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类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-09-26 06:28:51

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New York, Jersey, and the New England States traded in the same commodities: they also built a considerable number of ships, and manufactured, especially in Massachusetts, coarse linens and woollens, iron, hats, rum, besides drying great quantities of fish for Spain, Portugal, and the Mediterranean markets. Massachusetts already employed 40,000 tons of shipping. New England furnished the finest masts in the world for the navy; Virginia and Maryland furnished 50,000 hogsheads of tobacco, annually valued at 370,000; employing 24,000 tons of shipping. From these colonies we received also large quantities of skins, wool, furs, flax, etc. Carolina had become a great rice-growing country. By the year 1733 it had nearly superseded the supply of that article from Italy in Spain and Portugal; in 1740 it exported nearly 100,000 barrels of rice; and seven years afterwards, besides its rice, it sent to England 200,000 pounds of indigo, rendering us independent of France for that article; and at the end of the present period its export of indigo had doubled that quantity, besides a very considerable exportation of pitch, sassafras, Brazil wood, skins, Indian corn, and other articles.But, gloomy as was the aspect of affairs at home, they were far more so in America. There, the insane conduct of the Government had gone on exasperating and alienating the colonists. True, the Cabinet, on the close of Parliament, held a meeting to consider what should be done regarding America. Grafton proposed to repeal the obnoxious duties at the commencement of the next session, but he was overruled on the motion of Lord North, and it was agreed to repeal all but the tea duties. Within a few days after the close of the session, therefore, Lord Hillsborough wrote this news in a circular to the governors of the American colonies. As was certain, the partial concession produced no effect, the principle being still retained in the continued tea duty. Moreover, Hillsborough's circular was composed in such harsh and uncourteous terms, that it rather augmented than assuaged the excitement.

When the news of this distractedly hopeless condition of the Council in Calcutta reached London, Lord North called upon the Court of Directors to send up to the Crown an address for the recall of Hastings, without which, according to the new Indian Act, he could not be removed till the end of his five years. The Directors put the matter to the vote, and the address was negatived by a single vote. The minority then appealed to the Court of Proprietors, at the general election in the spring of 1776, but there it was negatived by ballot by a majority of one hundred, notwithstanding that all the Court party and Parliamentary Ministerialists who had votes attended to overthrow him. This defeat so enraged Lord North that he resolved to pass a special Bill for the removal of the Governor-General. This alarmed Colonel Maclean, a friend of Hastings, to whom he had written, on the 27th of March.[328] 1775, desiring him, in his disgust with the conduct of Francis, Clavering, and Monson, and the support of them by the Directors, to tender his resignation. Thinking better of it, however, he had, on the 18th of the following May, written to him, recalling the proposal of resignation. But Maclean, to save his friend from a Parliamentary dismissal, which he apprehended, now handed the letter containing the resignation to the Directors. Delighted to be thus liberated from their embarrassment, the Directors accepted the resignation at once, and elected Mr. Edward Wheler to the vacant place in the Council.On the 6th of April Whitbread brought forward these charges against Melville in the House of Commons, as detailed in the tenth report of the Naval Commissioners. In doing so, he paid a high compliment to the manner in which the naval affairs had been conducted since Lord St. Vincent became head of that Department; but he charged Lord Melville with having applied the public money to other uses than those of the Naval Department, in contempt of the Act of 1785an Act which Melville himself, then Dundas, had supported: that he had connived at a system of peculation in the Treasurer of the Navy, Mr. Trotter, an individual for whom he was responsible. The salary of this Mr. Trotter had been fixed by the Act of 1785 at four thousand pounds a year, but he contended that Dundas had allowed Trotter to draw large sums from the Bank of England out of the navy deposit, pay them into Coutts's Bank, and use them for his own benefit; and that, moreover, he had participated in the profits of this system. This charge called forth a vehement contest of parties. Tierney, who had been Treasurer of the Navy under Addington, declared that he had found no inconvenience in complying with the Act of 1785, whilst holding that office. Fox, Grey, Ponsonby, Windham, Wilberforce, Lord Henry Petty, afterwards Lord Lansdowne, supported Whitbread's charges, and Pitt, Canning, and Lord Castlereagh defended Melville. On putting the resolutions moved by Whitbread, after a debate till quite late in the morning, they were carried by the casting vote of the Speaker. The scene, which is one of the most striking in our Parliamentary annals, has frequently been described, notably by Lord Fitzharris:"I sat edged close to Pitt himself," he wrote, "the night when we were two hundred and sixteen, and the Speaker, Abbot, after looking as white as a sheet, and pausing for ten minutes, gave the casting vote against us. Pitt immediately put on the little cocked hat that he was in the habit of wearing when dressed for the evening, and jammed it down deeply over his forehead, and I distinctly saw the tears trickling down his cheeks. We heard one or two, such as Colonel Wardle, say they would see 'how Billy looked after it'! A few young ardent followers of Pitt, with myself, locked their arms together and formed a circle, in which he moved, I believe unconsciously, out of the House, and neither the colonel nor his friends could approach him." But the Opposition were not content with the vote of censure. Whitbread moved that an Address should be presented to his Majesty, praying him to remove Lord Melville for ever from his councils and presence, but the motion was withdrawn as soon as Melville's resignation was known. On the 6th of May Whitbread was about to move a resolution that his Majesty should be requested to erase the name of Lord Melville from the list of the Privy Council, but Pitt rose and said that the motion was unnecessary, as his Majesty had already done it.

ATTACK ON THE ROYAL CARRIAGE. (See p. 448.)

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[See larger version]Grey and Fox then made an equally brisk attack on the support of Turkey by Ministers. They greatly applauded the Czarina, and Fox affirmed that so far from Turkey soliciting our interference, it had objected to it. On the same day, in the Lords, Lord Fitzwilliam opened the same question. He contended that we had fitted out an expensive armament to prevent the conquest by Russia of Oczakoff, and yet had not done it, but had ended in accepting the very terms that the Czarina had offered in 1790. Ministers replied that, though we had not saved Oczakoff, we had prevented still more extensive attempts by Russia. Though the Opposition, in both cases, was defeated, the attack was renewed on the 27th of February, when the Earl Stanhopean enthusiastic worshipper of the French Revolutionrecommended, as the best means of preventing aggression by Continental monarchs, a close alliance on our part with France. Two days afterwards Mr. Whitbread introduced a string of resolutions in the Commons, condemning the interference of Ministers between Russia and Turkey, and the needless expenditure thus incurred, in fact, going over[390] much the same ground. A strenuous debate followed, in which Grey, Fox, Windham, Francis, Sheridan, and the whole Whig phalanx, took part. On this occasion, Mr. Jenkinson, afterwards Earl of Liverpool, first appeared, and made his maiden speech in defence of Ministers. He showed that the system of aggression had commenced with Russia, and menaced the profoundest dangers to Europe; that Britain had wisely made alliance with Prussia to stem the evil, and he utterly repudiated all notion of the moderation of the Czarina, whose ambition he asserted to be of the most unscrupulous kind.

SPADE GUINEA OF GEORGE III.

In the meantime rumours were in circulation, said to have emanated from Dublin Castle, to the effect that a conspiracy existed to massacre the members of the Government and the loyal citizens. However these rumours may have originated, they spread a panic through the city. People expected that when they woke some morning they would find the barricades up in the leading streets, and behold an imitation of the bloody scenes lately enacted in Paris. The Government seemed to share the alarm. Strong bodies of soldiers were posted in different parts of the city. Trinity College, the buildings of the Royal Dublin Society, the Linen Hall, and the Custom House were occupied as temporary barracks. The Bank of Ireland was put in a state of defence, and cannon were placed on the roof in such a way as to command the streets. Bullet-proof shutters were furnished for the front of Trinity College. The Viceroy evidently apprehended some serious work, for he ordered the troops in all these extemporised fortresses to be furnished with rations for several[566] days. These preparations for a siege continued throughout the months of March and April. For more than three months the chambers of the College were turned into barracks; the troops were paraded in the quadrangles every morning. In all the fortified positions the soldiers were kept under arms at unreasonable hours. In fact the whole community was in a state of painful suspense, hourly anticipating the attacks of an imaginary enemy. During all this time there was not a single dep?t of arms seized nor a single rebellious leader arrested. The clubs, indeed, were meeting and plotting, and the Government spies were amongst them, but they had made no preparations for insurrection that should have excited alarm. There was much talk of the manufacture of pikes, but the only instance made public was one in which a blacksmith had been asked to make one by a detective policeman.The year 1771 opened in circumstances which greatly diminished the interest in Parliamentary proceedings. As all reporting was excluded from the House of Lords, the chief speakers there felt that they were no longer addressing the nation, but merely a little knot of persons in a corner, and consequently the stimulus of both fame and real usefulness was at an end. In the Commons, the desire of the Ministry to reduce that popular arena to the same condition of insignificance produced a contest with the City as foolish and mischievous in its degree as the contests then going on with Wilkes and America. George Onslow, nephew of the late Speaker, and member for Guildford, moved that several printers, who had dared to report the debates of the House of Commons, should be summoned to the bar to answer for their conduct. Accordingly, these mediums of communication between the people and their representatives were summoned and reprimanded on their knees. One of their number, named Miller, however, declared that he was a liveryman of London, and that any attempt to arrest him would be a breach of the privileges of the City. The Serjeant-at-Arms dispatched a messenger to apprehend this sturdy citizen, and bring him before the House; but, instead of succeeding, the Parliamentary messenger was taken by a City constable, and carried before Brass Crosby, the Lord Mayor. With the Lord Mayor sat Alderman Wilkes and Alderman Oliver. It was delightful work to Wilkes thus to set at defiance the House of Commons, which had made such fierce war on him. The Lord Mayor, accordingly, was fully confirmed in his view that the messenger of the Commons had committed a[204] flagrant violation of the City charter, in endeavouring to lay hands on one of its liverymen within its own precincts, and they held the messenger accordingly to bail. The House of Commons was fired with indignation at this contemptuous disregard of their dignity. They passed a resolution, by a large majority, ordering the Lord Mayor and the two aldermen to appear at their bar. Wilkes bluntly refused to attend the House in any shape but as a recognised member of it. Crosby pleaded a severe fit of the gout; and Oliver, though he appeared in his place, refused to make any submission whatever, but told them he defied them. The House, in its blind anger, resolved that Oliver should be committed to the Tower, and Crosby to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. But Crosby declared that he would not accept this indulgence at the hands of the House, but would share the incarceration of his honourable friend; and he was accordingly sent also to the Tower. The people out of doors were in the highest state of fury. They greeted the City members on their way to and from the House, but they hooted and pelted the Ministerial supporters. Charles James Fox, still a Government man, as all his family had been, was very roughly handled; Lord North's carriage was dashed in, and himself wounded; and had he not been rescued by a popular member, Sir William Meredith, he would probably have lost his life. The Commons had engaged in a strife with the City, in which they were signally beaten, and no further notice being taken of the printers, from this time forward the practice of reporting the debates of Parliament became recognised as an established privilege of the people, though formally at the option of the House; and so far now from members or Ministers fearing any evil from it, the most conservative of them would be deeply mortified by the omission of their speeches in the reports. The termination of the Session also opened the doors of the Tower, and liberated the Lord Mayor and Alderman Oliver. They were attended from the Tower to the Mansion House by the Corporation in their robes, where a banquet celebrated their restoration to freedom, and the populace displayed their sympathy by bonfires and illuminations.

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.

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During that evening and night there were serious contentions between the mob and the soldiers still posted in front of Sir Francis's house, and one man was shot by the military. Scarcely had the sheriffs quitted the house of the besieged baronet on the Sunday morning, supposing no attempt at capture would take place that day, when the serjeant-at-arms presented himself with a party of police, and demanded entrance, but in vain. All that day, and late into the night, the mob continued to insult the soldiers who kept guard on the baronet's house, and an order being given at night to clear the streets around, the mob broke the lamps, and threw all into darkness. They then carried away the scaffolding from a house under repair, and made a barricade across[597] Piccadilly, which was, however, removed by the soldiers; and the rain falling in torrents, the mob dispersed.Major-General Brock left Colonel Procter to defend Detroit, and marched hastily towards Niagara, to surprise the American forts in that direction. But, in the midst of his preparations, he was thunderstruck to learn that Sir George Prevost had concluded an armistice with the American general, Dearborn, and that this armistice stipulated that neither party should move in any manner till the American Government had ratified or annulled the engagement. Thus Brock had the mortification of feeling that his hands were tied up, whilst the enemy, aroused to the danger of their position, despite the truce, were marching up troops, and strengthening every fort and port along the line. As soon as a force of six thousand three hundred men and stores were ready, Madison refused to ratify the armistice. On his part, Sir George Prevost had done nothing to support Brock, and this brave officer found himself with only one thousand two hundred men, partly regulars and partly militia, to repel the swarming invaders.The Duke withdrew much dissatisfied with the turn affairs had taken, and distrustful of the issue. In a parting interview with the Emperor of Russia, the latter spoke at length in strong disapprobation of the refusal of England to co-operate in putting down revolution, and said, in conclusion, that Russia was prepared for every eventuality. "She was able, with the support of Austria and Prussia, to crush revolution both in France and Spain; and, if the necessity should arise, she was determined to do so." The Duke heard his Imperial Majesty to an end, and then ventured to assure him that the only thing for which Great Britain pleaded was the right of nations to set up whatever form of government they thought best, and to manage their own affairs, so long as they allowed other nations to manage theirs. Neither he nor the Government which he represented was blind to the many defects which disfigured the Spanish Constitution; but they were satisfied that they would be remedied in time. The Emperor could not gainsay the justice of these remarks, but neither was he willing to be persuaded by them; so, after expressing himself well pleased with the settlement of the Turkish question which had been effected, he embraced the Duke, and they parted.

The case of Spain was the most perplexing of all. The British Cabinet expressed the opinion that no foreign Power had any right whatever to interfere with any form of government which she had established for herself, and that her king and people were to be left to settle their own differences as best they could. The representative of Great Britain was directed to urge this point with all his influence upon the Allies, and especially upon France. But the case of her revolted colonies was different. It was evident, from the course of events, that their recognition as independent States was become a mere question of time. Over by far the greater portion of them Spain had lost all hold, and it had been found necessary, in order to admit their merchant vessels into British ports, to alter the navigation laws both of Britain and Spain. The letter of instructions accordingly directed the British plenipotentiary to advocate a removal of the difficulty on this principle: that every province which had actually established its independence should be recognised; that with provinces in which the war still went on no relation should be established; there was to be no concert with France, or Russia, or any extraneous power, in establishing relations with the new States. "The policy projected was exclusively English and Spanish, and between England and Spain alone its course was to be settled. Other nations might or might not come into the views which England entertained; but upon their approval or disapproval of her views England was not in any way to shape her conduct."

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