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Vigilant Stair had discovered the ships that had been prepared at Havre, by the connivance and aid of the late king, and he insisted that they should be stopped. Admiral Byng also appeared off Havre with a squadron, and Lord Stair demanded that the ships should be given up to him. With this the Regent declined to comply, but he ordered them to be unloaded, and the arms to be deposited in the royal arsenal. One ship, however, escaped the search, containing, according to Bolingbroke, one thousand three hundred arms, and four thousand pounds of powder, which he proposed to send to Lord Mar, in Scotland.

In the department of philosophy flourished also Bishop Berkeley (b. 1684; d. 1753), author of "The Principles of Human Knowledge," whostartled the world with the theory that matter has no existence in the universe, but is merely a fixed idea of the mind; Dr. Mandeville, a Dutchman by birth, who settled in London, and published various medical and metaphysical works of a freethinking character; Hutchinson, an opponent of Dr. Woodward in natural history, and Newton in natural philosophy; and David Hartley, author of "Observations on Man." Bishop Butler, Warburton, Hoadley, Middleton, author of "A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers of the Church," and Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, were the leading theologians in the Church; but Dissent could also boast of its men of light and leading in Dr. Isaac Watts, author of a system of Logic and of the popular Hymns; Calamy, the opponent of Hoadley; Doddridge, and others.

On the 17th of March, a few nights after Mr. Cobden's motion, Mr. Miles brought forward a motion for relief to the agricultural interest in the reduction or remission of taxation. He complained that there had been an importation of wheat during the last thirty-two months seven or eight times greater in amount than in the thirty-six months immediately subsequent to the introduction of the Corn Law of 1828. The abundance of meat in Leadenhall, Smithfield, and Newgate Markets, through the importation of foreign cattle, was also made a subject of reproach against the Ministry, and he told the House, as the spokesman of the agricultural party, "that they had no confidence in the measures which the Government proposed." They thought that anything would be better than their present position. They saw that the tariff which was passed three years ago was now going to be revised again, and that the shield of protection which was thrown over some of the productions of their industry was about to be removed still farther from them. In such circumstances they could not refrain from asking themselves what there was to prevent the Corn Laws from going next? Mr. Disraeli then, in a strain of sarcasm which is stated to have elicited cheers and laughter from the House, assailed the consistency of the Premier, and the tone in which he rebuked the mutinous and rebellious members of his party. He believed, he said, Protection to be in the same condition now as Protestantism had been in 1828, and he, who honoured genius, would rather see the abolition of all Protection proposed by Mr. Cobden than by any right honourable gentleman or by any noble lord on either side of the House. It might be necessary, before such an abolition was accomplished, for the Premier to dissolve the Parliament for the benefit of the party which he had betrayed, and to appeal to the country, which universally mistrusted him. His solemn and deliberate conviction was that a Conservative Government was an organised hypocrisy.

After this complete surrender the House resumed its labours in committee on the Bill on the 1st of June. Few alterations were made, and the thinned ranks of the Opposition ceased to throw obstacles in the way. The third reading was carried by a majority of 84, the numbers being 106 and 22. The Lords' amendments having been acquiesced in by the Commons, the Bill was referred to the Upper House, and on the 7th of June it received the Royal Assent by commission, the Commissioners being Lords Grey, Brougham, Lansdowne, Wellesley, Holland, and Durham. The king was so hurt by the coercion to which he had been subjected, and by the insults heaped upon himself, the queen, and all belonging to him, that nothing could persuade him to go to the House and give his assent in person. "The question," he said, "was one of feeling, not of duty; and as a Sovereign and a gentleman he was bound to refuse."[See larger version]

On the opening of Parliament, in January, 1738, a desperate effort was made by the Opposition at once to reduce the army and to kindle a war with Spain. Walpole proposed to place the army on a footing of seventeen thousand men. The "Patriots," as they were called, voted to reduce the number to twelve thousand. Walpole, exasperated at their factious conduct, launched an indignant sarcasm at them, which produced so much effect that they did not venture to divide on the motion. "No man of common sense," said Walpole, "will now profess himself openly a Jacobite; by so doing he not only may injure his private fortune, but must render himself less able to do any effectual service to the cause he has embraced; therefore there are but few such men in the kingdom. Your right Jacobite, sir, disguises his true sentiments. He roars out for revolutionary principles; he pretends to be a great friend to liberty and a great admirer of our ancient Constitution; and under this pretence there are numbers who every day endeavour to sow discontent among the people."In the meantime, the Catholic Association was pursuing its work with increasing vigour and determination. It resolved thenceforth to support no candidate who should not pledge himself to oppose every Government that did not make Emancipation a Cabinet measure. Provincial meetings were held in Clonmel, Kilkenny, and Mullingar; the chair at the last place being occupied by the Marquis of Westmeath. Between the two extreme parties there were many moderate men, of high social position, anxious for something like a compromise. Some of these were in confidential communication with Lord Anglesey's Government, and it was thought desirable to establish a Liberal platform, with a view to moderating the violence of Catholics and Brunswickers.Iron suspension bridges were also introduced towards the end of this reign. Chain bridges had been erected in China for nearly two thousand years, and rope bridges in India and South America still earlier. In England a foot-bridge of iron chains was erected at Middleton, over the Tees, in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1816 a bridge of iron wire was thrown across the Gala Water; and another, on a different principle, the following year, was erected over the Tweed, at[193] King's Meadows. But now much greater and more complete works of the kind were to be executed. Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown introduced many improvements into these structures. He substituted iron ropes for hempen ones, thereby forming cable-chains, like those used in Wales on quarry tram-roads, and these he applied to suspension bridges. In 1819 he was commissioned to construct an iron suspension bridge over the Tweed, near Kelso, called the union Bridge, which he completed in 1820, at a cost of five thousand pounds. In 1827 the first suspension bridge was thrown over the Thames by Mr. William Tierney Clarke; and in 1818 Telford commenced his great work of throwing a suspension bridge over the Menai Strait, near Bangor, which he completed in 1825. The main opening of this stupendous work is five hundred and sixty feet wide, and one hundred feet above high-water mark. The length of the roadway of the bridge is one thousand feet. The cost was one hundred and twenty thousand pounds. This was Telford's chef-d'?uvre. But the same neighbourhood was destined to see a more stupendous structure span the Strait from the Welsh shore to Anglesey. This was the tubular railway bridge, connecting the London and Holyhead line, within view of Telford's elegant suspension bridge. This was erected by Robert Stephenson, from his own design, greatly improved by suggestions from William Fairbairn of Manchester. It was completed in October, 1850, at a cost of six hundred and twenty-five thousand eight hundred and sixty-five pounds. Further description of this great work is not proper here, as it belongs to a later date, but it seemed fit to mention it in passing, as an evidence of the progress of the engineering science in the reign of Victoria.

He despatched a squadron of ten ships of the line to the Mediterranean, under Admiral Haddock; another strong squadron sailed for the West Indies; letters of marque and reprisal were issued to the merchants; and troops and stores were forwarded to Georgia, which the Spaniards had threatened to invade. He gave directions to all merchants in Spanish ports to register their goods with a public notary in case of a rupture. These measures produced a rapid change of tone at the Spanish Court. On comparing the demands on both sides for damages sustained in commerce, there appeared a balance in favour of England of two hundred thousand pounds. Against this, the Spaniards demanded sixty thousand pounds in compensation for the ships taken by Admiral Byng in 1718a claim which Stanhope would never allow, but which had been recognised in the Treaty of Seville, and was now, therefore, acknowledged. This reduced the sum to a hundred and forty thousand pounds, which the Spanish Court proposed should be paid by assignments on the American revenues. This, the Ministers were well aware, might involve the most endless delays and uncertainties, and they certainly showed a most conceding spirit by allowing a deduction of forty-five thousand pounds for prompt payment at Madrid. The sum was now reduced to ninety-five thousand pounds; and this being agreed to, a convention was signed on the 14th of January, 1739.

Every engine of the English Court was put in motion to prevent the Electoral Prince from coming. Oxford had an interview with Schutz, in which he repeated that it was his applying for the writ to the Lord Chancellor instead of to the queen that had done all the mischief; that her Majesty, had it not been for this untoward incident, would have invited the Prince to come over and spend the summer in Englandforgetting, as Schutz observed, that the minute before he had assured him that the queen was too much afraid of seeing any of that family here. He advised Schutzwho could not be convinced that he had done anything irregular in his application, quoting numerous proofs to show that it was the accustomed mode of applying for writsto avoid appearing again at Court; but Schutz, not seeming disposed to follow that advice, immediately received a positive order to the same effect from the queen through another channel. Schutz, therefore, lost no time in returning to Hanover to justify himself. At the same time, Lord Strafford was instructed to write from the Hague, blaming the conduct of Schutz in applying for the writ in the manner he did, as disrespectful to the queen; for, though strictly legal for an absent peer to make such application, the etiquette was that he should defer it till he could do it personally. Strafford ridiculed the idea of any movement being afoot in favour of the Pretender, and observed that, as to sending him out of the Duke of Lorraine's territory, it was not practicable, because the French king maintained that he had fulfilled the treaty, Lorraine not being any part of France. On the other hand, there were striking signs that the cause[17] of Hanover was in the ascendant. Men who watched the course of events decided accordingly. Marlborough, who so lately had been making court to the Pretender, now wrote from Antwerp, urging the House of Hanover to send over the prince without delay to England; that the state of the queen's health made prompt action necessary; and that the presence of the prince in London would secure the succession without risk, without expense, and without war, and was the likeliest measure of inducing France to abandon its design of assisting the Pretender.But it was not to Great Britain only that this want of generosity was shown. No people rejoiced more vehemently than they didnone, indeed, so muchover the fall and execution of Louis XVI. of France, the one monarch of Europe who had been their chief benefactor, without whose powerful aid they would have fought and struggled in vain, and who had, in fact, lost his crown and his head, and his empire to his family, by sending his soldiers to learn Republicanism amongst them. There were feasts and public rejoicings in the United States to commemorate the death of Louis, who was, in fact, the martyr of America. What was equally extraordinary, whilst they exulted in the French Republic, they followed with an equal admiration the career of Buonaparte, who crushed that Republic, and raised up a despotism opposed in its principles to all the political professions of Americans. But it was the idea that he was born to humble and, perhaps, blot out Great Britain from the list of nations, which served to render Napoleon so especially the object of their unbounded eulogies. His victories were celebrated nowhere so vociferously as in the United States, through the press, the pulpit, and in general oratory. With them he was the Man of Destiny, who was to overthrow all kings but himself, and drive Great Britain from her dominion of the seas.

Serious differences between Great Britain and the United States of America occupied the attention of both Governments during the years 1841 and 1842, and were brought to a satisfactory[492] termination by the Ashburton Treaty, referred to in the Royal Speech at the opening of Parliament in 1843. The questions at issue, which were keenly debated on both sides, related to the right of search, the Canadian boundary, and the McLeod affair. The Government of Great Britain regarding the slave-trade as an enormous evil and a scandal to the civilised world, entered into arrangements with other nations for its suppression. For that purpose treaties were concluded, securing to each of the contracting parties the mutual right of search under certain limitations. The United States Government declined to be a party to these treaties, and refused to have their vessels searched or interfered with in time of peace upon the high seas under any pretence whatever. Notwithstanding these treaties, however, and the costly measures which Great Britain had recourse to for suppressing the nefarious traffic in human beings, the slave trade was carried on even by some of the nations that had agreed to the treaties; and in order to do this more effectually, they adopted the flag of the United States. For the purpose of preventing this abuse, Great Britain claimed the right of search or of visitation to ascertain the national character of the vessels navigating the African seas, and detaining their papers to see if they were legally provided with documents entitling them to the protection of any country, and especially of the country whose flag they might have hoisted at the time. Lord Palmerston, as Foreign Secretary, argued that while his Government did not claim the right to search American merchantmen in times of peace, a merchantman could not exempt itself from search by merely hoisting a piece of bunting with the United States emblems and colours upon it. It should be shown by the papers that the vessel was entitled to bear the flagthat she was United States property, and navigated according to law. Mr. Stevenson, the American Minister, protested strongly against this doctrine, denying that there was any ground of public right or justice in the claim put forth, since the right of search was, according to the law of nations, a strictly belligerent right. If other nations sought to cover their infamous traffic by the fraudulent use of the American flag, the Government of the United States was not responsible; and in any case it was for that Government to take such steps as might be required to protect its flag from abuse.



Meanwhile Ministers had not yet perceived the military genius of Sir Arthur Wellesley, notwithstanding his services in India, at Copenhagen, and his brilliant victories at Roli?a and Vimiera. Instead of making him at once commander-in-chief of the forces destined to co-operate in Spainfor they now resolved to make a decided movement in favour of the Spanish patriotsthey gave that post to Sir John Moore. Sir Arthur had assured Ministers that he was far better qualified for the chief command than any of the superior officers then in the Peninsula. He had now displayed the qualities necessary for a great general: prudence as well as daring, and the sagacious vision which foresees not only difficulties, but the means of surmounting them. Sir Arthur had carried victory with him everywhere, a circumstance one would have thought sufficient to satisfy the dullest diplomatist that he was the man for the occasion. But there was one thing which demanded attention, without which the successful operation of our armies was impossiblethe thorough reform of the Commissariat Department. This department was at that time in a condition of the most deplorable inefficiency. The commissariat officers had no experience; there was no system to guide and stimulate them. Sir Arthur had learned the necessity, in India, of the most complete machinery of supply; that it was of no use attempting to advance into a hostile country without knowing how and whence your troops were to be provisioned, and to have always ammunition in plenty, and tents for shelter. This machinery all wanted organisingthe absolute necessity of its[563] perfect action impressing itself on every individual concerned in it. Until this were done, Sir Arthur would never have advanced into the heart of Spain as Sir John Moore did. Considering the state of the roads, and the want of mules, horses, and waggons to convey the baggage, he would not have proceeded till he had first brought these into existence. Still more, Sir Arthur would not have marched far without securing, by one means or other, correct information of the real state and localities of the Spanish armies. On all these things depended success, and no man was more alive to the knowledge of this than Sir Arthur Wellesley. He had already pressed these matters earnestly on the attention of Government, and had they had the penetration to have at once selected him for the command, they would have spared the country the disasters which followed.In consequence of the difficulty of getting impartiality combined with local information, the Commissioners determined to unite in the inquiry "a native of Great Britain with a resident native of Ireland." They were very slow in their investigations, and complaints were made in Parliament and by the public of the time and money consumed in the inquiry. In the early part of 1836 they made a second report, in which they gave an account of the various institutions that had been established for the relief of the poor, such as infirmaries, dispensaries, fever hospitals, lunatic asylums, foundling hospitals, houses of industry, the total charge of which amounted to about 205,000, of which 50,000 consisted of Parliamentary grants, the remainder being derived from grand jury presentments, voluntary contributions, and other local sources. This second[403] report, which added little or nothing to the knowledge of the public on the subject, and suggested no general plan for the relief of the poor, was by no means satisfactory to the public. Mr. Nicholls was then a member of the English Poor Law Commission; and the state of the Irish poor being pressed upon his attention, he prepared for the consideration of Government a series of suggestions, founded upon a general view of social requirements and upon his experience of the English Poor Law, coupled with the evidence appended to the Irish Commissioners' first report. These suggestions were presented to Lord John Russell in January, 1836, about the same time as the Commissioners' second report. In due time that body published their third report, containing the general results of their inquiry upon the condition of the people, which may be summed up as follows:There is not the same division of labour which exists in Great Britain. The labouring class look to agriculture alone for support, whence the supply of agricultural labour greatly exceeds the demand for it, and small earnings and widespread misery are the consequences. It appeared that in Great Britain the agricultural families constituted little more than one-fourth, whilst in Ireland they constituted about two-thirds of the whole population; that there were in Great Britain, in 1831, 1,055,982 agricultural labourers; in Ireland, 1,131,715, although the cultivated land of Great Britain amounted to about 34,250,000 acres, and that of Ireland only to about 14,600,000. So that there were in Ireland about five agricultural labourers for every two that there were for the same quantity of land in Great Britain. It further appeared that the agricultural progress of Great Britain was more than four times that of Ireland; that agricultural wages varied from sixpence to one shilling a day; that the average of the country is about eightpence-halfpenny; and that the earnings of the labourers come, on an average of the whole class, to from two shillings to two and sixpence a week or thereabouts for the year round. The Commissioners state that they "cannot estimate the number of persons out of work and in distress during thirty weeks of the year at less than 585,000, nor the number of persons dependent upon them at less than 1,800,000, making in the whole 2,385,000. This, therefore," it is added, "is about the number for which it would be necessary to provide accommodation in workhouses, if all who required relief were there to be relieved;" and they consider it impossible to provide for such a multitude, or even to attempt it with safety. The expense of erecting and fitting up the necessary buildings would, they say, come to about 4,000,000; and, allowing for the maintenance of each person twopence-halfpenny only a day (that being the expense at the mendicity establishment of Dublin), the cost of supporting the whole 2,385,000 for thirty weeks would be something more than 5,000,000 a year; whereas the gross rental of Ireland (exclusive of towns) is estimated at less than 10,000,000 a year, the net income of the landlords at less than 6,000,000, and the public revenue is only about 4,000,000. They could not, therefore, recommend the present workhouse system of England as at all suited to Ireland.

Mr. Lamb, the Chief Secretary, wrote to Mr. Peel to the same effect. The Act, he said, had failed in fulfilling its main object, as well as every other advantageous purpose. To re-enact it would irritate all parties, and expose the Ministry to odium. He alluded to sources of dissension that were springing up in the Roman Catholic body, particularly the jealousy excited in the Roman Catholic prelates by the power which the Association had assumed over the parochial clergy. On the whole, his advice was against renewing the Statute. On the 12th of April Lord Anglesey wrote a memorandum on the subject, in which he pointed out the impolicy of any coercive measure, which, to be effective, must interfere with the right of public meeting, and make a dangerous inroad on the Constitution, at the same time displaying the weakness of the Government, which is shown in nothing more than passing strong measures which there was not vigour to enforce. His information led him to believe that the higher orders of the Roman Catholic clergy had long felt great jealousy of the ascendency that the leaders of the Association had assumed over the lower priesthood. Besides, many of the most respectable of the Catholic landlords were irritated at their tenantry for continuing to pay the Catholic rent, contrary to their injunctions; and sooner or later he believed the poorer contributors must consider the impost as onerous, arbitrary, and oppressive. These matters he regarded as seeds of dissolution, which would be more than neutralised by any coercive attempt to put down the Association. He felt confident that no material mischief could result from allowing the Act quietly to expire, supported as the Government was by "the powerful aid of that excellent establishment, the constabulary force, already working the greatest[270] benefit, and capable of still further improvement, and protected as this force was by an efficient army, ably commanded."


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