heaps of the keeper's furniture, and made a fire against the doors. The fires spread from the keeper's house to the prison chapel, and thence to some of the doors and passages leading into the wards. The mob raised terrible yells of rage and triumph, which were as wildly echoed by the prisoners within, some of whom were exulting in the expectation of rescue, and others shrieking, afraid of perishing in the conflagration. The crowd, now more furious than ever, from greedily drinking the wine and spirits in the keepers cellar, rushed through the gaps made by the flames, and were masters of the prison. They were led on by ferocious fellows, who were but too familiar with the interior of the place. The different cells were forced open, and the now half-maddened prisoners were either rudely dragged out, or they rushed forth in maniacal delight. Three hundred of these criminals, some of them stained with the foulest offences, and four of them under sentence of execution on the following Thursday, were let out, to add to the horrors of the lawless tumult. They came out into the surging, roaring multitude to raise their shouts at the sight of the great prison, which had lately been rebuilt at a cost of one hundred and forty thousand pounds, in one vast conflagration. Nothing was left of it the next morning but a huge skeleton of blackened and frowning walls.Sir John Soane, who had been a pupil of Dance, Holland, and Sir William Chambers, introduced a more purely Greek style, and his achievements may be seen in Dulwich Gallery and Trinity Church, Marylebone. The most eminent disciples of this school were William Wilkins and Sir Robert Smirke. Wilkins was a servile copyist, and the National Gallery is the chief monument of his skill, or want of it. Sir Robert Smirke was of a higher order, and his erection of Covent Garden Theatre, the Mint, the Post Office, the College of Physicians, the law courts at Gloucester, Lowther Castle, etc., speak for themselves. Nash, the contemporary and successor of these architects, has left us abundance of his Gr?co-Romano-Italian medleys in the church in Langham Place, Regent's Park, and Buckingham Palace. The great merit of Nash was, that, like the brothers Adam, he gave us space, and showed, as in Regent's Park, what was needed for an immense metropolis. Towards the end of the reign Gothic architecture was more cultivated, and one of Wyatt's last works was Ashridge House, in Buckinghamshire, a vast and stately Gothic pile, imposing in general effect, but far from pure in style. Still less so was Eaton Hall, in Cheshire, built by William Pordon; but the real Anglo-Gothic was now receiving the true development of its principles by the works of James Bentham, Carter, John Britton; and, finally, Thomas Rickman, in 1816, published his "Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture," which placed these principles perspicuously before the public.
On the 27th of April Pitt introduced a message from the king, recommending the settlement of a suitable provision on the Prince of Wales on his marriage. The Prince expected that Pitt would propose and carry, by means of his compliant majority, which had readily voted away millions to foreign monarchs, a vote for the immediate discharge of his debts. His astonishment may therefore be imagined, when Pitt proposed that Parliament should grant him such an income as should enable him, by decent economy, to defray these debts by instalments through a course of years. Having stated these debts at six hundred and thirty thousand pounds, he proposed to increase the Prince's allowance from seventy-five thousand to one hundred and forty thousand pounds, an increase of sixty-five thousand pounds a-year. Twenty-five thousand pounds of this were to be set apart every year for the liquidation of the debts in the course of twenty-seven years. This was, in fact, only giving him an increase on his marriage of forty thousand pounds per annum; but so unpopular was the Prince that not even that amount of money could be obtained. The question was warmly debated during two months, and it was not till the 27th of June that it was finally settled in still worse terms for the Prince, namely, that his allowance should be one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds per annum, with the income of the Duchy of Cornwall, about fifteen thousand pounds more, thus making up the one hundred and forty thousand pounds; but out of this seventy-five thousand pounds per annum were appropriated to the payment of his debts, leaving him only sixty-seven thousand pounds a year clear for his own expenditure, or eight thousand pounds per annum less than his previous allowance. With the grant to the Prince this Session closed, namely, on the 27th of June.
These were his first decrees:—I. The British Isles were declared in a state of blockade. II. All commerce and correspondence with Britain was forbidden. All British letters were to be seized in the post-houses. III. Every Englishman, of whatever rank or quality, found in France, or the countries allied with her, was declared a prisoner of war. IV. All merchandise or property of any kind belonging to British subjects was declared lawful prize. V. All articles of British manufacture, and articles produced in her colonies, were, in like manner, declared contraband and lawful prize. VI. Half of the produce of the above confiscations was to be employed in the relief of those merchants whose vessels had been captured by British cruisers. VII. All vessels coming from Britain or British colonies were to be refused admission into any harbour in or connected with France. These decrees were to be binding wherever French power extended, but they had no effect in checking the commerce of Britain; the distress to Continental merchants, however, and the exasperation of the people deprived of British manufactures, grew immediately acute. Bourrienne says that the fiscal tyranny thus created became intolerable. At the same time, the desire of revenue induced Buonaparte to allow his decrees to be infringed by the payment of exorbitant licences for the import of British goods. French goods, also, were lauded with incredible impudence, though they were bought only to be thrown into the sea. Hamburg, Bordeaux, Nantes, and other Continental ports solicited, by petitions and deputations, some relaxation of the system, to prevent universal ruin. They declared that general bankruptcy must ensue if it were continued. "Be it so," replied Buonaparte, arrogantly; "the more insolvency on the Continent, the more ruin in England." As they could not bend Buonaparte, merchants, douaniers, magistrates, prefects, generals, all combined in one system of fraudulent papers, bills of lading or certificates, by which British goods were admitted and circulated under other names for sufficient bribes. The only mischief which his embargo did was to the nations of the Continent, especially Holland, Belgium, Germany, and to himself; for his rigour in this respect was one of the things which drove the whole of Europe to abominate his tyranny, and rejoice in his eventual fall.
The supplies and the Mutiny Bill were now passed without much difficulty, but Ministers did not venture to introduce an Appropriation Bill. On the 23rd, Lord North, stating that the dissolution of Parliament was confidently asserted out of doors, declared that such a dissolution, without passing an Appropriation Bill, would be an unparalleled insult to the House. He expressed his astonishment that the Minister did not condescend to utter a syllable on the subject of the proposed change. Pitt, now confident of his position, replied that gentlemen might ask as many questions as they pleased; that he had adopted a course which was advantageous to the country, and did not feel bound to enter then into any explanations. All mystery, however, was cleared up the next day, for the king went down to the House of Lords and prorogued Parliament, announcing that he felt it his duty to the Constitution and the country to convoke a new Parliament. Accordingly, on the following day, the 25th of March, he dissolved Parliament by proclamation.The amended copy of the proposed tariff was laid on the table of the House of Commons on the 5th of May; and its details explained by the Premier in a speech which served to bring out still more strongly the anomalous position in which he was placed. His speech was a long elaborate statement distinguished for its excellent temper, its clearness, and, above all, by its singularity as delivered by the Conservative leader. He went over all the sections of his subject, showing how the removal of prohibitions would benefit everybody; how the reduction of duties on raw materials would stimulate trade; how the diminished duties on provisions would make living cheaper for all; and how the lesser protection to manufactures would injure none. Such, he said, were the grounds of the change which it was his intention to carry through; adding, "I know that many gentlemen who are strong advocates for Free Trade may consider that I have not gone far enough. I believe that on the general principle of Free Trade there is now no great difference of opinion, and that all agree in the general rule that we should purchase in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest." Loud cheers from the Opposition benches here interrupted him. Turning in the direction of the cheerers, he said, "I know the meaning of that cheer. I do not now wish to raise a discussion on the Corn Laws or the sugar duties. I have stated the grounds, on more than one occasion, why I consider these exceptions to the general rule, and I will not go into the question now. I know that I may be met with the complaints of gentlemen opposite of the limited extent to which I have applied the general principle to which I have adverted to these important articles. I thought, after the best consideration I could give to the subject, that if I proposed a greater change in the Corn Laws than that which I submitted to the consideration of the House, I should only aggravate the distresses of the country, and only increase the alarm which prevailed among important interests. I think that I have proposed, and the Legislature has sanctioned, as great a change in the Corn Laws as was prudent, considering the engagements existing between landlord and tenant, and also the large amount of capital which has been applied to the cultivation of the soil. Under these circumstances, I think that we have made as great a change as was consistent with the nature of the subject."详情
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