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东莞财富通

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(After the Portrait by A. E. Challon, R.A.)

Meanwhile, Buonaparte, summoned by the Directory to take the command of the army of England, had arrived in Paris on the 5th of December, 1797, and had taken up his abode in his former residence, in the Rue Chantereine, which the Commune immediately changed, in honour of the conquest of Italy, into the Rue de la Victoire. But it was necessary that Buonaparte should prepare for the invasion of England, for which purpose he had been called home. All France was in transports of joy at the thought of seeing England at last overrun. The Directory had raised their cry of "Delenda est Carthago!" "It is at London," they said, "that all the misfortunes of Europe are manufactured; it is in London that they must be terminated." On the 8th of February, 1798, Napoleon left Paris to obtain information as to the coasts of the English Channel, preparatory to the sailing of the armament. He visited taples, Ambleteuse, Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk, Furnes, Nieuwport, Ostend, and Walcheren, making at these different ports the necessary surveys, and holding long and earnest conversations with sailors, pilots, smugglers, and fishermen. He returned to Paris on the 22nd, having, in a fortnight, quite satisfied himself that the attempt had better be relinquished so long as England commanded the sea.The procession, on its return, presented a still more striking appearance than before, from the circumstance that the Queen wore her crown, and the royal and noble personages their coronets. The mass of brilliants, relieved here and there by a large coloured stone, and the purple velvet cap, became her Majesty extremely well, and had a superb effect. The sight of the streets "paved with heads," and the houses alive with spectators, was most impressive. The Queen entertained a party of one hundred at dinner, and in the evening witnessed, from the roof of her palace, the fireworks in the Green Park. The Duke of Wellington gave a grand banquet at Apsley House, and several Cabinet Ministers gave official State dinners next day. The people were gratified, at the solicitation of Mr. Hawes, M.P. for Lambeth, with permission to hold a fair in Hyde Park, which continued for four days, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. The area allotted comprised nearly one-third of the park, extending from near the margin of the Serpentine river to a line within a short distance of Grosvenor Gate. To the interior there were eight entrances, the main one fifty feet wide, and the others thirty feet each. The enclosed area was occupied by theatres, taverns, and an endless variety of exhibitions, the centre being appropriated to lines of stalls for the sale of fancy goods, sweetmeats, and toys. The Queen condescended to visit the fair on Friday. The illuminations on the night of the coronation were on a larger and more magnificent scale than had been before seen in the metropolis, and the fireworks were also extremely grand. All the theatres in the metropolis, and nearly all the other places of amusement, were opened gratuitously that evening by her Majesty's command, and though all were crowded, the arrangements were so excellent that no accident occurred. In the provinces, rejoicing was universal. Public dinners, feasts to the poor, processions, and illuminations were the order of the day. At Liverpool was laid the first stone of St. George's Hall, in presence of a great multitude. At Cambridge 13,000 persons were feasted on one spot, in the open field, called Parker's Piece, in the centre of which was raised an orchestra for 100 musicians, surrounded by a gallery for 1,600 persons. Encircling this centre were three rows of tables for the school children, and from them radiated, like the spokes of a wheel, the main body of the tables, 60 in number, and 25 feet in length. Beyond their outer extremity were added 28 other tables, in a circle; and outside the whole a promenade was roped in for spectators, who were more numerous than those who dined. The circumference of the whole was more than one-third of a mile. Other great towns similarly distinguished themselves.

The beacon light is quenched in smoke,GREAT SEAL OF GEORGE II.

The 20th of November arrived; the two Houses met, and Lord Camden in the Peers, and Pitt in the Commons, were obliged to announce the incapacity of the king to open the Session, and to move for an adjournment till the 4th of December, in order that the necessary measures for transferring the royal authority, temporarily, might be taken. Fox, at this important crisis, was abroad, and had to hurry home with headlong speed, in order to join his party in their anxious deliberations preparatory to the great question of the regency. In the meantime, the king's physicians had been examined before the Privy Council, and had given their opinion that the royal malady would prove only temporary. This in particular was the opinion of Dr. Willis, a specialist who had the chief management of the case, and whose mild treatment, in contrast to the violent means previously employed, had already produced a marked improvement. From this moment Pitt appears to have taken his decisionnamely, to carry matters with a high hand, and to admit the Prince of Wales as regent only under such restrictions as should prevent him from either exercising much power himself, or conferring much benefit on his adherents. When, therefore, Parliament met, after the adjournment, and that in great strengthfor men of all parties had hurried up to town,Lord Camden moved in the Lords, and Pitt in the Commons, that, in consequence of the king's malady, the minutes of the Privy Council containing the opinions of the royal physicians should be read, and that this being done, these opinions should be taken into consideration on the 8th of December.

The king now thought of placing Fox at the head of a new administration; but when Fox asked Pitt to join, he refused, and the king was obliged to send for Pitt, much as he hated him. Pitt replied that he was laid up with the gouta complaint which troubled him, but which he frequently found it convenient to assume. George then prevailed upon the Duke of Devonshire, a man of no commanding ability, and averse from office, but of the highest integrity of character, to accept the post of First Lord of the Treasury, and to form a Cabinet. Though the friend of Fox, he felt that statesman to be too unpopular for a colleague, and offered Pitt the seals of Secretary of State, which he accepted; Legge was re-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer; Pitt's brother-in-law, Lord Temple, First Lord of the Admiralty; Temple's brother, George Grenville, Treasurer of the Navy; another brother, James Grenville, again was seated at the Treasury Board; Lord Holderness was the second Secretary of State, to oblige the king; Willes, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; the Duke of Bedford was made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, it was said by Fox's suggestion, as a thorn in the flesh to Pitt, and, as Horace Walpole sarcastically remarked, Pitt had not Grenville cousins enough to fill the whole Administration; Charles Townshend was made Treasurer of the Chamber, though his talents and eloquence, in which he excited Pitt's jealousy, deserved a much higher office.

[425]The success of the Scottish courts in sentencing Reformers encouraged the Ministers to try the experiment in England; but there it did not succeed so well. First, one Eaton, a bookseller, of Bishopgate, was indicted for selling a seditious libel, called "Politics for the People; or, Hog's-wash." On the 2nd of April, Thomas Walker, a merchant of Manchesterwas, with six others, indicted at the Lancaster assizes; but Eaton, in London, and these Manchester men, were acquitted. Rather irritated than discouraged by these failures, Pitt and Dundas made a swoop at the leaders of the Corresponding Society, and the Society for Constitutional Information in London; and, in the month of May, Horne Tooke, John Thelwalla celebrated political lecturerThomas Hardy, Daniel Adams, and the Rev. Jeremiah Joyceprivate secretary to the Earl of Stanhope, and tutor to his son, Lord Mahonwere arrested and committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason. No sooner was this done, than, on the 12th of May, Dundas announced to the House of Commons that, in consequence of the Government having been informed of seditious practices being carried on by the above-named societies, they had seized their papers, and he now demanded that a committee of secrecy should be appointed to examine these papers. This was agreed to; and on the 16th Pitt brought up the report of this committee, which was so absurd in its results that nothing but the most blind political desperation could have induced the Government to make it known. The committee found nothing amongst these papers but the reports of the societies since the year 1791, which had been annually published and made known to every one. Yet on this miserable evidence Pitt called for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and it was accordingly granted, Burkewho now seems to have grown quite politically mad by dwelling on the horrors of the French Revolutionbelieving it the only measure to insure the safety of the country. Windham and others asserted that the mere suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act was hardly[430] sufficient: there required yet more stringent measures. Similar language was held in the Lords, but did not pass without some severe comments from the Duke of Bedford, and the Lords Stanhope, Lauderdale, and Albemarle, who declared that Ministers, instead of suppressing, were creating a veritable reign of terror. The Bill was, notwithstanding, readily passed; and on the 13th of June an Address was carried to his Majesty, expressing the determination of their lordships to punish the men who had been concerned in the so-called conspiracy. Fox and Lambton condemned this course energetically in the Commons, declaring that, if there were any conspiracy, the ordinary laws and tribunals were amply sufficient for their punishment. Fox moved that all that part of the Address which expressed a conviction of the existence of a conspiracy should be struck out, but it was carried entire; and such was the alarm of the country at the reverses of the Allies on the Continent and the successes of France, that far more violent measures would have been readily assented to.

Lord Melbourne on announcing the completion of his arrangements made a general statement of his policy. In forming his Cabinet he had had to contend with difficulties "peculiarly great and arduous, and some of them of a severe and mortifying nature." He had no change of policy to declare. "His Government would be based upon the principles of a safe, prudent, and truly efficient reformprinciples the tendency of which was not to subvert or endanger, but, on the contrary, to improve, strengthen, and establish the institutions of the country; and in regard to ecclesiastical government, every measure contemplated in reference to that subject would have for its end the increase of true piety and religion through the whole of his Majesty's dominions." From the disposition and character popularly ascribed to Lord Melbourne, it could not be expected that he should prove an energetic Reformer. The Earl of Derby mentions a saying of his which often escaped him as a member of Lord Grey's Cabinet. When they had to encounter a difficulty, he would say, "Can't you let it alone?" This accords with the portrait of him presented by Sydney Smith, in his second letter to Archdeacon Singleton.

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FROM THE PICTURE BY C. R. LESLIE, R.A., IN THE POSSESSION OF THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, SOUTH KENSINGTON.

The only matters of interest debated in Parliament during this year, except that of the discontent in the country, were a long debate on Catholic emancipation, in the month of May, which was negatived by a majority of only twenty-four, showing that that question was progressing towards its goal; and a motion of Lord Castlereagh for the gradual abolition of sinecures. This intimated some slight impression of the necessity to do something to abate the public dissatisfaction, but it was an impression only on the surface. This Ministry was too much determined to maintain the scale of war expenditure to which they had been accustomed to make any real retrenchment. A committee appointed to consider the scheme recommended the abolition of sinecures to the amount of fifty-four thousand pounds per annum, but neutralised the benefit by recommending instead a pension-list of forty-two thousand pounds per annum. The country received the amendment with disgust and derision.BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.We come now to the rebellion of 1715. The succession of the House of Hanover had raised the Pretender and his Jacobite faction in England to a pitch of excitement which made them ready to rush upon the most desperate measures. In England the destruction of the Tory Ministry, the welcome given to the new Protestant king, and the vigour with which the Whigs and all the supporters of the principles of the Revolution had shown the majority which they were able to return to the new Parliament, were all indications that the spirit of the nation was more firmly than ever rooted in Protestantism and the love of constitutional liberty, and that any endeavours to overturn the new dynasty must be supported by an overwhelming power from without. Without such force the event was certain failure; yet, under existing auspices, it was determined to try the venture. Bolingbroke, on his arrival in France, saw that all was rashness, impatience, and want of preparation in the party on both sides of the Channel. The Highlanders were all eagerness for the Chevalier's arrival, lest he should land in England, and the English should snatch the glory of the restoration from them. From England came the letters of Ormonde, who was down in the West, and sent most glowing representations of the spirit of the people there; that out of every ten persons nine were against King George, and that he had distributed money amongst the disbanded officers, to engage them in the cause of King James. But all these fine words terminated with the damping intelligence that nobody would stir until they saw the Chevalier with a good army at his back. Such an army there was not the smallest hope of obtaining from France. All that Louis would or could do, without engaging in a new war with England, was to prevail on his grandson, Philip of Spain, to[28] advance four hundred thousand crowns for the expedition, and besides this, the Pretender had been able privately to borrow another hundred thousand, and purchase ten thousand stand of arms. At this juncture came two fatal eventsthe flight of Ormonde and the death of Louis XIV. on September 1st.

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