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类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-09-26 07:08:49

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[See larger version][378]On the 26th Blucher had nearly annihilated the division of Macdonald. No sooner did he learn the return of Buonaparte to Dresden than he wheeled round upon Macdonald, taking him by surprise, and driving his troops into the rivers[70] Katzbach and Neisse, swollen by the rains. The battle raged the most fiercely near Wahlstadt, and, on the subsidence of the floods, hundreds of corpses were seen sticking in the mud. A part of the French fled for a couple of days in terrible disorder along the right bank of the Neisse, and were captured, with their general, by the Russian commander, Langeron.

On the 22nd of February the English House of Commons resolved itself into a Committee, on the motion of Pitt, to consider these resolutions. Pitt spoke with much freedom of the old restrictive jealousy towards Ireland. He declared that it was a system abominable and impolitic; that to study the benefit of one portion of the empire at the expense of another was not promoting the prosperity of the empire as a whole. He contended that there was nothing in the present proposals to alarm the British manufacturer or trader. Goods, the produce of Europe, might now be imported through Ireland into Britain by authority of the Navigation Act. The present proposition went to allow Ireland to import and then to export the produce of our colonies in Africa and America into Great Britain. Beyond the Cape of Good Hope, or the Straits of Magellan, they could not go, on account of the monopoly granted to the East India Company.On the 2nd of July, in a letter to Lord Francis Leveson Gower, the Viceroy gave his opinion of the state of Ireland in these terms:"I begin by premising that I hold in abhorrence the Association, the agitators, the priests, and their religion; and I believe that not many, but that some, of the bishops are mild, moderate, and anxious to come to a fair and liberal compromise for the adjustment of the points at issue. I think that these latter have very little, if any, influence with the lower clergy and the population.[77]

One of the pioneers of the science of political economy at this time was Dr. Davenant, the son of Sir William Davenant, the poet. He had no genius for drawing principles and theories from accumulated facts, but he was a diligent collector of them, and his porings amongst State documents and accounts have served essentially the historians and political economists of our day.But the new Government met its Nemesis in Ireland. O'Connell and the priests were resolved that, so far as in them lay, Protestant ascendency should not be re-established in that country. The Anti-Tory Association was but one of many names and forms which the Protean agitation had assumed, and all were brought to bear with concentrated power upon every point to secure the defeat of the Ministerial candidates. Minor differences were sunk for the occasion, and all forces were combined against the Government. The consequence was that amongst the large constituencies the cause of Reform was almost everywhere successful. In Kerry, in Meath, in Youghal, and Tralee, the candidates returned were the sons and nephew of O'Connell. He himself stood a severe contest for Dublin, and was returned with Mr. Ruthven, but was unseated on petition. It was during this contest that he recommended that a "death's head and cross-bones" should be painted on the door of every elector who would support the "nefarious and blood-stained" tithe system.

Dr. Arbuthnot, a great friend of Pope and Swift, was also one of the ablest prose writers, "The Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus," published in Pope's and Swift's works, and the political satire of "John Bull," a masterly performance, being attributed to him.

One of the most important measures of the Session was the Marriage Act, a subject which had been taken up by Sir Robert Peel during his short-lived Ministry. By this Act Dissenters were relieved from a galling and degrading grievance, one which, of all others, most painfully oppressed their consciences. Notwithstanding their strong objection to the ceremonies of the Established Church, they were obliged, in order to be legally married, to comply with its ritual in the marriage service, the phraseology of which they considered not the least objectionable part of the liturgy. By this Act marriages were treated as a civil contract, to which the parties might add whatever religious ceremony they pleased, or they might be married without any religious ceremony at all, or without any other form, except that of making a declaration of the Act before a public officer, in any registered place of religious worship, or in the[410] office of the superintendent registrar. This was a great step towards religious equality, and tended more than anything, since the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, to promote social harmony and peace between different denominations.

Happily, the prevalence as well as the acerbity of party spirit was restrained by the prosperous state of the country in the winter of 1835-36. There were, indeed, unusual indications of general contentment among the people. Allowing for partial depression in agriculture, all the great branches of national industry were flourishing. The great clothing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, both woollen and cotton, were all in a thriving condition. Even in the silk trade of Macclesfield, Coventry, and Spitalfields, there were no complaints, nor yet in the hosiery and lace trades of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, while the potteries of Staffordshire, and the iron trade in all its branches, were unusually flourishing. Of course, the shipping interest profited by the internal activity of the various manufactures and trades. Money was cheap, and speculation was rife. The farmers, it is true, complained, but their agricultural distress to a certain extent was felt to be chronic. Farming was considered a poor trade, its profits, on the average, ranging below those of commerce. Most of the farmers being tenants at will, and their rents being liable to increase with their profits, they were not encouraged to invest much in permanent improvements.After this the royal sitting was useless, as the king's authority was disregarded by the Third Estate. The Court had to learn that the Tiers tat had remained in their seats after the king and the nobles had retired. The Assembly then, on the motion of Mirabeau, declared its members[362] inviolable, and that whoever should lay a hand on any one of them was a traitor, infamous, and worthy of death.

The Swedes cursed the less than half assistance of their British allies, and Gustavus endeavoured to fight his way without them. He continued to win victory after victory on land; but Catherine soon brought down on his squadron of galleys, which attended his march along the coast to keep up his supplies, an overwhelming fleet of galleys[354] of her own. A desperate battle ensued, but the Swedish galley-fleet was at length overcome. Gustavus was thus greatly embarrassed, and compelled to stand merely on the defensive, till it was time to go into winter quarters. He continued for twelve months to do battle with Russia, and, though with insufficient forces, threatened the very capital of that country. A little support from Britain, Prussia, and Holland, would have enabled Sweden to regain its territories on the eastern shores of the Baltic, to curb the power of Russia, and to assume that station in the North which is essential to the peace of Europe. These countries, however, had not the statesmanship to appreciate this point, or the friendly feeling to effect it, and Gustavus was left to struggle on alone.[See larger version]The year 1818 commenced gloomily. On the 27th of January Parliament was opened by a Speech, drawn up for the Prince Regent, but read by the Lord Chancellor. The first topic was, of course, the severe loss which the country and the prince had sustained in the death of the Princess Charlotte. It was only too well known that the prince and his daughter had not for some time been on very cordial terms, the princess having taken the part of her mother; and the vicious and voluptuous life of the Regent did not probably leave much depth of paternal affection in his nature, which had originally been generous and capable of better things. It was remarked by Mr. Ward, afterwards Lord Dudley and Ward, that the mention of the princess "was rather drysulky, rather than sad." But the death of his only issue, and that at the moment that she might have been expected to give a continued succession to the Throne, was a severe blow to him. There was an end of all succession in his line. He stood now without the hopeful support which his daughter's affectionate regard in the country had afforded him, and he was ill able to bear the loss of any causes of popularity. He received a serious shock; and it was only by copious bleeding that he was saved from dangerous consequences; yet, so little was the depth of his trouble, that within three months of his loss he attended a dinner given by the Prussian ambassador, and entertained the company with a song.

Surely, both magistrates and soldiers might now have been satisfied. A defenceless multitude have no means of resistance, and, doing their best to get away, might have been left to do so without further molestation, which would be equally brutal in the magistrates, and cowardly in the soldiers. But neither of these parties seems to have thought so on this unhappy occasion. The magistrates issued no orders to desist, and the soldiers, by the confession of one of their officers, went on striking with the flats of their swords at the impeded people, who were thrown down in their vain efforts to get away, and piled in struggling heaps on the field. Mr. Hulton confessed that he walked away from the window after he had let loose the horse-soldiers on the people. "He would rather not see any advance of the military." He was, in fact, so tender-hearted that he did not mind the peoplemen, women, and children, met to exercise their political rightsbeing trodden down under the iron hoofs of horses, and cut down by the sword, so long as he did not see it.

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"Oh! rescue the countrysave the people of whom you are the ornaments, but severed from whom you can no more live than the blossom that is severed from the root and tree on which it grows. Save the country, therefore, that you may continue to adorn it; save the Crown, which is threatened with irreparable injury; save the aristocracy, which is surrounded with danger; save the[212] altar, which is no longer safe when its kindred throne is shaken. You see that when the Church and the Throne would allow of no church solemnity in behalf of the queen, the heartfelt prayers of the people rose to Heaven for her protection. I pray Heaven for her; and here I pour forth my fervent supplications at the Throne of Mercy, that mercies may descend on the people of the country, higher than their rulers have deserved, and that your hearts may be turned to justice."The General Congress met at Philadelphia on the 4th of September, when all the delegates, except those of North Carolina, who did not arrive till the 14th, were found to represent twelve States, namely, the four New England States, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and the two Carolinas. It was settled, however, that, whatever the number of delegates, each colony should have one vote. The next day they assembled in Carpenters' Hall for business, and elected Peyton Randolph, late Speaker of the Virginian House of Burgesses, president. It was soon found that so much diversity of opinion prevailed, it was deemed prudent, in order to preserve the air of unanimity, to deliberate with closed doors. It was clear that Massachusetts and Virginia were ready for war; but it became equally clear that other States yet[213] clung with all the attachment of blood and old connection to the fatherland. Strong and long-continued, according to Mr. Joseph Galloway, one of their own members, were the debates; and though they finally, and, from their system of secrecy, with an air of unanimity, drew up strong resolutions, they were more moderately expressed than the instructions of many of the delegates. They agreed to a Declaration of Rights, in which they asserted that they had neither lost the rights of nature, nor the privileges of Englishmen, by emigration; consequently, that the late Acts of Parliament had been gross violations of those rights, especially as affecting Massachusetts. They therefore passed resolutions to suspend all imports, or use of imported goods, until harmony was restored between Great Britain and her colonies. An association was formed to carry these resolutions out, to which every member subscribed. Having adjourned till the 10th of May of the next year, the Congress dissolved itself on the 26th of October, and the delegates then hastened home to keep alive the flame of their revived zeal in every quarter of the continent.

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