John Stewart, made Attorney-General and a baronet.
There only needed now one thing to render the expedition triumphant, and place the Hudson from Albany to New York in the absolute power of the British army—that General Howe should have been prepared to keep the appointment there with a proper fleet and armed force. But Howe was engaged in the campaign of Philadelphia, and seems to have been utterly incapable of conducting two such operations as watching Washington and supporting Burgoyne. As soon as Burgoyne discovered this fatal want of co-operation on the part of Howe, he ought to have retreated to the lakes, but he still determined to advance; and before doing so, he only awaited the coming up of the artillery and baggage under General Philips, and of Colonel St. Leger, who had been dispatched by the course of the Oswego, the Oneida Lake, and Wood Creek, and thence by the Mohawk river, which falls into the Hudson between Saratoga and Albany. St. Leger had two hundred regulars—Sir John Johnson's Royal Queen's and Canadian Rangers—with him, and a body of Indians under Brandt. St. Leger, on his way, had laid siege to Fort Schuyler, late Fort Stanwix, near the head of the Mohawk. General Herkimer raised the militia of Tryon county, and advanced to the relief of the place.The crisis of extreme difficulty to which Peel referred was occasioned by the power acquired by the Catholic Association, which had originated in the following manner. Early in 1823 Mr. O'Connell proposed to his brother barrister, Mr. Sheil, and a party of friends who were dining with Mr. O'Mara, at Glancullen, the plan of an association for the management of the Catholic cause. At a general meeting of the Roman Catholics, which took place in April, a resolution with the same design was carried, and on Monday, the 12th of May, the first meeting of the Catholic Association was held in Dempsey's Rooms, in Sackville Street, Dublin. Subsequently it met at the house of a Catholic bookseller named Coyne, and before a month had passed it was in active working order. From these small beginnings it became, in the course of the year, one of the most extensive, compact, and powerful popular organisations the world had ever seen. Its influence ramified into every parish in Ireland. It found a place and work for almost every member of the Roman Catholic body; the peer, the lawyer, the merchant, the country gentleman, the peasant, and, above all, the priest, had each his task assigned him: getting up petitions, forming deputations to the Government and to Parliament, conducting electioneering business, watching over the administration of justice, collecting "the Catholic rent," preparing resolutions, and making speeches at the meetings of the Association, which were held every Monday at the Corn Exchange, when everything in the remotest degree connected with the interests of Roman Catholics or of Ireland was the subject of animating and exciting discussion, conducted in the form of popular harangues, by barristers, priests, merchants, and others. Voluminous correspondence was read by the secretary, large sums of rent were handed in, fresh members were enrolled, and speeches were made to a crowd of excited and applauding people, generally composed of Dublin operatives and idlers. But as the proceedings were fully reported in the public journals, the audience may be said to have been the Irish nation. And over all, "the voice of O'Connell, like some mighty minster bell, was heard through Ireland, and the empire, and the world."
Parliament reassembled, according to the Minister's plan, at the unusually early date of the 22nd of January, 1846. The Queen's Speech, read by her Majesty in person, thus alluded to the topic most prominent in the public mind:—
Before passing to the momentous history of the Irish famine we must notice some isolated facts connected with the Peel Administration, which our connected view of the triumph of Free Trade has prevented our mentioning under their proper dates. Among the many measures of the time which were fiercely discussed, the most complicated were the Bank Charter Act of 1844, and the Act dealing with the Irish and Scottish Banks of 1845, whereby the Premier placed the whole banking system of the kingdom upon an entirely new basis, in particular by the separation of the issue and banking business of the Bank of England, and by the determination of the issues by the amount of bullion in reserve. Under the Act the Bank was at liberty to issue ￡14,000,000 of notes on the security of Exchequer Bills and the debt due to it from the Government, but all issues above this amount were to be based on bullion. Still hotter were the passions roused by the Maynooth Bill, by which ￡30,000 were devoted to the improvement of the college founded at Maynooth for the education of Roman Catholic priests. The language used during the debates by the Protestant party has few parallels in the history of the British Parliament, and Sir Robert Peel's difficulties were increased by the resignation of Mr. Gladstone, who found his present support of the Bill incompatible with the opinions expressed in his famous essay on Church and State. Lord Aberdeen's foreign policy was completely the reverse of the bold, if hazardous, line adopted by Lord Palmerston. We have seen how the Ashburton mission composed the critical questions at issue with the United States, and in similar fashion a dispute about the Oregon boundary, which had been pending for thirty years, was terminated on sound principles of give-and-take by fixing the line at the 49th parallel, while Vancouver Island was reserved for Britain, and the commerce of the Columbia was made free. With France our relations were of the most pacific character; so close, indeed, was the entente cordiale that it was a commonplace of Tory oratory that M. Guizot was Foreign Minister of England. This was certainly not the case; on the contrary, when the Society Islands, over which Pomare was queen, were forcibly annexed by a roving French admiral, Lord Aberdeen behaved with very proper spirit, and obtained an indemnity for the missionary Pritchard, who had been forcibly placed under arrest. In other respects the friendship of Great Britain with France continued unimpaired, and there was an interchange of visits between the Queen and King Louis Philippe. It was a sign of a harmony of views between the two nations. Unfortunately, owing to a variety of causes, it was not to be of long continuance.
Whilst these frightful horrors were taking place, Russia, Prussia, and Austria had been completing the extinction of Poland. An ill-advised attempt by the Poles for the recovery of their country had precipitated this event. The Russian Minister in Poland had ordered the reduction of the little army of that country, under its now almost nominal king, Stanislaus Augustus, from thirty thousand to fifteen thousand. The Poles resented this, without considering that they were unable, at the moment, to resist it. Kosciusko was appointed Commander-in-Chief, and he issued an order for the rising of the people in every quarter of Poland, and for their hastening to his flag. At first, the enthusiasm of the call to liberty and to the rescue of the common country gave some brilliant successes. Kosciusko, on his march from Cracow to Warsaw, at the head of only four thousand men, encountered a Russian army of upwards of twelve thousand, and defeated it with a slaughter of three thousand of the enemy. On the 17th of March, 1794, the Polish troops in Warsaw attacked the Russian garrison, eight thousand strong, and slaughtering more than half of them, drove the rest out of the city, and Kosciusko marched in soon afterwards. A week later the population of Lithuania, Kosciusko's native province, rose, and drove the Russians with much slaughter from Wilna, its capital. But this could not save Poland: its three mighty oppressors were pouring down their multitudinous legions on every portion of the doomed country. The Emperor of Austria marched an army into Little Poland at the end of June, and an army of fifty thousand Russians and Prussians was in full march on Warsaw. For a time, Kosciusko repulsed them, and committed great havoc upon them on the 27th of July; again, on the 1st and 3rd of August. At the same time, Generals Dombrowski, Prince Joseph Poniatowski, and other Polish generals, were victorious in different quarters, and the King of Prussia was compelled to draw off his army, forty thousand strong, from Warsaw, in order to recover Great Poland. This gleam of success on the part of the Poles, however, was but momentary. Their army in Lithuania, commanded by corrupt, gambling, and gormandising nobles, was beaten at all points by the Russians, and driven out of Wilna on the 12th of August. At the same time, the savage Suvaroff, the man who had cried "Glory to God and the Empress!" over the ruthless massacre of Ismail, was marching down on Warsaw. Kosciusko had unwisely weakened his army by sending a strong detachment under Dombrowski into Great Poland, and, attacking a Russian force under Count Fersen, at Macziewice, about fifty miles from Warsaw, on the 17th of September, he was utterly routed. He had only about twenty thousand men, whilst Fersen had at least sixty thousand. But Kosciusko was anxious to prevent the arrival of Suvaroff before the engagement, and thus rushed into battle with this fatal inequality of strength. He was left for dead on the field, but was discovered to be alive, and was sent prisoner to St. Petersburg, where he was confined till the accession of the Emperor Paul, who set him at liberty. The fall of Kosciusko was the fall of Poland. Not even Kosciusko could have saved it; but this catastrophe made the fatal end obvious and speedy. Still the Poles struggled on bravely against such overwhelming forces for some months. The ultimate partition treaty was at length signed on the 24th of October, 1795; some particulars regarding Cracow, however, not being settled between Prussia and Austria till the 21st of October, 1796. Stanislaus Augustus was compelled to abdicate, and he retired, after the death of Catherine, to St. Petersburg, with a pension of two hundred thousand ducats a year. He died there in the month of February, 1798, only about fifteen months after his former mistress, the Czarina. And thus Poland was blotted out of the map of nations.The rapid growth of the commerce of the American colonies excited an intense jealousy in our West Indian Islands, which claimed a monopoly of supply of sugar, rum, molasses, and other articles to all the British possessions. The Americans trading with the French, Dutch, Spaniards, etc., took these articles in return; but the West Indian proprietors prevailed upon the British Government, in 1733, to impose a duty on the import of any produce of foreign plantations into the American colonies, besides granting a drawback on the re-exportation of West Indian sugar from Great Britain. This was one of the first pieces of legislation of which the American colonies had a just right to complain. At this period our West Indies produced about 85,000 hogsheads of sugar, or 1,200,000 cwts. About three hundred sail were employed in the trade with these islands, and some 4,500 sailors; the value of British manufactures exported thither being nearly ￡240,000 annually, but our imports from Jamaica alone averaged at that time ￡539,492. Besides rum, sugar, and molasses, we received from the West Indies cotton, indigo, ginger, pimento, cocoa, coffee, etc.The king, in the first instance, applied to Lord Shelburne to form a Ministry; but he was bound by engagements to Wentworth House, and honourably refused to take the lead. George then tried Lord Gower as ineffectually, and so was compelled to send for Lord Rockingham, who accepted office, on the condition that peace should be made with America, including the acknowledgment of its independence, if unavoidable; administrative reform, on the basis of Mr. Burke's three Bills; and the expulsion of contractors from Parliament, and revenue officers from the exercise of the elective franchise. The king stood strongly on the retention of Lord Chancellor Thurlow and Lord Stormont in their offices. Rockingham, with reluctance, conceded the retention of Thurlow, but refused that of Stormont. The choice of Lord Rockingham was such as could only have been made where family influence and party cliques had more weight than the proper object of a Minister—the able management of national affairs. Rockingham, though a very honourable man, was never a man of any ability, and though now only fifty-two, his health and faculties, such as they were, were fast failing. Besides this, there was a violent jealousy between him and Lord Shelburne, who became his colleague, and brought in half of the Cabinet. The shape which the Ministry eventually assumed was this:—Lord Rockingham became First Lord of the Treasury and Premier; the Earl of Shelburne and Charles Fox, Secretaries of State; Thurlow, Lord Chancellor; Camden, notwithstanding his age, President of the Council; Duke of Grafton, Privy Seal; Lord John Cavendish, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Keppel—made a viscount—First Lord of the Admiralty; General Conway, Commander of the Forces; the Duke of Richmond, Master-General of Ordnance; Dunning—as Lord Ashburton—Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Burke was not admitted to the Cabinet, for the Whigs were too great sticklers for birth and family; but his indispensable ability insured him the Paymastership of the Forces—by far the most lucrative office in the hands of Government, but the salary of which he was pledged to reduce by his Bill. Pitt was offered a place as Lord of the Treasury; but he had already declared, on the 8th of March, on the debate on Lord John Cavendish's motion, that he would never accept a subordinate situation. Dundas remained in office, as Lord Advocate, and John Lee was made Solicitor-General. Such was the new Administration: it embraced, as leaders, five Rockinghamites and five Shelburnites. The eleventh member of the Cabinet, Thurlow, belonged to neither side, but was the king's man. Fox saw himself in office with him with great repugnance, and Burke felt the slight put upon him in excluding him from the Cabinet.
During this momentous struggle, Russia was munificently supported by Great Britain. The peace which Mr. Canning, afterwards Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, our ambassador at Constantinople, had been the means of effecting between Turkey and Russia, released Admiral Tchitchagoff and his army of thirty thousand men to march against Buonaparte; and had not that stupid personage suffered himself to be so grossly deceived by the French Emperor at the Beresina, neither Buonaparte nor a man of his army had ever got across that river. At the same time peace was made with Russia by Great Britain, and Russia sent her fleet, for security, to an English port during the invasion. Peace also was ratified between Great Britain and Sweden; and Bernadotte was at liberty to pursue his plans for aiding in the general movement of the North for the final extinction of the Buonaparte rule. Great Britain also bountifully supplied the Russians with money and arms, and other necessaries, so that a French officer who accompanied General Lauriston to the headquarters of the Russian army was astonished to find abundance of British money circulating and in the highest esteem, though Buonaparte had represented Great Britain as on the verge of bankruptcy. "When I saw British bank-notes passing," he said, "as if they were gold, I trembled for our daring enterprise."
The reading of this French note aroused at once the old feeling of enmity between France and England. If there was a strong resentment against the Americans before, it now grew tenfold. The war became popular with all, except the extreme Opposition. Lord North moved an appropriate address to the king; the Opposition moved as an amendment to it that his Majesty should dismiss the Ministers. Loyal addresses from both Houses were, however, carried by large majorities. In consequence of the French note, the king ordered Lord Stormont to quit Paris, and the Marquis de Noailles took his departure from London, where, in spite of his official character, he was no longer safe from popular insult. Orders were also sent to the Lord-Lieutenants of the several counties to call out the militia.Sceptra tenens; mollitque animos et temperat iras;Stood waiting for Sir Richard Strachan;
FROM THE PAINTING BY F. X. WINTERHALTER IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY.
The American Colonies and their Trade—Growing Irritation in America—The Stamp Act—The American Protest—The Stamp Act passed—Its Reception in America—The King's Illness—The Regency Bill—The Princess Dowager omitted—Her Name inserted in the Commons—Negotiations for a Change of Ministry—The old Ministry returns—Fresh Negotiations with Pitt—The first Rockingham Ministry—Riots in America—The Stamped Paper destroyed—Pitt's Speech—The Stamp Act repealed—Weakness of the Government—Pitt and Temple disagree—Pitt forms a Ministry—And becomes Lord Chatham—His Comprehensive Policy—The Embargo on Wheat—Illness of Chatham—Townshend's Financial Schemes—Corruption of Parliament—Wilkes elected for Middlesex—Arrest of Wilkes—Dangerous Riots—Dissolution of the Boston Assembly—Seizure of the Liberty Sloop—Debates in Parliament—Continued Persecution of Wilkes—His Letter to Lord Weymouth—Again expelled the House—His Re-election—The Letters of Junius—Luttrell declared elected for Middlesex—Incapacity of the Ministry—Partial Concessions to the Americans—Bernard leaves Boston—He is made a Baronet—"The Horned Cattle Session"—Lord Chatham attacks the Ministry—Resignations of Granby and Camden—Yorke's Suicide—Dissolution of the Ministry."To call Parliament together on the 27th instant, to ask for indemnity and a sanction of the order by law.详情
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