There were other matters which the British representative was to bring forward, and foremost among them all was the suppression of the slave trade, either by a general declaration from the Allies that it should be treated as piracy, or by obtaining from them an engagement that they would not admit into their markets any article of colonial produce which was the result of slave labour. "It will be seen," says Mr. Gleig, "that the recognition of the actual independence of many of the Spanish colonies had already been determined upon by Great Britain, and that the establishment of diplomatic relations with them all had come to be considered as a mere question of time. This is a point worthy of notice, because of the misunderstanding in regard to it which originated in a speech subsequently delivered by Mr. Canning in the House of Commons, and which still, to a considerable extent, prevails. It will be further noticed that the principle observed by Lord Londonderry as the true principle was that of non-interference by Great Britain in the internal affairs of foreign nations. That the Duke of Wellington entirely coincided with Lord Londonderry in this respect, his conduct both now and in the future stages of his career clearly demonstrates. The leading object of his political life was to preserve the peace at home and abroad which it had been the great aim of his military life to conquer."During the passage of the Bill through committee three important proposals were made—the first by Lord Chandos, that tenants paying fifty pounds per annum for their holdings should have a vote in the counties. This was known as "the Chandos clause" of the Reform Bill, which was carried on the 18th of August by a majority of 84, the numbers being 232 and 148. Mr. Hume proposed that the colonies should be represented in the House of Commons; but the motion was negatived without a division. Mr. Hunt, the celebrated Radical Reformer, moved that all house-holders paying rates and taxes should have votes; but, strange to say, household suffrage had in the committee but a single supporter, Mr. Hunt himself, who upon a division constituted the minority. Mr. Hume asked only nineteen members to represent 100,000,000 of inhabitants, including our Indian empire, to which he would give four representatives. It was certainly a small demand, but as a representation of our colonies and dependencies it was ludicrously inadequate.
On the retirement of Townshend, Walpole reigned supreme and without a rival in the Cabinet. Henry Pelham was made Secretary at War; Compton Earl of Wilmington Privy Seal. He left foreign affairs chiefly to Stanhope, now Lord Harrington, and to the Duke of Newcastle, impressing on them by all means to avoid quarrels with foreign Powers, and maintain the blessings of peace. With all the faults of Walpole, this was the praise of his political system, which system, on the meeting of Parliament in the spring of 1731, was violently attacked by Wyndham and Pulteney, on the plea that we were making ruinous treaties, and sacrificing British interests, in order to benefit Hanover, the eternal millstone round the neck of England. Pulteney and Bolingbroke carried the same attack into the pages of The Craftsman, but they failed to move Walpole, or to shake his power.
For the reasons here stated, early in the summer a powerful fleet was fitted out with the utmost dispatch and secrecy by the new Ministry, and sent to the Baltic. The fleet consisted of twenty-five sail of the line, more than forty frigates, sloops, bomb-vessels, and gun-brigs, with three hundred and seventy-seven transports to convey over twenty-seven thousand troops from Stralsund, a great part of which were Germans in British pay. Admiral Gambier commanded the fleet, and Lord Cathcart the army, having second in command Sir Arthur Wellesley. On the 1st of August the British fleet was off the entrance of Gothenburg, and Admiral Gambier sent Commodore Keats into the Great Belt to cut off any passage from Holstein for the defence of Copenhagen. Admiral Gambier himself entered the Sound, passed the castles without any attack from them, and anchored in Elsinore Roads. By the 9th of August the whole fleet and the transports were collected there, and Mr. Jackson, who had been many years British envoy in the north of Germany, and knew most of the Danish Ministers, was dispatched to Kiel, in Holstein, where the Crown Prince lay with an army of from twenty thousand to thirty thousand men, to endeavour to induce him to enter into an alliance with Great Britain, and to deliver the fleet to its keeping till the peace, stating the necessity that the British commanders would otherwise be under of taking possession of it by force. The Crown Prince, though the British had made it impossible to cross over and defend the fleet, received the overture with the utmost indignation. Mr. Jackson returned to Admiral Gambier, and the Crown Prince sent a messenger to order Copenhagen to be put into a state of defence. But there was scarcely a gun upon the walls, and the population only numbered, excluding the sailors, some thirteen thousand men, inclusive of five thousand five hundred volunteers and militia. On the 17th several Danish gunboats came out of the harbour, fired at some of our transports coming from Stralsund, burnt an English vessel, and attacked the pickets of Lord Cathcart's army. These vessels were driven back again by bombshells, and that evening Admiral Gambier took up a nearer station north-east of the Crown battery, the Trekroner. He then proceeded to surround the whole of the island of Zealand, on which Copenhagen stands, with our vessels. The division of the army landed at Wedbeck having now marched up, was joined by other divisions, and proceeded to entrench themselves in the suburbs of Copenhagen. They were attacked by the gunboats, but, on the 27th, they had covered themselves by a good battery, and they then turned their cannon on the gunboats, and soon compelled them to draw off. On the 29th Sir Arthur Wellesley marched to Ki?ge, against a body of Danish troops that had strongly fortified themselves there in order to assail the besiegers, and he quickly routed them. The Danish troops then made several dashing sorties from Copenhagen, while their gunboats and floating batteries attacked our advanced vessels, and managed, by a ball from the Trekroner, to blow up one of our transports. The French had now arrived at Stralsund, and Keats was sent to blockade that port, to hinder them from crossing over into Zealand; nothing but the extreme rapidity of the movements of the British prevented a powerful army of French from being already in Copenhagen for its defence.Progress of the War on the Continent—Lethargic Condition of Politics—Battle of Laufeldt—Capture of Bergen-op-Zoom—Disasters of the French on the Sea and in Italy—Negotiations for Peace—Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle—Conditions of Peace—Peace at Home—Commercial Treaty with Spain—Death of the Prince of Wales—Popular feeling against the Bill for Naturalising the Jews—Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act—Foundation of the British Museum—Death of Pelham—Newcastle's Difficulties—Failure of Robinson—Approaching Danger from America—A State of Undeclared War—The Battles of Boscawen and Braddock—George's Anxiety for Hanover—Subsidiary Treaties against Prussia—Pitt's Opposition—Debate in the House of Commons—Danger of England—French Expedition against Minorca—The Failure of Byng—Newcastle resigns—Attempts to Form a Ministry—Devonshire Succeeds—Weakness of the Ministry—Coalition against Prussia—Alliance with England—Commencement of the Seven Years' War—Frederick Conquers Saxony—Gloominess of Affairs—Court-Martial on Byng, and his Death—Dismissal of Pitt—The Pitt and Newcastle Coalition—Failure of the attack on Rochefort and of that on Louisburg—Convention of Closter-Seven—Frederick's Campaign; Kolin, Rosbach, and Lissa—Successes elsewhere—Wolfe and Clive—Battle of Plassey—Capture of Louisburg—Ticonderoga and Fort Duquesne—Attacks on St. Malo and Cherbourg—Victory of Crefeld—Frederick's Campaign—Commencement of 1759; Blockade of the French Coast—Pitt's Plans for the Conquest of Canada—Amherst's and Prideaux's Columns—Wolfe before Quebec—Position of the City—Wolfe fails to draw Montcalm from his Position—Apparent Hopelessness of the Expedition—Wolfe Scales the Heights of Abraham—The Battle—Successes in India—Battle of Quiberon—Frederick's Fortunes—Campaign of Ferdinand of Brunswick—Battle of Minden—Glorious Termination of the Year—French Descent on Carrickfergus—Attempt of the French to Recover Quebec—Their Expulsion from North America—Frederick's Fourth Campaign—Successes of Ferdinand of Brunswick—Death of George II.On the 28th of March the Ministry, as completed, was announced in the House, and the writs for the re-elections having been issued, the House adjourned for the Easter holidays, and on the 8th of April met for business. The first affairs which engaged the attention of the new Administration were those of Ireland. We have already seen that, in 1778, the Irish, encouraged by the events in North America, and by Lord North's conciliatory proposals to Congress, appealed to the British Government for the removal of unjust restrictions from themselves, and how free trade was granted them in 1780. These concessions were received in Ireland with testimonies of loud approbation and professions of loyalty; but they only encouraged the patriot party to fresh demands. These were for the repeal of the two obnoxious Acts which conferred the legislative supremacy regarding Irish affairs on England. These Acts were—first, Poynings' Act, so called from Sir Edward Poynings, and passed in the reign of Henry VII., which gave to the English Privy Council the right to see, alter, or suppress any Bill before the Irish Parliament, money Bills excepted; the second was an Act of George I., which asserted in the strongest terms the right of the king, Lords, and Commons of England to legislate for Ireland.
The Repeal Agitation in Ireland, which had been thoroughly organised in 1842 by "Repeal Missionaries" who had visited every parish in the country, reached its culminating point in 1843. Early in February that year Mr. O'Connell, who had filled the civic chair the previous year, and was then an alderman of the Dublin Corporation, gave notice that, on the 21st of that month, he would move a resolution, affirming the right of Ireland to a resident Parliament, and the necessity of repealing the union. Alderman Butt expressed his determination of opposing the motion. Mr. Butt was one of the ablest members of the Irish bar, and a leader of the Conservative party. The debate was therefore anticipated with the greatest interest, as it promised to be a very exciting political duel. The old Assembly House, since abandoned for the more commodious City Hall, was densely crowded by the principal citizens, while the street was thronged by the populace during the debate. Mr. O'Connell marshalled his arguments under many heads: Ireland's capacity for independence—her right to have a Parliament of her own—the establishment of that right in 1782—the prosperity that followed—the incompetence of the Irish Parliament to destroy the Constitution—the corrupt means by which the union was carried—its disastrous results, and the national benefits that would follow its repeal. The speech, which lasted four hours, was mainly argumentative and statistical. It was accepted by his followers as an elaborate and masterly statement of the case. Mr. Butt replied with equal ability and more fervid eloquence. The debate was adjourned. Next day other members took part in it. It was again adjourned, and as the contest proceeded the public excitement rose to fever heat. At two o'clock on the third day Mr. O'Connell rose to reply. "No report," says Mr. O'Neil Daunt, "could possibly do justice to that magnificent reply. The consciousness of a great moral triumph seemed to animate his voice, his glance, and his gestures. Never had I heard him so eloquent, never had I witnessed so noble a display of his transcendent powers." The division showed that 41 were in favour of a domestic legislature and 15 were opposed to it.By these endeavours Walpole managed to array a considerable body of the Commons against it. It was introduced on the 8th of December, and Sir John Pakington, Sir Richard Steele, Smith, Methuen, and others joined him in attacking it. Steele made a very powerful speech against it, but the grand assault was that of Walpole. He put out all his strength, and delivered a harangue such as he had never achieved till that day. He did not spare the motives of the king, though handling them with much tact, and was unsparingly severe on the Scottish clauses, and on the notorious subserviency of the Scottish representative peers. He declared that the sixteen elective Scottish peers were already a dead weight on the country; and he asked what they would be when made twenty-five, and hereditary? He declared that such a Bill would make the lords masters of the king, and shut up the door of honour to the rest of the nation. Amongst the Romans, he said, the way to the Temple of Fame was through the Temple of Virtue; but if this Bill passed, such would never be the case in this country. There would be no arriving at honours but through the winding-sheet of an old, decrepit lord, or the tomb of an extinct noble family. Craggs, Lechmere, Aislabie, Hampton, and other Ministerial Whigs supported the Bill; but, in the words of Speaker Onslow, the declamation of Walpole had borne down everything before it, and the measure was defeated by a majority of two hundred and sixty-nine to one hundred and seventy-seven.
THE MINT, LONDON.[See larger version][See larger version]
Amid these angry feelings Admiral Byng was brought to trial. The court-martial was held at Plymouth. It commenced in December, 1756, and lasted the greater part of the month of January of the following year. After a long and patient examination, the Court came to the decision that Byng had not done his utmost to defeat the French fleet or relieve the castle of St. Philip. The Court, however, sent to the Admiralty in London to know whether they were at liberty to mitigate the twelfth Article of War, which had been established by an Act of Parliament of the twenty-second year of the present reign, making neglect of duty as much deserving death as treason or cowardice. They were answered in the negative, and therefore they passed sentence on Byng to be shot on board such of his Majesty's ships of war and at such time as the Lords of the Admiralty should decide.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 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 events—the flight of Ormonde and the death of Louis XIV. on September 1st.[See larger version]
[See larger version]THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON'S DUEL WITH LORD WINCHILSEA. (See p. 300.)
BY THOMAS DAVIDSON.
The Guards at the gates stood with tricolour cockades on their hats, and the great ladies of the Court came driving in, for they were not far off. The Duchess of St. Leu had been permitted to remain in Paris, and her house had been the focus of all the Buonapartist adherents and conspiracies. From that centre had been sent summonses to every branch of the Buonaparte family to be in readiness, and all had responded except Cardinal Fesch, Louis Buonaparte, and Eugene Beauharnais, who had too much sense to quit Munich with his wife, the daughter of the Bavarian king. Even Murat, to his ruin, had been induced to declare for Buonaparte once more.Bolingbroke (b. 1678; d. 1751) must be named with the prose writers of the age. Amongst his writings there is little that will now interest the reader. He wrote in a brilliant and pretentious style, as he acted; and his writings, like his policy, are more showy than sound. As a cold sceptic in religion, and a Jacobite in politics, proud and essentially selfish in his nature, we are not likely to find anything from his pen which can strongly attract us, or is calculated to benefit us. In the Tory party, to which he belonged, he was one of those brilliant and self-complacent apparitions, which have all the qualities of the meteor—dazzling, but speedily sinking into darkness, though his "Patriot King" had some temporary influence, and even furnishes the keynote to some of the earlier writings of Lord Beaconsfield.So strongly did the latter feel the urgency of the case that Parliament was called together again on the 6th of December. It was opened by the king in person, who, in his Speech, recommended the speedy settlement of the Reform question; referred to the opposition made to the payment of tithes in Ireland; announced the conclusion of a convention with France for the suppression of the African slave trade; deplored the outrages at Bristol; and recommended improvements in the municipal police of the kingdom. On the 12th Lord John Russell introduced the Reform Bill the third time. It is said that his manner, like his proposal, had undergone a striking alteration. His opening speech was not now a song of triumph, inspired by the joyous enthusiasm of the people. He no longer treated the Opposition in a tone of almost contemptuous defiance. The spirit which had dictated the celebrated reply to the Birmingham Political union about the voice of the nation and the whisper of a faction seemed to have died within him. Lord John Russell proceeded to explain the changes and modifications that had been made in the Bill since it was last before the House. As the census of 1831 was now available, the census of 1821 was abandoned. But a new element was introduced in order to test the claim of a borough to be represented in Parliament. Numbers alone were no longer relied upon. There might be a very populous town consisting of mean houses inhabited by poor people. With numbers therefore, the Government took property, ascertained by the amount of assessed taxes; and upon the combination of these two elements the franchise was based. The calculations needed to determine the standard were worked out by Lieutenant Drummond, afterwards Under Secretary for Ireland. Upon the information obtained by the Government as to the limits of each borough, its population, and the amount of assessed taxes it paid, he made out a series of a hundred boroughs, beginning with the lowest, and taking the number of houses and the amount of their assessed taxes together, as the basis of their relative importance. Thus Schedule A was framed. In the original Bill this schedule contained sixty boroughs; in the present Bill it contained only fifty-six. The consequence of taking Mr. Drummond's report as a basis of disfranchisement was, that some boroughs, which formerly escaped as populous and large, were now placed in Schedule A; while others, which were better towns, were taken out of that schedule and placed in Schedule B, which now contained only thirty instead of forty boroughs, as in the former Bill. The diminution in this schedule, consisting of boroughs whose members were to be reduced from two to one, was owing to the fact that the Government had given up the point about reducing the number of members in the House of Commons, which was to remain as before, 658. Thus a number of small boroughs escaped which ought to have but one member each—so small that every one of them ought to have been in Schedule A, that their members might be given to new, prosperous, and progressive communities. Twenty-three members were now to be distributed. Ten were given to the largest towns placed in the original Schedule B, one to Chatham, one to the county of Monmouth, and the rest to the large towns, which, by the former Bill, obtained power to return one member only. The new Bill retained the ￡10 qualification. Every man who occupied a house of the value of ￡10 a year was to have a vote, provided he was rated for the poor. It was not the rating, however, that determined the value; it did not matter to what amount he was rated, if only at ￡5 or ￡1, if the holding was really worth ￡10 a year.详情
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