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Very strong hopes were entertained by the Liberal party from the Administration of Lord Wellesley, but it was his misfortune to be obliged to commence it with coercive measures, always the ready resource of the Irish Government. The new Viceroy would have removed, if possible, the causes of public disturbance; but, in the meantime, the peace must be preserved and sanguinary outrages must be repressed, and he did not shrink from the discharge of his duty in this respect on account of the popular odium which it was sure to bring upon his Government. Mr. Plunket, as Attorney-General, was as firm in the administration of justice as Mr. Saurin, his high Tory predecessor, could be. The measures of repression adopted by the legislature were certainly not wanting in severity. The disorders were agrarian, arising out of insecurity of land tenure, rack rents, and tithes levied by proctors upon tillage, and falling chiefly upon the Roman Catholic population, who disowned the ministrations of the Established Church. The remedies which the Government provided for disturbances thus originating were the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act and the renewal of the Insurrection Act. By the provisions of the latter the Lord-Lieutenant was empowered, on the representation of justices in session that a district was disturbed, to proclaim it in a state of insurrection, to interdict the inhabitants from leaving their homes between sunset and sunrise, and to subject them to visits by night, to ascertain their presence in their own dwellings. If absent, they were considered idle and disorderly, and liable to transportation for seven years! These measures encountered considerable opposition, but they were rapidly passed through both Houses, and received the Royal Assent a week after Parliament met. Under these Acts a number of Whiteboys and other offenders were tried and convicted, several hanged, and many transported. Lord Wellesley must have felt his position very disagreeable between the two excited parties. To be impartial and just was to incur the hostility of both. Possibly he became disgusted with the factions that surrounded him. Whether from this cause, or from an indolent temper, or from the feeling that he was hampered and restrained, and could not do for the country what he felt that its well-being required, or from ill health, it is certain that he became very inactive. A member of the Cabinet writes about him thus:"I find the Orange party are loud in their abuse of Lord Wellesley, for shutting himself up at the Ph?nix Park, lying in bed all day, seeing nobody, and only communicating with Secretary Gregory by letter. Indeed, I believe that the latter is more than he often favours Secretaries Peel and Goulburn with." In another letter, the same Minister, Mr. Wynn, complains of his total neglect of his correspondence with England. This, he said, was inexcusable, because those on whom the chief responsibility rested had a right to know his views upon the state of Ireland, in order to be able to meet the Opposition during the sitting of Parliament. This was written towards the end of April, and at that time the Government had not for a month heard a syllable from him on the agitated questions of tithes, magistracy, and police. The state of Ireland, indeed, became every day more perplexing and alarming. A revolutionary spirit was abroad, and all other social evils were aggravated by famine, which prevailed in extensive districts in the south and west. The potato crop, always precarious, was then almost a total failure in many counties, and left the dense population, whose existence depended upon it, totally destitute. The cry of distress reached England, and was responded to in the most generous spirit. Half a million[223] sterling was voted by Parliament, and placed at the disposal of Lord Wellesley, to be dispensed in charitable relief and expended on public works for the employment of the poor. In addition to this, the English people contributed from their private resources the sum of three hundred thousand pounds for the relief of Irish distress. On the 30th of May there was a ball given for the same object, in the King's Theatre, London, which produced three thousand five hundred pounds.

In the House of Lords several discussions took place on the dismissal of the Repeal magistrates. Lord Clanricarde, on the 14th of July, moved resolutions declaring that act of the Lord Chancellor "unconstitutional, unjust, and inexpedient." The Duke of Wellington met the motion by a direct negative. "These meetings," he said, "consisting of 10,000, 20,000, or 100,000 menno matter the number of thousandshaving been continued, I wish to know with what object they were continued? With a view to address Parliament to repeal the union? No, my lords; they were continued in order to obtain the desired repeal of the union by the terror of the people, and, if not by terror, by force and violence; and the persons calling these meetings were magistrates, the very men who must have been employed by the Government to resist such terror and violence, and to arrest those who were guilty of such breaches of the peace. That is the ground on which the Lord Chancellor of Ireland said to the magistrates, 'You must be dismissed if you attend, or invite attendance at such meetings.'" The Duke "regretted to learn there was poverty in Ireland; but," he asked, "was that poverty relieved by a march of twenty-five and thirty miles a day in spring and summer to hear seditious speeches? Was poverty relieved by subscribing to the Repeal rent?" The resolutions were negatived by a majority of 91 to 29. In a subsequent debate, arising out of a petition presented by Lord Roden from 5,000 Ulster Protestants, complaining that they had been prevented from celebrating the Orange anniversary, while the most flagrant breaches of the law were passed over in the case of those who wanted to overthrow the Constitution, which the Orangemen were sworn to defend, the Duke of Wellington, on that occasion, said that "nothing had been neglected by the Government that was necessary to preserve the peace of the country, and to meet all misfortunes and consequences which might result from the violence of the passions of those men who unfortunately guided the multitude in Ireland. He did not dispute the extent of the conspiracy or the dangers resulting from it; he did not deny the assistance received from foreigners of nearly all nationsdisturbed and disturbing spirits, who were anxious to have an opportunity of injuring and deteriorating the great prosperity of this countrybut he felt confident that the measures adopted by the Government would enable it to resist all, and preserve the peace."

The effect of steam communication between Great Britain and Ireland was to increase very greatly the traffic of those countries. It has been stated that in order to save the salaries of one or two junior clerks, it was determined to cease keeping any official records of this traffic, with the exception of grain and flour. In the absence of such records we can only arrive at an approximation to the quantity and value of the exports and imports. It was, however, estimated by persons acquainted with the subject, that the quantity of agricultural produce imported into Liverpool alone in 1832 was worth four millions and a half sterling; and this produce consisted chiefly of live stockhorses, sheep, and pigswhich could not have been so profitably brought over by sailing vessels. The value of agricultural produce brought to the port of Bristol from Ireland in the same year was one million sterling. The total value of all sorts of live animals brought from Ireland to Liverpool in 1837 was 3,397,760. One of the most curious items in the traffic is the egg trade. In the course of the year 1832 no less than 100,000 was paid for Irish eggs in Liverpool and Bristol alone. Looking at the whole traffic between the two islands, we perceive that the amount of tonnage employed in 1849 was 250 per cent. more than it was in 1801. Up to 1826 the increase was not so rapid as subsequently, it being then only 62 per cent. on the whole period, showing an annual increase of 2-2/5 per cent., whereas for the quarter of a century that followed, the increase was 188 per cent., the annual increase being 8 per cent.[See larger version]

An impression got abroad, soon after the Clare election, that the Duke of Wellington and Mr. Peel were wavering on the Catholic question; and in the month of August a profound sensation was produced by a speech made by Mr. Dawson, one of the members for Londonderry. Mr. Dawson was the brother-in-law of the Home Secretary. The latter represented Oxford University, having beaten Canning out of the field, as the champion of Protestant ascendency. The former represented the greatest stronghold of Protestantism in Ireland, the very last of all its constituencies to tolerate a departure from its own inspiring watchword, "No Surrender." Mr. Dawson had been a most uncompromising antagonist of the Catholic claims. We cannot wonder, then, at the startling effect, which ran like an electric shock through the country, when such a mana member of the Governmentat a public banquet, in the midst of the local chiefs of Conservatism within the walls of Derry, surrounded by all the memorials of the glorious Revolution of 1688, pronounced the word "Surrender." He was described as the "pilot balloon," to show the direction in which the wind blew in high quarters. Thus, there was a complete accordance between Mr. Sheil, the eloquent agitator, and Mr. Dawson, one of the ablest and most loyal supporters of the Government, as to the victorious power of the Catholic Association. But to have its triumphs thus proclaimed on the very spot where Protestant ascendency had been established 140 years before, and which had ever since remained its greatest stronghold, was more than could be borne by men who had just been drinking with enthusiasm "The glorious, pious, and immortal memory of William III." Mr. Dawson was, therefore, reviled and execrated; he was burned in effigy, and for years his name was almost as odious to the Orangemen as Lundy the traitor. Hitherto, the agitation on both sides had been little better than child's-play. The Protestant party rested satisfied in the persuasion that "the Constitution in Church and State" was safe in the keeping of a thoroughly Conservative Governmenta House of Lords which would not change the laws of England, and a Sovereign who would not violate his coronation oath. But when they found their standard-bearers fainting, and their most trusted commanders parleying with the enemy, their exasperation knew no bounds. The Brunswickers were now terribly in earnest. Their blood was up, and they longed for the arbitrament of the sword.

The Bastille surrendered almost immediately after the governor had been seized with despair. The French Guard began to cannonade the fortress; the captain of the Swiss, who might undoubtedly have held out much longer, saw that no rescue came, and that prolonged resistance would only lead in the end to sanguinary vengeance, he therefore hoisted a white flag. The captain of the Swiss demanded to be allowed to capitulate, and to march out with the honours of war; but the furious mob cried out, "No capitulation! no quarter! The rascals have fired upon the People!" The Swiss captain then said that they would lay down their arms, on condition that their lives should be spared. Then the gates of the old prison were thrown open, and the furious and triumphant mob burst in. The news of the fall of the Bastille came as a thunder-clap. The king, who had not been so confident, was gone to bed. The Duke de Liancourt, Grand Master of the Wardrobe, by virtue of his office went to his bedside, awoke him, and told him the amazing fact. "What!" exclaimed Louis, "is it, then, really a revolt?" "Say, rather, sire," replied the Duke, "a revolution!"LA ROCHE-JAQUELEIN AND THE REPUBLICAN SOLDIERS. (See p. 444.)Parliament was prorogued on the 18th of April, and the king soon after set out for his German dominions, taking Stanhope along with him, and his mistress, the Duchess of Kendal. In appointing the Regency to administer affairs in the king's absence, the Prince of Wales was entirely passed over, to his great indignation; nor were he and the Princess allowed to hold levees, that duty being assigned to the young princesses, to the great scandal of the public, and further exposure of the discord raging in the Royal family. Even during the session the ministers had brought in a Bill to "settle and limit the Peerage in such a manner that the number of English peers should not be enlarged beyond six of the present number (178), which, upon failure of male issue, might be supplied by new creations; that, instead of the sixteen elective peers of Scotland, twenty-five should be made hereditary on the part of that kingdom; and that this number, upon failure of heirs male, should be supplied from the other members of the Scottish Peerage." Both the king and ministers flattered themselves that they should carry this Bill, and thus fetter the Prince of Wales when he came to the throne. The king was desirous to do this out of sheer jealousy and hatred of his own son, and the ministers, Sunderland in particular, out of dread of his vengeance in that case; for, if he created a dozen peers at a time, as Anne had done, he could easily swamp the Whigs and put the present ministers in peril of impeachment. But though the Whigs had been clamorous against the act of Anne, some of them now, Cowper and Townshend at their head, as vehemently denounced this measure as a gross infringement of the royal prerogative. The debate became very bitter, and many friendships were broken up by it, amongst others that of Addison and Steele, who took different sides; but the Bill was finally dropped, through the vigorous opposition offered to it by Walpole.

The prorogation of Parliament, on the 21st of June, liberated both Sir Francis and the unfortunate president of the debating society, Mr. John Gale Jones. On the morning of this day vast crowds assembled before the Tower to witness the enlargement of the popular baronet. There was a great procession of Reformers with banners and mottoes, headed by Major Cartwright, and attended by Mr. Sheriff Wood and Mr. Sheriff Atkins; but as Sir Francis apprehended that there might be some fresh and fatal collision between the military and the people, he prudently resolved to leave the Tower quietly by water, which he effected, to the deep disappointment of the populace. No such excitement as this had taken place, on a question of right between the House of Commons and an individual member, since the days of Wilkes.The manner in which a great deal of these vast sums, so freely voted, was spent, was, at this very moment, staring the public most fully in the face, through the military inquiry set on foot under the administration of Pitt, and continued under the present Ministry. It appeared that one Davison, being made Treasurer of the Ordnance by Pitt, had been in the habit of drawing large sums from the Treasury long before they were wanted, and had generally from three million to four million pounds of the national funds in his hands to trade with, of which the country lost the interest! Nor was this all: there had been an understanding between himself, Delauny, the Barrackmaster-General, and Greenwood, the army agent. All these gentlemen helped themselves largely to the public money, and their accounts were full of misstatements and overcharges. Those of Delauny were yet only partly gone through, but there was a charge of ninety thousand pounds already against him for fraudulent entries and impositions. As for Davison, there was found to be an arrangement between him and Delauny, by which, as a contractor, he was to receive of Delauny two-and-a-half per cent. on beds, sheets, blankets, towels, candles, beer, forage, etc., which he furnished for barrack use. Besides this, he was to supply the coals as a merchant. Having always several millions of the country's money in hand, he bought up the articles, got his profit, and then his commission, without any outlay of his own. Lord Archibald Hamilton gave notice of a motion for the prosecution of Davison at common law, but Ministers said they had put the matter into the proper hands, and that Davison had been summoned to deliver up all his accounts that they might be examined, and measures taken to recover any amount due by him to the Treasury. But Lord Henry Petty talked as though it was not certain that there were sufficient proofs of his guilt to convict him. The Attorney-General, however, was ordered to prosecute in the Court of King's Bench, but the decision did not take place till April, 1809, more than two years afterwards, and then only the miserable sum of eighteen thousand one hundred and eighty-three pounds had been recovered, and Davison was condemned to twenty-one months' imprisonment in Newgate.

The debates were very animated, and excited the liveliest interest. The Bill was read the first time by a majority of five. On the 10th of May the House divided on the second reading, which was carried by a majority of twelve, the numbers being, for the Bill, two hundred and thirty-five; noes, two hundred and twenty-three. The exertions made to defeat this Bill were extraordinary. There were twenty-seven pairs of members who appeared in the House. The Duke of York canvassed against it in all directions with the utmost zeal and activity. It was felt that if it passed into law, the admission of Roman Catholics into the Lower House must follow as a matter of course. The Bill, however, was thrown out by the Lords.The war in Germany grew more and more bloody. Russia and Austria came down upon Frederick this year with great forces. Daun entered Saxony; Laudohn and Soltikow, Silesia. Laudohn defeated Fouqu at Landshut, and took the fortress of Glatz, and compelled Frederick, though hard pressed by Daun, to march for Silesia. The month was July, the weather so hot that upwards of a hundred of his soldiers fell dead on the march. Daun followed him, watching his opportunity to fall upon him when engaged with other troops, but on the way Frederick heard of the defeat of Fouqu and the fall of Glatz, and suddenly turned back to reach Dresden before Daun, and take the city by storm; but as Daun was too expeditious for him, and Maguire, the governor, an Irishman, paid no heed to his demands for surrender, Frederick, who had lately been so beautifully philosophising on the inhumanities of men, commenced a most ferocious bombardment, not of the fortress but of the town. He burnt and laid waste the suburbs, fired red-hot balls into the city to burn it all down, demolished the finest churches and houses, and crushed the innocent inhabitants in their flaming and falling dwellings, till crowds rushed from the place in desperation, rather facing his ruthless soldiers than the horrors of his bombardment.

"His Excellency the Marquis ofTHE QUEEN OF PRUSSIA REVIEWING THE ARMY. (See p. 524.)During the Session, however, a Bill was passed sanctioning the establishment of a company which had been formed several years before, for trading to the new settlement of Sierra Leone, on the coast of Africa. In 1787 this settlement was begun by philanthropists, to show that colonial productions could be obtained without the labour of slaves, and to introduce civilisation into that continent through the means of commerce carried on by educated blacks. In that year four hundred and seventy negroes, then living in a state of destitution in London, were removed to it. In 1790 their number was increased by one thousand one hundred and ninety-eight other negroes from Nova Scotia, who could not flourish in so severe a climate. Ten years after the introduction of the blacks from Nova Scotia, five hundred and fifty maroons were brought from Jamaica, and in 1819 a black regiment, disbanded in the West Indies, was added. The capability of this settlement for the production of cotton, coffee, sugar, etc., was fully demonstrated; but no spot could have been selected more fatal to the health of Europeans. It is a region of deep-sunk rivers and morasses, which, in that sultry climate, are pregnant with death to the white man.

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[See larger version]Hunt, and about a dozen of his friends, were seized on the platform. Bamford and some others, who had escaped, were afterwards taken. The streets were then cleared by the infantry. Such was the celebrated Manchester massacre, in which the actual wounds inflicted by the soldiers do not appear to have been many. About seventy people were carried to the infirmaries, or went there, to have their wounds dresseda considerable number for severe cuts and fractured limbs; and six lives were lost, including a special constable run over by the cavalry, and a Manchester Yeoman, who was struck from his horse by a brickbat, aimed by a man whom he was pursuing.The excitement among the public, as this resolution became known, was intense, and large crowds assembled in front of the baronet's house, applauding, and shouting "Burdett for ever!" In their enthusiasm they compelled all passengers to take off their hats, and shout too. But they did not stop here. On such occasions a rabble of the lowest kind unites itself to the real Reformersand the mob began to insult persons of opposite principles and to break the windows of their houses. The Earl of Westmoreland, Lord Privy Seal, was recognised, and, as well as others of the same political faith, pelted with mud. The windows of Mr. Yorke, as the originator of the acts of the Commons, were quickly broken, and, in rapid succession, those of Lord Chatham, amid loud shouts of "Walcheren!" of Sir Robert Peel, the Duke of Montrose, Lord Castlereagh, Lord Westmoreland, Lord Wellesley, Mr. Wellesley Pole, Sir John Anstruther, and others. The Horse Guards were called out, and dispersed the rioters. The next day the serjeant-at-arms made his way into Sir Francis Burdett's house, and presented the Speaker's warrant for his arrest; but Sir Francis put the warrant in his pocket without looking at it, and a Mr. O'Connor, who was present, led the serjeant-at-arms down stairs, and closed the door on him. A troop of Life Guards and a company of Foot Guards were then ordered to post themselves in front of Sir Francis's house, and at night it was found necessary to read the Riot Act, and then the Guards were ordered to clear the street, which they did. Whilst this was doing, Sir Francis watched the proceeding from the windows, and was repeatedly cheered by the mob. Whilst thus besieged, he was visited by Lord Cochrane, the Earl of Thanet, Whitbread, Coke of Norfolk, Lord Folkestone, Colonel Wardle, Major Cartwright, and other Radical Reformers. Some of these gentlemen thought enough had been done to establish a case for a trial of the right of the House of Commons, and advised Sir Francis to yield to the Speaker's warrant. But Sir Francis addressed a letter to the sheriffs of London, informing them that an attack was made upon his liberty, by an instrument which he held to be decidedly illegal, and calling upon them to protect both him and the other inhabitants of the bailiwick from such violence. In this dilemma, the Premier, Mr. Perceval, advised that the serjeant-at-arms should lay the case before the Attorney-General, Sir Vicary Gibbs, which he did; but the reply of Sir Vicary only created more embarrassment, for he was doubtful whether, should any person be killed in enforcing the Speaker's warrant, it would not be held to be murder, and whether if the serjeant-at-arms were killed, a charge of murder would not issue against the perpetrator. The sheriffs, who were themselves strong Reformers, laid the letter of Sir Francis before the Speaker and before Mr. Ryder, the new Home Secretary, who counselled them to give their aid in enforcing the warrant. But these gentlemen proceeded to the house of Sir Francis Burdett, and passed the night with him for his protection.

This was a serious position of affairs for the consideration of the new Whig Ministry. They were called on to declare, either that Ireland was part of the empire, and subject to the same laws, as regarded the empire, as Great Britain, or that it was distinctly a separate empire under the same king, just as Hanover was. The Ministry of Rockingham have been severely blamed by one political party, and highly lauded by another, for conceding the claims of Ireland on that head so readily; for they came to the conclusion to yield them fully. They were by no means blind to the[290] difficulties of the case, and to the evils that might arise from a decision either way. But the case with the present Ministry was one of simple necessity. England had committed the great error of refusing all concession to demanded rights in the case of America, and now lay apparently too exhausted by the fight to compel submission, with all Europe in arms against her. Ireland, aware of this, was in arms, and determined to profit by the crisis. Fox, therefore, on the 17th of May, announced the intention of Ministers at once to acknowledge the independence of Ireland by repealing the Act of the 6th of George I. Fox, in his speech, declared that it was far better to have the Irish willing subjects to the Crown than bitter enemies. The Bill repealing the 6th of George I. accordingly passed both Houses as a matter of course, and the effect upon Ireland was such, that in the first ebullition of the national joy the Irish House of Commons voted one hundred thousand pounds to raise twenty thousand seamen. The Irish Commons, moreover, offered to grant Grattan, for his patriotic and successful exertions in this cause, a similar sum, to purchase him an estate. Grattanthough a poor man, his income at that time scarcely exceeding five hundred pounds a yeardisinterestedly refused such a sum, and was only with difficulty induced ultimately to accept half of it.[See larger version]

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