Measures to alter this disgraceful state of things were repeatedly introduced, but as steadily rejected. The collection of tithes seemed to occupy the chief attention of the Established clergy of Ireland, even where they rendered no spiritual services, and eventually led to a state of irritation and of dire conflict between the Protestant incumbent and the Catholic population which did not cease till after the death of George III. The clergyman called in the soldiery to assist him in the forcible levying of tithes, and the bloodshed and frightful plunder of the poor huts of the Irish in this bellum ecclesiasticum became the scandal of all Christendom ere it was ended by the Act of a later reign, which transferred the collection of tithes to the landlord in the shape of rent.10
But these were by no means the total of the royal troubles at this period. The youngest and most beloved of George III.'s sisters, Caroline Matilda, had been married to Christian VII. of Denmark. This young man was little better than an idiot, and the poor princess was married to him at the age of sixteen. The marriage of this young couple, and their ascent to the throne, were nearly simultaneous; and, contrary to the usual custom of a monarch, it was deemed advisable that he should travel. In his tour he fell in with the celebrated Struensee, a young physician of Altona. Christian VII., like all weak monarchs, must have favourites. Struensee speedily became the perfect master of Christian's mind and actions, and on their return to Copenhagen he was raised to the rank of count, and soon after was made Prime Minister. His enemies were of course numerous, and scandal soon connected his name with that of the queen. All this especially favoured the plans of the base queen dowager, who, in league with the hostile nobles, feigned a plot against the king; obtained from him, in his bed at midnight, an order for the arrest of the queen, Struensee, and others. The queen was seized half dressed. Struensee was executed with especial barbarities; but the King of England interfered to save his sister, and to procure the succession to her son. The unhappy young queen, however, was separated for ever from her two children, and conveyed to Zell, in Hanover—the same castle or prison where the unhappy wife of George I. had pined away her life. There she died after a few years, protesting her innocence, though Struensee had confessed his guilt.
The treaty between Russia, Prussia, and Austria for the first division of Poland was signed at St. Petersburg on the 5th of August, 1772. The three robber powers now promised to rest satisfied with their booty; to respect the rights and remaining territories of Poland—words hollow and worthless as they who used them. The invaders divided at this time about one-third of Poland between them. Prussia appropriated the whole of Pomerania, part of Great Poland, the bishopric of Warmia, and the palatinates of Marienburg and Culm; with complete command of the lower part of the Vistula. The whole of this territory did not exceed eight hundred square miles, but it was a territory of vast importance to Prussia, as it united Pomerania with the rest of that kingdom. Russia and Austria acquired immensely more in extent. Russia took nearly the whole of Lithuania, with the vast country between the rivers Dwina and Dniester. Austria secured the country along the left bank of the Vistula from Wieliczka to the confluence of the Vistula and the Viroz. But Russia had Galicia, the palatinate of Belz, and a part of Volhynia. Unsupported by France, England had no course but to acquiesce in the arrangement.Signing the Act of Separation and Deed of Demission at Tanfield, Edinburgh, May 23rd, 1843.
"Such is the extraordinary power of the Association, or, rather, of the agitators, of whom there are many of high ability, of ardent mind, of great daring (and if there was no Association, these men are now too well known not to maintain their power under the existing order of exclusion), that I am quite certain they could lead on the people to open rebellion at a moment's notice; and their organisation is such that in the hands of desperate and intelligent leaders they would be extremely formidable. The hope, and indeed the probability, of present tranquillity rests upon the forbearance and the not very determined courage of O'Connell, and on his belief, as well as that of the principal men amongst them, that they will carry their cause by unceasing agitation, and by intimidation, without coming to blows. I believe their success inevitable; that no power under heaven can arrest its progress. There may be rebellion—you may put to death thousands—you may suppress it, but it will only be to put off the day of compromise; and, in the meantime, the country is still more impoverished, and the minds of the people are, if possible, still more alienated, and ruinous expense is entailed upon the empire. But supposing that the whole evil was concentred in the Association, and that, if that was suppressed, all would go smoothly, where is the man who can tell me how to suppress it? Many cry out that the nuisance must be abated—that the Government is supine—that the insolence of the demagogues is intolerable; but I have not yet found one person capable of pointing out a remedy. All are mute when you ask them to define their proposition. All that even the most determined opposers to Emancipation say is, that it is better to leave things as they are than to risk any change. But will things remain as they are? Certainly not. They are bad; they must get worse; and I see no possible means of improving them but by depriving the demagogues of the power of directing the people; and by taking Messrs. O'Connell, Sheil, and the rest of them, from the Association, and placing them in the House of Commons, this desirable object would be at once accomplished.HERRENHAUSEN CASTLE, HANOVER.The result of the general election in the Upper Province was favourable to the Government; for of the 62 members returned, 44 were opposed to the organic changes demanded by the majority of the old Assembly. The result was that the Government and the legislature of this province were able to work together harmoniously and satisfactorily. This result, however, was said to be obtained by extraordinary, and not always legitimate influence, on the part of the Government, and there was a large body of malcontents who joined the Lower Province in its rebellion, which occurred in 1837. The Governor of Upper Canada, who brought about this favourable change, was Sir Francis Head, who held the post of major in the army in 1835, when he was employed as Assistant Poor Law Commissioner in the county of Kent. Lord Glenelg, recognising in him a man of capacity and energy, fitted for a great emergency, suddenly appointed him Governor of Upper Canada. He rendered most important service afterwards in conducting the military operations by which the rebellion was put down. Lord Gosford was not so successful in the Lower Province. He was accused of having misled the people by holding out false hopes, and both he and the Colonial Secretary, under whose instructions he acted, were charged with something like treachery, by hinting at great concessions and keeping the word of promise to the ear, for the mere purpose of quieting the agitation and evading the reforms demanded. Lord Gosford, unable to stem the torrent of disaffection, dissolved the Assembly, and was recalled in order to make way for Sir J. Colborne. Both these Governors rendered the most important service in putting down the rebellion which soon afterwards broke out, and effecting the pacification and union of the provinces, which, as we shall hereafter see, were placed upon the solid basis of self-government and equal rights.
MURAT (KING OF NAPLES). (After the Portrait by Gerard.)By permission of Messrs. S. Hildesheimer & Co., Ld. Reproduced by André & Sleigh. Ld., Bushey, Herts.
Soon it became apparent that the Italians were disunited, monarchists against republicans, and Milanese against Piedmontese. Radetzky, meanwhile, had received ample reinforcements, and in June set himself to reduce Venetia. Fortress after fortress fell, and by the end of the month the province, with the exception of the capital, was once more in Austrian hands. Then the sturdy old warrior crushed the Piedmontese at Custozza and drove them pell-mell across the Mincio, after a battle which lasted three days. Charles Albert, unequal to his position, and worn out by the dissensions of his staff, surrendered Milan without a struggle, and by August, 1848, the fate of Lombardy was sealed. In vain the Lombards appealed to France; the cautious Cavaignac had there replaced the sentimental Lamartine. He offered, indeed, to join with England in mediation, and, with his consent, Lord Palmerston proposed the terms which had been previously offered by Baron Hummelauer. The Austrians, however, declined to negotiate on that basis, and at last on the 25th of September declared that they would consent to no cession of territory. However, there was a cessation of hostilities.On the 15th of April Buonaparte quitted Paris, for the last time as a permanent abode; on the 16th he was at Mainz, and on the 25th at Erfurt. Before quitting Paris he had appointed Maria Louisa regent in his absence. This he deemed a stroke of policy likely to conciliate the Emperor of Austria. But the Empress's power was merely nominal. She could appear at the Council board, but it was only as the instrument of the Emperor; he carried all active power along with him, and ruled France from his camp. He had still upwards of fifty thousand troops in the garrisons of Prussia, commanded by Eugene, the Viceroy of Italy; and he advanced at the head of three hundred thousand men. Eugene Beauharnais had been compelled necessarily to evacuate Dantzic, Berlin, and Dresden as the Russians and Prussians advanced, and to retreat upon the Elbe. In the month of May Bernadotte, according to concert, crossed over to Stralsund with thirty-five thousand men, and awaited the reinforcements of Russians and Germans which were to raise his division to eighty thousand men, with which he was to co-operate with the Allies, and protect Hamburg. The Allies, under Tetterborn, Czernicheff, and Winzengerode, spread along both sides of the Elbe, the Germans rising enthusiastically wherever they came. Hamburg, Lübeck, and other towns threw open their gates to them. The French general, Morand, endeavouring to quell the rising of the people of Lüneburg, was surprised by the Russians, and his detachment of four thousand men was cut to pieces, or taken prisoners. Eugene marched from Magdeburg to surprise Berlin, but was met at M?ckern, defeated, and driven back to Magdeburg. Such was the success of the Allies, and the exulting support of the people, that even Denmark and Saxony began to contemplate going over to the Allies. Blucher entered Dresden on the 27th of March, driving Davoust before him, who blew up an arch of the fine bridge to cover his retreat. The Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia entered the city soon afterwards, and were received by the inhabitants with acclamations. On the 28th of April died the old Russian general, Kutusoff, at Bautzen, and was succeeded by General Wittgenstein.The deaths of monarchs, however, were peculiarly fatal to this ambitious man; that of Queen Anne had precipitated him from power, and rescued his country from the ruin he prepared for it; that of George now came as opportunely to prevent the national calamity of his ministry. George set out for Hanover on the 3rd of June, accompanied, as usual, by Townshend and the Duchess of Kendal. Just before his departure the youthful Horace Walpole saw him for the first and last time. When the king was come down to supper, Lady Walsingham took Walpole into the Duchess's ante-room, where George and his favourite were alone. Walpole knelt and kissed the king's hand. George appeared in his usual health.
On the 25th of January Buonaparte conferred the Regency again on Maria Louisa, appointed King Joseph his lieutenant in Paris—the poor man who could not take care of the capital which had been conferred on him—and quitted Paris to put himself at the head of his army. This army, in spite of all his exertions, did not exceed eighty thousand men; whilst the Allies were already in France with at least a hundred and fifty thousand, and fresh bodies marching up in succession from the north. He arrived the next day at Chalons, where his army lay, commanded by Marmont, Macdonald, Victor, and Ney. The Austrians, under Schwarzenberg, had entered France on the 21st of December by the Upper Rhine, and directed their march on Lyons. On the 19th of January, a few days before Buonaparte quitted Paris, they had already taken Dijon, and were advancing on Lyons, where, however, they received a repulse. Blucher, at the head of forty thousand men, called the Army of Silesia, about the same time entered France lower down, between Mannheim and Coblenz, at four different points, and pushed forward for Joinville, Vitry, and St. Dizier. Another army of Swedes, Russians, and Germans, under the Crown Prince of Sweden, was directed to assist in clearing Holland and Belgium, as the Crown Prince naturally wished to take no part in the invasion of his native soil. Whilst, therefore, Bernadotte remained to protect Belgium, Sir Thomas Graham, who, with General Bülow, had cleared Holland of the French, except such as occupied the fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom, remained to invest that stronghold, and Bülow and Winzengerode entered France by its northern frontier.
The next step in the increase of means of traffic was the construction of canals. The rivers had previously been rendered more navigable by removing obstructions, deepening channels, and making good towing-paths along their banks; but now it was projected to make artificial rivers. In this scheme, Richard Brindley, under the patronage of the Duke of Bridgewater, was the great engineer; and his intrepid genius dictated to him to carry these canals over hills by locks, over rivers by aqueducts, and through the heart of hills by tunnels. These enterprises at that moment appeared, to the ordinary run of civil engineers, as rash experiments, which were sure to prove abortive. As all new ideas are, these ideas, now so commonplace, were ridiculed by the wise ones as little short of madness. Mr. Brindley's first great work was the formation of the Duke of Bridgewater's canal, from Worsley to Manchester. In this he at once proved all his plans of locks, tunnels, and aqueducts. He conducted his canal by an aqueduct over the river Irwell, at an elevation of thirty-nine feet; and those learned engineers who had laughed at the scheme as "a castle in the air," might now see boats passing over the river at that height with the greatest ease, while other boats were being drawn up the Irwell against the stream and under the aqueduct with five times the labour. At Worsley the canal was conducted into the very heart of the coal-mine by a tunnel, with branches, which conducted the boats up to the different parts of the mine, so that the coal could be loaded on the spot where it was dug. The immediate effect of this canal was to reduce coals in Manchester to half the former price; and the canal being extended so as to connect it with the Mersey, at Runcorn, it reduced the freight of goods from Manchester to Liverpool to the same extent, from twelve shillings to six shillings per ton, the land carriage having been forty shillings. Brindley was next engaged to execute the Grand Trunk Canal, which united the Trent and Mersey, carrying it through Birmingham, Chesterfield, and to Nottingham. This was commenced in 1766, and exhibited further examples of his undaunted skill, and, as he had been laughed at by the pedants of the profession, he now in his turn laughed at their puny mediocrity. One of his tunnels, at Harecastle Hill, in Staffordshire, was two thousand eight hundred and eighty yards long, twelve feet wide, nine high, and in some parts seventy yards below the surface of the ground. This tunnel, after half a century's use, was found too confined for the traffic, and a new one, much wider, was made by Telford. By this time the art of tunnelling had made great progress, and whilst Brindley required eleven years to complete his tunnel, Telford made his much larger one in three. Many causes intervened to check for a time the progress of canals, so that from 1760 to 1774 only nineteen Acts were passed for them; but in the two years of 1793 and 1794 no fewer than thirty-six new Bills were introduced to Parliament, with others for extending and amending rivers, making altogether forty-seven Acts, the expenditure on the canals of these two years' projection amounting to five million three hundred thousand pounds. The work now went on rapidly, and investments in canal shares exhibited at that day, in miniature, the great fever of railway speculation at a later period. Lines of canals were made to connect the Thames, the Tweed, the Severn, and the Mersey; so that the great ports of London, Liverpool, Hull, and Bristol were connected by them, and put into communication with nearly all the great inland manufacturing towns. In 1779 a ship-canal was completed from the Forth to the Clyde—a work proposed as early as the reign of Charles II. This canal, thirty-five miles in length, had thirty-nine locks, which carried the canal to a height of one hundred and fifty-six feet above the sea, and it crossed the river Kelvin by an aqueduct eighty-three feet from the bed of the river to the top of the masonry. A few years later a much larger ship-canal united Gloucester to the Severn, and wonderfully increased the trade and growth of that city.
But though Pitt ceased to be a Parliamentary reformer—and by degrees became the most determined opponent of all reform—he yet made an immediate movement for administrative reform. He took up the plans of Burke, praying for a commission to inquire into the fees, gratuities, perquisites, and emoluments received in the public offices, with reference to existing abuses. He stated that, already—acting on the information of reports of the Board of Commissioners appointed in Lord North's time—fixed salaries, instead of fees and poundages, had been introduced in the office of the land-tax, and the Post Office was so improved as to return weekly into the Treasury three thousand pounds sterling, instead of seven hundred sterling. Similar regulations he proposed to introduce into the Pay Office, the Navy and Ordnance Office. He stated, also, that he had, when out of office, asserted that no less than forty-four millions sterling was unaccounted for by men who had been in different offices. He was ridiculed for that statement, and it was treated as a chimera; but already twenty-seven millions of such defalcations had been traced, and a balance of two hundred and fifty-seven thousand pounds sterling was on the point of being paid in. In fact, the state of the Government offices was, at that time, as it had long been, such that it was next to impossible for any one to get any business transacted there without bribing heavily. As a matter of course, this motion was strongly opposed, but it was carried, and Mr. Francis Baring and the two other Comptrollers of army accounts were appointed the Commissioners.
Such was the peace abroad and the prosperity of the country at this time, that there occur few events worthy of record. Of those which took place in 1731, the most remarkable was an Act abolishing the use of Latin in all proceedings of the Courts of Justice, and the next the renewal of the charter of the East India Company. If the country was peaceful and prosperous, however, it was neither free from corruption nor from the need of extensive reform. The very system of Walpole which produced such a show of prosperity that an old Scottish Secretary of State asked the Minister what he had done to make the Almighty so much his friend, was built on the most wholesale bribery and corruption. It was, in fact, a purchased domestic peace. In social life the example of the Government produced the like dishonesty. There was a fearful revelation of the proceedings of a charitable corporation for lending small sums of money to the industrious poor at legal interest; and Sir Robert Sutton, the late Ambassador at Paris, was found so deeply implicated in the frauds and extortions practised on those they were employed to benefit, that he was expelled from the House. There was also an inquiry into the state of the public prisons of London, which opened up a most amazing scene of horrors. It was found to be a common practice of the warders to connive at the escape of rich prisoners for a sufficient bribe, and to inflict the most oppressive cruelties on those who were too poor to pay heavy fees.[See larger version]详情
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