The king, who had set out on his long-premeditated visit to Ireland, leaving his wife on her death-bed, was already at Holyhead when he received the tidings of her decease. From that port Lord Londonderry wrote a note to the Lord Chancellor, in which he said, "I add this private note to the letter which the king has directed me to write, to say that his Majesty is quite well, and has evinced, since the intelligence of the queen's death was received, every disposition to conform to such arrangements and observances as might be deemed most becoming upon an occasion which cannot be regarded in any other light than as the greatest of all possible deliverances, both to his Majesty and to the country. The king feels assured that the events to which my letters refer, once in your hands, will be sifted to the bottom and wisely decided; and to the advice he may receive there will be every disposition on his Majesty's part to conform; but where papers connected with his daughter, as well as other branches of his family, are in question, your lordship will estimate the deep interest the king takes in your giving the whole your best consideration."Savings-banks afford a very good index to the improved condition of the working classes. In 1830 the total number of depositors in the United Kingdom was 412,000; and the amount deposited, ￡13,500,000. In 1840 the number of depositors had increased to nearly 800,000, and the amount to ￡23,500,000. The total number of depositors in 1845 was 1,000,000, and the amount of investments nearly ￡33,000,000. Of this sum, domestic servants, nearly all females, deposited ￡80,000.
Buonaparte took up his residence at a palace in the suburbs. In the night there was an alarm of fire; it broke out in the quarter full of bazaars and coachmakers' factories. Napoleon rushed to the spot, and the flames were extinguished by the exertions of the soldiers. The next day all was quiet, and such French as lived in Moscow came out of their hiding-places and joined their countrymen. The following night the fires burst forth again. At first the conflagration had been attributed to accident; now it was felt to be the result of design, and Russians were seen fanatically hurrying from place to place with combustibles in their hands—the preparations of Rostopschin. Buonaparte during the day had taken possession of the Kremlin, and it was in imminent danger. When the fire was discovered near it, it came with the wind; it was extinguished, but the wind changed, and fire rose on that side, and again blew towards the palace. This occurred several times during the night; it was clear that there was a determined resolve to burn down the Kremlin. The flames defied all the efforts of the soldiers; they hunted down, according to Napoleon's twenty-first bulletin, no less than three hundred incendiaries, and shot them on the spot. These were armed with fusees six inches long, and inflammables, which they threw on the roofs. Buonaparte, who that day had dispatched a letter to Alexander proposing peace, was in the utmost agitation. He walked to and fro in distraction. "These are indeed Scythians!" he exclaimed. The equinoctial gales rose in all their wild fury. Providence commenced its Nemesis. The Kremlin was on fire, and all was raging fire around it; churches, palaces, streets, mostly of wood, were roaring in the storm. It was with difficulty that Buonaparte could be induced to leave the Kremlin, and as he did so he said gloomily, "This bodes us great misfortunes." He began to foresee all the horrors which followed.On the 19th of October the French attacked the duke with sixty thousand men, and though his little army fought with its usual dogged bravery it was compelled to give way. It did this, however, only to assume a fresh position, still covering Nimeguen, where, on the 27th, the French again attacked it, and compelled it to retire from the contest. The duke led the wreck of his army across the Waal and the Rhine, and posted himself at Arnhem in Guelderland, to throw some impediment in the path of Pichegru, who was advancing, at the command of the Convention, to reduce Holland. Nimeguen, full of Dutch traitors, soon opened its gates; Maestricht did the same to Kleber; and at the end of the campaign the gloomiest prospects hung over Holland.The prisoners were at once sent to Richmond Bridewell, on the South Circular Road, where the Governor did all in his power to make them comfortable. Good apartments were assigned to them. They dined together every day, and they were permitted to receive, without restriction, the visits of their friends and admirers. The Government was the less disposed to interfere with these indulgences, as their object was not so much punishment as prevention, and besides, the traversers had appealed against the sentence. A majority of the twelve English judges affirmed the judgment of the Court of Queen's Bench, while condemning the counts on which the Irish court relied. An appeal was then made to the House of Lords. The decision was left to the five law lords—Lyndhurst, Brougham, Cottenham, Denman, and Campbell. The first two were for a confirmation of the judgment, the last three for reversal. Lord Denman, in pronouncing judgment, said, referring to the tampering with the panel, "If such practices as had taken place in the present instance in Ireland should continue, the trial by jury would become a mockery, a delusion, and a snare," a sentence which was hackneyed by repetition for years afterwards. The news of the reversal reached Dublin on the afternoon of the 5th of September. Great crowds had assembled on the pier at Kingstown, and tremendous cheers broke forth from the multitude when the Holyhead packet approached, and they saw held up a white flag, with the inscription, "Judgment reversed by the House of Lords. O'Connell is free!" The news was everywhere received by the Roman Catholics with wild excitement.
But Hastings had scarcely terminated these proceedings, when the new members of Council, appointed under the Regulating Act, arrived. On the 19th of October, 1774, landed the three Councillors, Clavering, Monson, and Francis; Barwell had been some time in India. The presence of the three just arrived was eminently unwelcome to Hastings. He knew that they came with no friendly disposition towards him, and that Philip Francis, in particular, was most hostile. The letter of the Court of Directors recommended unanimity of counsels, but nothing was further from the views of the new members from Europe. As they were three, and Hastings and Barwell only two, they constituted a majority, and from the first moment commenced to undo almost everything that he had done, and carried their object. They denounced, and certainly with justice, the Rohilla war; they demanded that the whole correspondence of Middleton, the agent sent to the court of Oude by Hastings, should be laid before them. Hastings refused to produce much of it, as entirely of a private and personal nature; and they asserted that this was because these letters would not bear the light, and that the whole of Hastings' connection with Sujah Dowlah was the result of mercenary motives. In this they did the Governor-General injustice, for, though he drew money sternly and by every means from the India chiefs and people, it was rather for the Company than for himself. They ordered the recall of Middleton from Oude, deaf to the protests of Hastings that this was stamping his conduct with public odium, and weakening the hands of government in the eyes of the natives. Still, Middleton was recalled, and Mr. Bristow sent in his place. Hastings wrote home in the utmost alarm both to the Directors and to Lord North, prognosticating the greatest confusion and calamity from this state of anarchy; and Sujah Dowlah, regarding the proceedings of the new members of Council as directed against himself, and seeing in astonishment the authority of Hastings apparently at an end, was so greatly terrified that he sickened and died.
To the Anti-Corn-Law Leaguers there was at least the consolation of finding that scarcely a speech was delivered by the Prime Minister which did not contain some distinct recognition of the great principles of political economy, showing how completely he had, in reality, embraced those doctrines. On one occasion he remarked, "We have reserved many articles from immediate reduction, in the hope that ere long we may attain that which we consider just and beneficial to all—namely, increased facilities for our exports in return. At the same time, I am bound to say that it is for our interest to buy cheap, whether other countries will buy cheap or no. We have a right to exhaust all means to induce them to do justice; but if they persevere in refusing, the penalty is on us if we do not buy in the cheapest market." Several of the most conspicuous followers of Sir Robert Peel also in their speeches recognised the abstract principles of Free Trade in a way which was ominous for the continuance of the landlords' monopoly. Among the most interesting instances of this was that of Mr. Gladstone, the young statesman who was destined afterwards to play so great a part in carrying forward the reforms of his chief.[See larger version]Parliament was prorogued on the 27th of April, for the avowed purpose of a dissolution; and in the speech by commission, Ministers stated that it was necessary the people should be appealed to as soon as possible, whilst the effect of "the late unfortunate and uncalled-for agitation was on their minds." Immediate preparations were made for a most determined contest. Money was spent on both sides most prodigally, but the new Ministers had the greater command of it—their opponents said, out of the king's privy purse. But whether that were so or not, on the system then in vogue, of Ministers in different departments drawing even millions from the Treasury long before they were legitimately wanted, they could have no lack of means of corruption; and this corruption, in bribery and in purchasing of seats, never had been carried further than on this occasion. It was calculated that it would cost Wilberforce eighteen thousand pounds to get in again, and this sum was at once subscribed by his friends. Tierney offered ten thousand pounds for two seats, and could not get them. Romilly, who was utterly averse from this corruption, was compelled to give two thousand pounds for a seat for the borough of Horsham, and then only obtained it through favour of the Duke of Norfolk. Seats, Romilly says, might have been expected to be cheap after a Parliament of only four months' duration, but quite the contrary; never had they reached such a price before. Five and six thousand pounds was a common sum given, without any stipulation as to the chance of a short Parliament. The animus which was excited in the public mind against the Catholics by the incoming Ministers, for party purposes, was terrible. The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and other religious associations took the lead in the outcry. The Catholics of England, alarmed at the violence of the sensation stirred up against them, and fearing a repetition of the Gordon riots, published an address to their fellow-countrymen, protesting their entire loyalty to the Crown and Constitution. Henry Erskine, Lord Erskine's brother, wittily said, that if Lord George Gordon were but alive, instead of being in Newgate he would be in the Cabinet. The Ministers found that they had obtained a powerful majority by these means, and when Parliament met, on the 22nd of June, they were enabled to reject an amendment to the Address by a hundred and sixty against sixty-seven in the Lords, and by three hundred and fifty against a hundred and fifty-five in the Commons. One of the very first things which the Ministers did was to reverse the mild system of the late Cabinet in Ireland, and to restore the old régime of coercion. A Bill was brought into the Commons by Sir Arthur Wellesley, now again Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, giving authority to the latter functionary to proclaim counties in a state of insurrection, and to prohibit any person from being out of his house between sunset and sunrise, under severe penalties. Then followed another Bill, compelling all persons to register what arms they had, and authorising, on the part of the magistracy, domiciliary visits in search of arms. Education of the people, both there and in England, was discouraged. A Bill for establishing a school in every parish in England, introduced by Whitbread, was allowed to pass the Commons, but was thrown out in the Lords. Parliament was then prorogued on the 14th of August.
Under sharp fighting, Wellington crossed the Nivelle on the 10th of November, and proposed to go into cantonments at St. Jean de Luz, on the right bank of the Nivelle; but he did not find himself in a position to obtain supplies there, and he therefore crossed the Nive, and occupied the country between that river and the Adour. Soult made desperate efforts to drive the enemy back; but he was compelled to fall back on his entrenched camp in front of Bayonne; and Wellington went into winter-quarters about the middle of December, but quarters extremely uncomfortable. Their late conflicts, between the 9th and 13th of December, had been made in the worst of weather, and they had marched over the most terrible roads. During these conflicts they had lost six hundred and fifty killed, and upwards of one thousand wounded and five hundred missing. The French had lost three times that number. But the French were at home amid their own people; while the allies were in a hostile country, suffering every species of want. At this moment Britain was sending clothes, arms, and ammunition to the Germans, the Sclavonians, and Dutch; but her own gallant army, which had chased the French out of Spain, and which had to maintain the honour of Great Britain by advancing towards Paris, was suffered to want everything, especially great-coats and shoes, in that severe season. Wellington had earnestly implored a reinforcement of twenty thousand men, but it did not arrive.After the Painting by BIRKET FOSTER, R.W.S.No sooner had Collot d'Herbois, Barrère, and that party triumphed over Robespierre than they summoned the members of the tribunal to their bar—ay, on the very morning of the day of his execution—and voted them honours amid much applause. The tribunal replied, that though a few traitors like Coffinhal and Dumas had found their way into the tribunal, the majority of them were sound and devoted to the Convention. Accordingly, the next day the Convention handed over to Fouquier-Tinville and his colleagues a list of fresh proscriptions of sixty-nine municipals, and a few days afterwards—namely, the 12th of Thermidor, being the 30th of July—they added twelve more, completing eighty-one victims! These were all executed within twenty-four hours. The Convention then fell into new divisions, some members contending for its being time to cease these tragedies, others insisting on maintaining them. Billaud-Varennes, Barrère, and Collot d'Herbois defended the guillotine and Fouquier-Tinville, but the greater number of the enemies of Robespierre denounced them, declared themselves the overthrowers of Robespierre, and assumed the name of Thermidorians, in honour of the month in which they had destroyed him. For the Thermidorians saw that the better part of the public had become sick of blood, and they set about contracting the Reign of Terror. They reduced the powers of the two governing Committees; they decreed that one-fourth of the members should go out every month; they reduced the revolutionary sections of Paris from forty-eight to twelve, and abolished the forty sous a day to the sansculotte patriots for their attendance. A month after the execution of Robespierre, Tallien made a fierce onslaught on the Terrorist system, and declared that there were numbers yet living who had been equally merciless with Robespierre, Couthon, and St. Just; and the next day Lecointre denounced by name Barrère, Billaud-Varennes, and Collot d'Herbois. To put an end to the Jacobin resistance, the Convention closed the Jacobin Club altogether, which had thus only survived the fall of Robespierre about four months. Thereupon the Jacobins began to denounce the Thermidorians as anti-Republicans, but they retorted that they were Republicans of the purest school—that of Marat.
Nothing could exceed the indignation of the public at the attempt that was being made by the Court, in league with an intriguing faction, to resist the national will. All classes, high and low, rich and poor, nobles and commoners, Churchmen and Dissenters, were roused into a state of wild excitement and fierce determination. Indignation meetings were everywhere held and threatening resolutions passed. The House of Commons was called upon to stop the supplies; placards were put up in the windows of shops expressing the determination of the inhabitants to pay no taxes. This determination was not confined to the middle classes; men of the highest rank and largest property, such as Lord Milton, told the tax-collector not to call again. A complete and active organisation existed in London for the purpose of stimulating and directing public feeling in the provinces, and obtaining from the people vehement petitions, which poured in to both Houses rapidly, especially to the House of Commons. The political unions were everywhere preparing for actual insurrection. In London meetings were held by day and by night, at which the most violent language was used even by persons of property and rank. The Common Council of London met, and passed resolutions denouncing those who had advised the king not to create peers as enemies of their Sovereign, who had put to imminent hazard the stability of the Throne and the security of the country. A standing committee was appointed to watch the course of events. The feeling excited by these extraordinary proceedings proved, beyond the possibility of doubt, that the whole mercantile and trading classes in the metropolis were prepared to adopt revolutionary measures, if such were necessary, for the attainment of the Reform Bill. Immense numbers of persons who had hitherto considered the proceedings of the National Political union in London too violent, were now, says the Times of the 11th of May, at their own solicitation, admitted members. Similar excitement prevailed throughout the provinces.
The Fête de la Concorde took place on Sunday, the 21st of May, and passed off without any attempt at disturbance. On the contrary, the people were in excellent humour, and everything upon the surface of society seemed in keeping with the object of the festivity. On the 26th the Assembly decreed the perpetual banishment of Louis Philippe and his family, by a majority of 695 to 63. But the ex-king was not the only pretender who occupied the attention of the new Government; a far more dangerous one was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the Emperor and then an exile in London. He had gone over to Paris when the Republic was proclaimed, but acting on the advice of the Government, he quietly retired from the country. So potent, however, was still the charm that attached to the name of Napoleon, that his heir was elected a member of the National Assembly by no less than four constituencies. It was moreover discovered that money had been distributed in Paris by his partisans; that placards in his favour were posted upon the walls, and cries of "Vive Napoleon!" resounded through the city. Within four days, three journals had been established in Paris preparing the way for the candidature of Louis Napoleon as President. After a violent debate, it was resolved by a large majority that he should be permitted to take his seat as a representative. On the Monday following Paris was excited by a rumour that Louis Napoleon had arrived, and while Lamartine was speaking in the Assembly several shots were fired, one at the Commandant of the National Guard, another at an officer of the army, and this was done to the cry of "Vive l'Empereur Napoleon!" "This," said Lamartine, "is the first drop of blood that has stained our revolution; and if blood has now been shed, it has not been for liberty, but by military fanaticism, and in the name of an ambition sadly, if not voluntarily, mixed up with guilty man?uvres. When conspiracy is taken in flagrante delicto, with its hand dyed in French blood, the law should be voted by acclamation." He then proposed a decree, causing the law of banishment of 1832 against Louis Napoleon to be executed. It was voted by acclamation, the Assembly rising in a body, and shouting, "Vive la République!"
[See larger version]
Subscriptions began to pour in for the Association, and the work went on. The year 1839 opened with bright prospects for the Anti-Corn Law crusade. Times were, indeed, changed since pseudo-Liberals had been able to make the apathy of the country an excuse for withholding aid from those who had, on principle, continued to demand justice in the matter of the poor man's loaf. The movement was rapidly becoming general. Mr. Villiers had prophesied in the last Session of Parliament that the day was not far distant when the landed interest would be compelled to treat this question with respect, and abandon the practice of shouting down the advocates of Free Trade in the Legislature. That day had now arrived, and sooner, probably, than the prophet himself had expected it. There was scarcely a large town or thickly populated district in Great Britain which had not moved, or which was not about to petition Parliament against the bread-tax. In many cases political differences were not allowed to hinder the common fellowship of citizens having such an object as the overthrow of a system that threatened to convert the mercantile community into a mass of bankruptcy, and to involve all classes in deep distress.On the 17th of July the new Premier, Lord Melbourne, who, declining, on the king's suggestion, to form a coalition with the Duke of Wellington and Mr. Stanley, had made few alterations in the Ministry, announced a less offensive Coercion Bill for Ireland, which led to an animated debate, in which Lords Wicklow and Wharncliffe, the Duke of Wellington, and other peers strongly censured the conduct of the Government for its alleged inconsistency, vacillation, and tergiversation. The new Coercion Bill passed quickly through both Houses, and became the law of the land before the end of the month. The Tithes Bill was rejected in the House of Lords, on the motion of Lord Ellenborough, by 189 votes to 122.On the 25th of November Parliament was opened, and the king, in his speech, made a strong appeal to the country for support against the unprovoked war on the part of France and Spain. The Marquis of Rockingham, in proposing an amendment on the Address in the Lords, was extremely severe. He concluded by moving that every part of the Address, except the title, should be expunged, and that, instead of what then stood, a prayer should be inserted that his Majesty would reflect on the extent of territory which marked the opening of his reign, the opulence and power, the reputation abroad, the concord at home, to which he had succeeded, and now on the endangered, impoverished, enfeebled, distracted, and even dismembered, state of the whole, after the enormous grants of his successive Parliaments, and calling on him, as the only remedy of impending ruin, to dismiss his present evil councillors, and summon new and more auspicious ones. The language was crushing, but it derived its force from its undeniable truth. Lord John Cavendish moved a similar amendment in the Commons; and the Opposition declared that it was well that his Majesty's speech expressed trust in Divine Providence, for Providence was the only friend that his Government had now left; and that our arms, both on sea and land, were paralysed by the scandalous practice of putting at the head of the army and navy mere Court favourites, and by the want of all vigour and sagacity of planning and following up our campaigns. Fox went further, and asserted that weakness and stupidity could not effect the wholesale shame and ruin that surrounded us; that there must be treachery somewhere; and that, if this were driven a little further, the people would seize on arms, and chase the miserable Cabinet from its abused seat. Lord North made the best reply that the circumstances admitted; but there were no symptoms of the Ministers resigning, or being removed by the infatuated monarch, and the amendments were rejected in both Houses, as a matter of course.详情
Copyright © 2020