类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-31 12:44:59


DEPARTURE OF THE BRITISH TROOPS FROM ALEXANDRIA. (See p. 539.)These vexatious proceedings, including a great number of debates and divisions, led to the passing of an Act for more clearly defining the privileges of the House of Commons, which had made itself unpopular by its course of proceeding towards the sheriffs, who had only discharged duties which they could not have evaded without exposing themselves to the process of attachment. On the 5th of March, accordingly, Lord John Russell moved for leave to bring in a Bill relative to the publication of Parliamentary papers. He said, in the course of his speech, that at all periods of our history, whatever might have been the subjectwhether it regarded the privileges of Parliament or the rights of the Crown or any of the constituted authoritieswhenever any great public difficulty had arisen, the Parliament in its collective sense, meaning the Crown, Lords, and Commons, had been called in to solve those difficulties. With regard to the measure he was about to propose, he would take care to state in the preamble of the Bill that the privilege of the House was known only by interpretation of the House itself. He proposed that publications authorised by either House of Parliament should be protected, and should not be liable to prosecution in any court of common law. Leave was given to introduce the Bill by a majority of 149, in spite of the opposition of the Solicitor-General, Sir Thomas Wilde; the House went into committee on the Bill on the 13th of March, and it passed the third reading on the 20th of the same month. It was read a second time in the Lords on the 6th of April; and the Royal Assent was given to it by commission on the 14th of the same month.

At length, after every clause of the Bill, and every word and every place in each of the schedules had been the subjects of all possible motions and discussionsafter a warfare which, for animosity and duration, was unparalleled in our Parliamentary history, the Bill was read a third time on the 21st of September, and passed by a majority of 109, the numbers being 345 to 236. The result was received with loud and long-continued cheering by the Reformers in the House. The anxious and impatient multitude in the streets caught up the sounds of triumph with exultant enthusiasm; the acclamations of all classes of the people rang throughout the agitated metropolis. The news spread like wildfire through the country, and was everywhere received with ringing of bells and other demonstrations of joy. As soon as the Bill passed an illumination of London was proposed, and an application was made to the Lord Mayor, in order to obtain his sanction, which was granted. The illumination was extensive, and those who refused to comply had their windows broken by the populace. In many places the people, whose patience had been so severely tested, began to lose their self-control, and were betrayed into riotous conduct. Mr. Macaulay, and other leading Reformers in Parliament, had warned the Opposition of this danger, and it turned out that their apprehensions were not altogether visionary.All this was little less than madness on the part of the royal family. They knew that the army at large was disaffected to royalty, and of what avail were two regiments? If they really sought to escape, it could only have been done by the utmost quiet and caution. The Flanders regiment could have guarded them. But now the certain consequence must be to rouse all the fury of Paris, and bring it down upon them. This was the instant result. Paris, in alarm, cried, "To Versailles!" On the night of the 4th of October the streets were thronged with excited people; the National Guard were under arms everywhere, and maintained some degree of order. On the morning of the 5th the women took up the matter. They found no bread at the bakers', and they collected in crowds, and determined to march to the H?tel de Ville, and demand it of the mayor. The women had refused to allow the men to join them, declaring that they were not fit for the work they were going to do; but numbers had followed them, better armed than themselves, and they now assisted them to break open doors, where they obtained seven or eight hundred muskets, three bags of money and two small cannon. As they were proceeding to make a bonfire of the papers, which would probably have burnt the whole place down, the commander of the National Guard gave up the matter in despair; but one Stanislas Maillard, a riding-messenger of the municipality, with more address, called out to them to desist; that there was a much better thing to doto march at once to Versailles, and compel the Court to furnish bread, and that he would be their leader. He seized a drum and beat it; the women cried lustily, "To Versailles!" Some ran to the tower of the H?tel and sounded the tocsin. The bells soon began to ring out from every steeple in Paris; the whole population was afloat; the men and women, armed with all sorts of weapons, followed their new leader, who had been one of the heroes of the[368] Bastille, and he marched them to the Champs Elyses. There he arranged his motley and ever-increasing army: the women in a compact body in the middle, the men in front and rear. Horses, waggons, carriages of all kinds, were seized on wherever they were seen; some of these were harnessed to the cannon, and then Maillard, drumming at their head, put his army in motion, and on they went towards Versailles, stopping every carriage that they met, and compelling even ladies to turn again and accompany them.FLORA MACDONALD. (After the Portrait by J. Markluin, 1747.)

Bernadotte took his time, and went. It was in[39] March. At Abo, in a solitary hut, he and Alexander met, and there the final ruin of Napoleon was sketched out by a master's handthat of his old companion in arms. Bernadotte knew all the strength and weakness of Napoleon; he had long watched the causes which would ultimately break up the wonderful career of his victories. He listened to the fears of Alexander, and bade him dismiss them. He told him that it was the timidity of his opponents which had given to Napoleon the victories of Austerlitz and Wagram; that, as regarded the present war, nothing could equal his infatuated blindness; that, treating the wishes of Poland with contempt, neglecting the palpably necessary measures of securing his flanks by the alliance of Turkey and Sweden, east and west, he was only rushing on suicide in the vast deserts five hundred miles from his frontiers; that all that was necessary on the part of Russia was to commence a war of devastation; to destroy all his resources, in the manner of the ancient Scythians and Parthians; to pursue him everywhere with a war of fanaticism and desolation; to admit of no peace till he was driven to the left bank of the Rhine, where the oppressed and vengeful nationalities would arise and annihilate him; that Napoleon, so brilliant and bold in attack, would show himself incapable of conducting a retreat of eight hoursa retreat would be the certain signal of his ruin. If he approached St. Petersburg, he engaged for himself to make a descent on France with fifty thousand men, and to call on both the Republican and constitutional parties to arise and liberate their country from the tyrant. Meanwhile, they must close the passage of the Beresina against him, when they would inevitably secure his person. They must then proclaim everywhere his death, and his whole dynasty would go to pieces with far greater rapidity than it grew.HANDEL.


The Allied sovereigns and their Ministers met at Vienna, in the opening of the year 1815, in congress, to settle the boundaries of all such States as had undergone disruptions and transformations through the will of Buonaparte. They were proceeding, with the utmost composure, to rearrange the map of Europe according to their several interests and ambitions. Austria, Spain, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, and Sweden had their sovereigns or their representatives there. Those for Great Britain were the Duke of Wellington, the Lords Cathcart and Clancarty, and Sir Charles Stewart. All at once a clap of political thunder shook the place, and made every astute diplomatist look aghast. It was announced that Buonaparte had escaped from Elba, and was rapidly traversing France on the way to Paris, and that his old soldiers were flocking with acclamation to his standard. It was what was certain to occurwhat every man not a cunning diplomatist must have foreseen from the first, as certainly as that a stone thrown up is sure to come down again. Yet no one seems to have foreseen it, except it were Lord Castlereagh, who, not arriving at Paris before this foolish scheme was adopted, had protested against it, and then yielded to it. On the 13th of March the ministers of the Allied Powers met, and signed a paper which, at length, was in earnest, and showed that they were now as well convinced of a simple fact as the dullest intellect had been ten years beforethat there was no use treating Buonaparte otherwise than as a wild beast. They now declared him an outlaw, a violator of treaties, and an incorrigible disturber of the peace of the world; and they delivered him over to public contempt and vengeance. Of course, the British ambassadors were immediately looked to for the means of moving the armies of these high and mighty Powers, and the Duke of Wellington to plan and to lead the military operations against the man who had once more developed himself from the Emperor of Elba into the Emperor of the French.Mr. Canning had now attained the highest summit to which the ambition of a British subject can aspire. With the acclamation of the country and of the House of Commons, he had taken the first place in the Government of the empire, to which he had raised himself by his talents and his merit alone, surmounting as he rose the most formidable impediments, aristocratic antipathies, class interests, and royal dislike. He was the idol of the nation, and not only in Great Britain, but throughout the world, his fame shone brightest of all the public men of his age. His name was associated with the triumph of Liberal principles throughout Europe and America; he was at the head of a strong Government, and he had conciliated the good-will of his Sovereign. Such a combination of what are usually regarded as the elements of human happiness has rarely, if ever, been known in the history of England, where alone such a phenomenon could occur. As a man of genius, as an orator, as a political leader, he enjoyed a reputation and a degree of success which in any one of these capacities would be regarded by the majority of men as the acme of human felicity. But in addition to these he enjoyed a position and wielded a power with which many great men have been content, without the brilliant halo of glory with which, in Canning's case, they were surrounded. But it is a singular and humbling illustration of the vanity of human wishes and human glory, that this great man was, after all, unhappy, and that the political enemies he had vanquished had the power of bringing him to an early grave. The Whig and Tory lords studied in every way to wound the proud spirit, which they knew to be extremely sensitive. They scowled upon him with looks of resentment and vengeance. Old friends averted their eyes from the affectionate companion[260] of earlier days; the cordial pressure of his hand was not returned; his associates and supporters in office and in Parliament were, for the most part, his former opponents in many a political battlefield. The odium of being a convert to Liberal principles settled upon his noble spirit like a fatal blight, the animosity with which intolerance pursues the honest and generous lover of truth and right pierced his susceptible nervous system like a keen, pitiless, persistent east wind. This was more than his delicate organism could long bear. The state of his mind affected his bodily health. The charm of his conversation made him the delight of his friends in private society, in which he found a solace and a welcome relaxation from the toils of office. It was natural, though to be regretted, that with such a susceptible, enjoying, and genial temperament, delighting in wit and humour, and diffusing pleasure around him by the coruscations of his own genius, he should have lingered longer in convivial parties than was prudent for his health. The consequence was an inflamed and irritable state of the system. Thus predisposed to disease, he caught cold by sitting under a tree, after being heated with walking, while on a visit with Lord Lyndhurst at Wimbledon. Attacked with inflammation of the kidneys, he went to Chiswick, on the advice of his doctors, and there, on the 8th of August, after a brief period of intense suffering, he died in the villa of the Duke of Devonshire, and in the same room in which a man of kindred genius, the illustrious Charles James Fox, breathed his last.The Cabinet, by a very considerable majority, declined giving its assent to the proposals which the Minister thus made to them. They were supported by only three members of the Cabinetthe Earl of Aberdeen, Sir James Graham, and Mr. Sidney Herbert. The other members of the Cabinet, some on the ground of objection to the principle of the measures recommended, others upon the ground that there was not yet sufficient evidence of the necessity for them, withheld their sanction.

A great proportion of these results had been produced by the rapid growth of manufactures. The introduction of steam, and the inventions of the spinning-jenny and other kinds of machinery, had given such a development to manufactures, that the value of these at the end of the reign made three-fourths of the whole exports. Agriculture had made considerable progress, and of this art the king was a zealous patron, especially of the improvements in the breed of sheep, importing himself merinos from Spain at great cost. There were also great promoters of improvements in stock, such as Bakewell, Culley, and others, and the high price of corn and of all kinds of agricultural produce during the war acted as stimulants to farming. The value of land also caused the enclosure of vast tracts, and much planting of trees was done, especially in Scotland, which had previously been very neglectful in that respect.When Washington arrived at the camp at Cambridge, instead of twenty thousand men, which he expected on his side, he found only sixteen thousand, and of these only fourteen thousand fit for duty. He describes them as "a mixed multitude of people under very little order or government." They had no uniforms; and Washington recommended Congress to send them out ten thousand hunting-shirts, as giving them something of a uniform appearance. There was not a single dollar in the military chest; the supply of provisions was extremely deficient and uncertain. There was a great want of engineering tools; and he soon discovered that the battle of Bunker's Hill, which, at a distance, was boasted of as a victory, had been a decided defeat. He immediately set about to reduce this discouraging chaos into new order. Assisted by General Lee, he commenced by having prayers read at the head of the respective regiments every morning. He broke up the freedom which confounded officers and men; he compelled subordination by the free use of the lash, where commands would not serve. He kept them daily at active drill. He laboured incessantly to complete the lines, so that very soon it would be impossible for the enemy to get between the ranks. But the great andif the English generals had been only properly awakethe fatal want was that of powder. Washington found that they had but nine rounds of powder to a musket, and next to none for the artillery. "The world," said Franklin, "wondered that we so seldom fired a cannon; why, we could not afford it!" And all this was disclosed to General Gage by a deserter, and he still lay in a profound slumber! The Ministry at home, scarcely more awake to the real danger, were yet astonished at his lethargy; and they recalled him under the plea of consulting him on the affairs of the colony. He sailed from Boston in October, leaving the chief command to General Howe.




This result was due to important negotiations behind the scenes. For many months the more extreme section of the Cabinet had urged Lord Grey to recommend the king to swamp the hostile majority by a creation of peers. Both he and Althorp objected to this course, and fresh overtures were made to the waverers, while the king undertook to convert the Bishops. Both attempts[348] failed, and then the Cabinet was nearly rent in twain. Lord Durham attacked his father-in-law in language which Althorp declared to be "brutal," and for which, said Lord Melbourne, he deserved to be knocked down. At last the king resolved to agree to a creation of peers on condition that the new creations should not exceed the number of 24. This alarmed the waverers, and with the aid of Charles Greville they came to terms with the Government. Lord Harrowby and Lord Wharncliffe secured a majority on the second reading, on condition that no new peers should be created.Far greater, however, as the wielder of human sympathies by the recital of wrongs and oppression, was William Godwin in his "Caleb Williams" and "St. Leon." "Caleb Williams" is a model for narrative: lively, clear, simple yet strong, moving in a rapid careerin fine contrast to the slow, wire-drawn progress of the later three-volume noveltill it winds up in an intensity of sensation. Then came Miss Burney, better known as Madame D'Arblay, with her "Evelina," "Cecilia," and "Camilla," returning again to the details of social life. Afterwards came Dr. John Moore with "Zeluco," etc.; Mrs. Inchbald with her charming "Simple Story;" Mrs. Opie with "The Father and Daughter" in 1801, followed by various other novels; and in the same year Miss Edgeworth commenced her splendid career with "Belinda," and in the next year "Castle Rackrent." To this period also belongs Lady Morgan with her "Wild Irish Girl," though she continued to live and write long after this reign.

The discontents occasioned by the South Sea scheme and its issue had caused the Jacobites to conceive fresh hopes of success, and their spirits were still more elevated by the birth of a son to the Pretender. The business of this faction was conducted in England by a junto or council, amongst the chief members of which were the Earls of Arran and Orrery, Lords North and Gower, and the Bishop of Rochester. Lord Oxford had been invited to put himself at the head of this council of five, but everything of a decided nature was out of his character. He continued to correspond with the leaders of the faction, but he declined putting himself too forward. In fact, his habitual irresolution was now doubled by advancing[50] infirmities, and he died three years afterwards. Though several of the junto were men of parliamentary, and North of military experience, Atterbury was the undoubted head of it. The period of confusion created by the South Sea agitation was first pitched on for a new attempt, then that of the general election, which had taken place in March, and, finally, it was deferred till the king should have gone to Hanover, according to his custom, in the summer.Mr. Smith O'Brien, early in July, gave occasion for another great debate on the state of Ireland, by moving that the House resolve itself into a committee for the purpose of taking into consideration the causes of the discontent prevailing there, with a view to the redress of grievances, and the establishment of a system of just and impartial government in that part of the United Kingdom. The honourable gentleman reviewed the history of the country since the union, discussed the questions of the National Debt and taxation, the Church Establishment, the position of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Government appointments, Coercive Acts, and land tenure. Lord Eliot, then Chief Secretary of Ireland, answered his arguments at length. A great number of speakers followed, continuing the debate for five nights. At length the House divided, when the numbers wereagainst the motion for a committee, 243; for it, 164. The whole of these vexed questions again came up on the 9th of August, when the Irish Arms Bill was set down for the third reading. On this occasion Sir Robert Peel made some remarks, expressing the feeling of his Government with regard to Ireland, declaring that he viewed the state of things there with deep anxiety and pain. He had hoped that there was a gradual abatement of animosity on account of religious differences; that he saw the gradual influence of those laws which removed the political disabilities of Catholics and established civil equality. He thought he saw, in some respects, a great moral and social improvement; that there was a hope of increasing tranquillity, which would cause the redundant and superfluous capital of England, then seeking vent in foreign and precarious speculations, to flow into Ireland. But the agitation had, in his opinion, blasted all those hopes.



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