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 18th of October the Americans crossed the frontier opposite to the village of Queenstown with three thousand men, and found only three hundred British to oppose them. But Brock was with them, and cheered them so gallantly that they made a desperate resistance. Unfortunately, Brock was killed, and then the brave three hundred retreated, and the American general, Wadsworth, posted himself, with one thousand six hundred men, on the heights behind Queenstown. But the same afternoon he was attacked by a fresh body of about one thousand British and Canadians, and had nearly his whole force killed or taken prisoners. Himself and nine hundred of his men were captured, and four hundred remained on the field slain or severely wounded. The rest, a mere remnant, escaped into the woods, or were drowned in endeavouring to swim back to their own shore. Thus ended Madison's first attempt to conquer Canada.
There was one restitution, however, which the Allies had too delicately passed over on their former visit to Paris—that of the works of art which Napoleon and his generals had carried off from every town in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands, during their wars. As has been already stated, museums had been freely pillaged by Buonaparte or by his orders. Accordingly, there was now a great stripping of the Louvre, and other places, of the precious pictures and statues which the hands of the greatest marauder that the world had ever seen had accumulated there. The "Horses of the Sun," from St. Mark's, Venice, the "Venus di Medici," the "Apollo Belvedere," the "Horses of the Car of Victory," which Buonaparte had carried away from Berlin, and many a glorious painting by the old masters, precious books, manuscripts, and other objects of antiquity, now travelled back to their respective original localities, to the great joy of their owners, and the infinite disgust of the French, who deemed themselves robbed by this defeat of robbery.Meanwhile, the British and Prussian armies advanced, and on the 1st of July Wellington was within a few miles of Paris, with his right on the heights of Richebourg, and his left on the forest of Bondy; and Blucher, at the same time, crossing the Seine on the 2nd, posted his army, with its right at Plessis-Piquet, his left at St. Cloud, and his reserve at Versailles. In this position, Commissioners were sent by the Provisional Government to Wellington, desiring a suspension of hostilities, informing him that Buonaparte had abdicated and retired from Paris. The Duke replied, that so long as the army remained in Paris there could be no suspension of hostilities, and that he had no authority to treat on any question of government. The Commissioners demanded whether the Allies would stop if Napoleon II. was proclaimed? Wellington said "No." Whether they would stop provided they chose another prince of a royal house?—probably meaning the Duke of Orleans. As the Duke said he had no orders to accept any such proposals, they were useless, and he handed to them the proclamation of Louis XVIII., offering to grant constitutional liberties, and to pardon all offenders, excepting a few who had committed the most recent and aggravated treason. These were supposed to mean Ney, Labédoyère, and some others. Wellington offered, however, to remain where he was on condition that the regular troops should be sent beyond the Loire, and the town be held by the National Guard till the king's arrival. The Commissioners did not comply with this demand; and the necessity of such compliance was sufficiently shown by this army disputing the advance of the Prussians on the 2nd of July. They had resisted Blucher at St. Cloud, Meudon, and in the village of Issy. Blucher succeeded, but with considerable loss; and the next day the French made another attack to recover Issy, but without effect.
Sanguine though the Dissenters had been respecting the growth of the principles of civil and religious liberty, of which the seeds had been sown in tears by the early Puritan confessors, they did not anticipate that the harvest was at hand. As their claims were not embarrassed by any question of divided allegiance or party politics, many members of Parliament who had not supported the relief of the Roman Catholics found themselves at liberty to advocate the cause of the Protestant Nonconformists; while almost all who had supported the greater measure of Emancipation felt themselves bound by consistency to vote for the abolition of the sacramental test. Yet the victory was not achieved without a struggle. Lord John Russell said:—"The Government took a clear, open, and decided part against us. They summoned their followers from every part of the empire. Nay, they issued a sort of 'hatti-sheriff' for the purpose; they called upon every one within their influence who possessed the faith of a true Mussulman to follow them in opposing the measure. But, notwithstanding their opposition in the debate, their arguments were found so weak, and in the division their numbers were found so deficient, that nothing could be more decided than our triumph."The system of combination had spread very widely in 1837 and 1838. So great was the terrorism produced that conviction for an outrage was very rare. The utmost precautions were taken to prevent discovery in committing assassination. Strangers were sent to a great distance for the purpose; and even if they were detected, few persons would run the risk of coming forward as witnesses. The consequence was that in nine cases out of ten combination murders were perpetrated with impunity. In 1837 the Cotton Spinners' Association at Glasgow struck to prevent a reduction of wages in consequence of the mercantile embarrassments arising from the commercial crash in the United States. This association had its branches all over Scotland and the North of England. During sixteen years a total of ￡200,000 had passed through its hands. So extensive were its ramifications that, when it struck in the spring of 1837, no less than 50,000 persons, including the families of the workers, were deprived of the means of existence, and reduced to the last degree of destitution. Crowds of angry workmen paraded the streets and gathered round the factory gates, to prevent other people from going in to work; fire-balls were thrown into the mills for the purpose of burning them. At length the members of the association went so far as to shoot one of the new hands in open day in a public street of Glasgow. In consequence of this outrage the sheriff of Lanarkshire proceeded with a body of twenty policemen and arrested the members of the secret committee, sixteen in number, who were found assembled in a garret, to which they obtained access by a trap-ladder, in Gallowgate of that city. This was on Saturday night, August 3rd. On the Monday following the strike was at an end, and all the mills in Glasgow were going. The jury found the prisoners guilty of conspiracy, and they were sentenced to transportation, but the murder not proven—a result which excited some surprise, as the evidence was thought to have warranted a general verdict of "Guilty." This was, two years after, followed by their being all liberated from confinement by Lord Normanby, then Home Secretary.
WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. (After the Portrait by G. Richmond.)In America, all at the opening of the campaign seemed to favour the English cause. The army of Washington, still suffering the utmost extremities of cold and starvation, began in earnest to mutiny. A Pennsylvanian division of one thousand three hundred men marched out of their camp at Morristown, and proceeded to Princeton, carrying with them six field-pieces and their stores, and their demands were granted by Congress. The success of this revolt encouraged others to repeat the man?uvre. On the night of the 20th of January a part of the Jersey brigade, stationed at Pompton, marched to Chatham, and made precisely the same demands. But now seeing that, if this were suffered, the whole army would quickly go to pieces, Washington sent General Howe after them, with orders to surround them, and shoot them down, if they did not surrender; and if they did surrender, immediately to seize the most active ringleaders, and execute them. Howe readily accomplished his mission; he reduced the mutinous, and shot their leaders.
Groaned to be gone.
Stanhope appears to have done his best to break Townshend's fall. He represented to the king the high character of that minister, his real services, and the injustice and impolicy of disgracing him; that he might remove him to another office, and thus answer every purpose. He could take the chief direction of affairs out of his hands, even while appearing to promote him. He therefore advised that Townshend should, without a word of dismissal or disapprobation, be offered the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, instead of the Secretaryship of State, and to this the king consented. Accordingly Stanhope was directed to write to Townshend, and also to Secretary Methuen, and he did so on the 14th of December, conveying in most courteous terms the king's desire that he should accept the Lord-Lieutenancy, and this without a syllable of discontent on the part of his Majesty. Townshend at first refused, but on the arrival of George in London he received Townshend very cordially, and so softened him as to induce him to accept the Lord-Lieutenancy, and to do the very thing he had declared it was not common honesty to do—accept the post and still remain in London, acting with the rest of the Cabinet. His political adherents, including Methuen, Pulteney, the Walpoles, Lord Orford, and the Duke of Devonshire, were contented to remain in office. The only change was that Methuen was made one of the two Secretaries along with Stanhope. It was thus imagined that the great schism in the Whig party was closed; but this was far from being the case: the healing was only on the surface. It was during this brief reconciliation that the great Triple Alliance between England, France, and Holland, was concluded.详情
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