THE DEATH OF NELSON, 1805.He was advised to try Westminster, where Mr. John Churchill, the brother of his coadjutor, the satirist, and others, were in his interest, but he boldly struck for the City of London. There were seven candidates at the poll. Wilkes received one thousand two hundred and forty-seven votes, but he was still lowest on the poll. His friends, the mob, had no franchise.[See larger version]
There was, however, no violation of the peace, which Lord Anglesey had taken effective measures to preserve. He had placed at the disposal of Major Warburton 47 artillery, with two 6-pounders; 120 cavalry, and 415 infantry. These were at Clare Castle, close at hand; within a few miles there were 183 cavalry, and 1,313 infantry; within thirty-six miles, 28 cavalry, 1,367 infantry, and two 6-pounders; and at a farther distance there was a regiment of cavalry and above 800 infantry. There were besides, on duty at Ennis, 300 of the constabulary.
Lord Melbourne on announcing the completion of his arrangements made a general statement of his policy. In forming his Cabinet he had had to contend with difficulties "peculiarly great and arduous, and some of them of a severe and mortifying nature." He had no change of policy to declare. "His Government would be based upon the principles of a safe, prudent, and truly efficient reform—principles the tendency of which was not to subvert or endanger, but, on the contrary, to improve, strengthen, and establish the institutions of the country; and in regard to ecclesiastical government, every measure contemplated in reference to that subject would have for its end the increase of true piety and religion through the whole of his Majesty's dominions." From the disposition and character popularly ascribed to Lord Melbourne, it could not be expected that he should prove an energetic Reformer. The Earl of Derby mentions a saying of his which often escaped him as a member of Lord Grey's Cabinet. When they had to encounter a difficulty, he would say, "Can't you let it alone?" This accords with the portrait of him presented by Sydney Smith, in his second letter to Archdeacon Singleton.FROM THE PICTURE BY W. F. YEAMES, R.A.
Then follows a long list of lawyers. We may select a few of the most lavishly paid:—In the course of 1810 the French were expelled completely from the East and West Indies, and the Indian Ocean. Guadeloupe, the last of their West India Islands, was captured in February, by an expedition conducted by General Beckford and Admiral Sir A. Cochrane. In July an armament, sent out by Lord Minto from India, and headed by Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, reduced the Isle of Bourbon; and, being reinforced by a body of troops from the Cape of Good Hope, under Major-General John Abercromby and Admiral Bertie, the Isle of France, much the more important, and generally called Mauritius, surrendered on the 3rd of December. Besides a vast quantity of stores and merchandise, five frigates and about thirty merchantmen were taken; and Mauritius became a permanent British colony. From this place a squadron proceeded to destroy the French factories on the coast of Madagascar, and finished by completely expelling them from those seas.Fox, on this occasion, also introduced the subject of the Prince of Wales's allowance, who, he contended, had far less than had been granted to a Prince of Wales since the accession of the House of Hanover, that allowance being one hundred thousand pounds a-year; and the present parsimony towards the prince being grossly aggravated by the royal Civil List having been raised, in this reign, from six hundred thousand pounds to nine hundred thousand pounds, and the Privy Purse from six thousand pounds to sixty thousand pounds. Fox's remarks were rendered all the more telling because, when the House went into committee on the finances, Pitt had made a most flourishing statement of the condition of the Exchequer. He took off the taxes which pressed most on the poorer portion of the population—namely, on servants, the late augmentations on malt, on waggons, on inhabited houses, etc.,—to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds and appropriated four hundred thousand pounds towards the reduction of the National Debt. Still blind to the storm rising across the strait of Dover, he declared that these were mere trifles compared with what he should be able to do shortly, for never was there a time when a more durable peace might be expected!
But Buonaparte did not content himself with stabs at the reputation of his enemies—he resorted to his old practices of assassination. The booksellers of Germany, ignoring the dominance of Buonaparte in their country, though he had completely silenced the press in France, dared to publish pamphlets and articles against the French invasion and French rule in Germany. Buonaparte ordered Berthier to seize a number of these publishers, and try them by court-martial, on the plea that they excited the inhabitants to rise and massacre his soldiers. Amongst the booksellers thus arrested was John Philip Palm, of Nuremberg. The charge against him was that he had published a pamphlet entitled, "L'Allemagne dans son profond abaissement." This production was attributed to M. Gentz, a writer who was most damaging to the influence of Buonaparte, and Palm was offered his pardon if he would give up the author. He refused. Nuremberg, though occupied by French soldiers, was under the protection of Prussia, which was, just now, no protection at all. Palm was carried off to Braunau, in Austria. This place was still occupied by Buonaparte, in direct violation of the Treaty of Pressburg; so that Buonaparte, in the seizure and trial of Palm, was guilty of the breach of almost every international and civil law; for, had Palm been the citizen of a French city, his offence being a mere libel did not make him responsible to a military tribunal. The French colonels condemned him to be shot, and the sentence was immediately executed on the 26th of August. The indignation and odium which this atrocious act excited, not only throughout Germany, but throughout the civilised world, caused Buonaparte, with his usual disregard of truth, to say that the officers had done all this without any orders from him, but out of their own too officious zeal.On the 27th of April Pitt introduced a message from the king, recommending the settlement of a suitable provision on the Prince of Wales on his marriage. The Prince expected that Pitt would propose and carry, by means of his compliant majority, which had readily voted away millions to foreign monarchs, a vote for the immediate discharge of his debts. His astonishment may therefore be imagined, when Pitt proposed that Parliament should grant him such an income as should enable him, by decent economy, to defray these debts by instalments through a course of years. Having stated these debts at six hundred and thirty thousand pounds, he proposed to increase the Prince's allowance from seventy-five thousand to one hundred and forty thousand pounds, an increase of sixty-five thousand pounds a-year. Twenty-five thousand pounds of this were to be set apart every year for the liquidation of the debts in the course of twenty-seven years. This was, in fact, only giving him an increase on his marriage of forty thousand pounds per annum; but so unpopular was the Prince that not even that amount of money could be obtained. The question was warmly debated during two months, and it was not till the 27th of June that it was finally settled in still worse terms for the Prince, namely, that his allowance should be one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds per annum, with the income of the Duchy of Cornwall, about fifteen thousand pounds more, thus making up the one hundred and forty thousand pounds; but out of this seventy-five thousand pounds per annum were appropriated to the payment of his debts, leaving him only sixty-seven thousand pounds a year clear for his own expenditure, or eight thousand pounds per annum less than his previous allowance. With the grant to the Prince this Session closed, namely, on the 27th of June.
This was an announcement of the utter overthrow of the Revolution, and the restoration of the ancient condition of France, with its aristocracy and its slaves. The sensation which it produced was intense. The king was immediately accused of secretly favouring this language, though it was far from being the case. It was in vain that he disavowed the sentiments of this haughty and impolitic proclamation to the Assembly; he was not believed, and the exasperation against him was dreadfully aggravated.By permission of the Corporation of Liverpool. Reproduced by Andre & Sleigh, La., Bushey. Herts.During this period a vast empire was beginning to unfold itself in the East Indies, destined to produce a vast trade, and pour a perfect mine of wealth into Great Britain. The victories of Clive, Eyre Coote, and others, were telling on our commerce. During the early part of this period this effect was slow, and our exports to India and China up to 1741 did not average more than ￡148,000 per annum in value. Bullion, however, was exported to pay expenses and to purchase tea to an annual amount of upwards of half a million. Towards the end of this period, however, our exports to India and China amounted annually to more than half a million; and the necessity for the export of bullion had sunk to an annual demand for less than ￡100,000. The amount of tea imported from China during this period rose from about 140,000 pounds annually to nearly 3,000,000 pounds annually—an enormous increase.
In the army the cocked-hat and pigtail at first prevailed, but these were soon dismissed, as well as the great jack-boots of the cavalry. With the employment of the Hessian soldiers in the American war, and afterwards on the Continent, there prevailed amongst English gentlemen the Hessian boot; instead of the queue, cropped hair and close-fitting small hats became the vogue. Powdering became profuse, both amongst ladies and gentlemen, till Pitt taxed it, when it vanished, except from the heads of particularly positive old gentlemen and servants.Whilst showing this firmness towards others, Clive found it necessary to maintain it in himself. In face of the orders of the Company which he had been enforcing, that the British officials should receive no more presents, the Rajah of Benares offered him two diamonds of large size, and the Nabob-vizier, Sujah Dowlah, on the conclusion of his treaty, a rich casket of jewels, and a large sum of money. Clive declared that he could thus have added half a million to his fortune; and our historians have been loud in his praises for his abstinence on this occasion. Lord Mahon observes:—"All this time the conduct of Clive was giving a lofty example of disregard of lucre. He did not spare his personal resources, and was able, some years after, to boast in the House of Commons that this his second Indian command had left him poorer than it found him." Ill-health compelled him to return to England in January, 1767.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.
Unfortunately, however, for the continuance of the popularity of Mrs. Clarke, it appeared that she was now actually living in the keeping of this virtuous Colonel Wardle, who was thus chastising royal peccadilloes. The whole of the circumstances did not come out whilst the question was before the House of Commons, but enough to injure the credit irreparably of Colonel Wardle, and make Mrs. Clarke's evidence more than ever suspicious. The full information was brought out by a trial instituted by a Mr. Wright, an upholsterer, in Rathbone Place, for furnishing a new house for her in Westbourne Place. She had now quarrelled with Colonel Wardle, and he refused to pay the bill. Wardle, it appeared, had done his best to stop the coming on of the trial, but in vain; Mrs. Clarke appeared against him, and not only deposed that he had gone with her to order the goods, but told her it was in return for her aid in prosecuting the Duke of York's case. Wardle was cast on the trial, with costs, having about two thousand pounds to pay, and losing all the popularity that he had gained by the investigation. He had been publicly thanked by public meetings, both in the City and the country, and now came this rueful exposé. But it was too late now to save the Duke's reputation. The House of Commons had concluded its examination in March. It acquitted the Duke of any participation with his artful mistress in the vile profits on the sale of commissions, but that she had made such there was no question. The Duke did not await the decision of the Commons, but resigned his office. Lord Althorp, in moving that, as the Duke had resigned, the proceedings should go no further, said that the Duke had lost the confidence of the country for ever, and therefore there was no chance of his returning to that situation. This was the conclusion to which the House came on the 21st of March, and soon afterwards Sir David Dundas was appointed to succeed the Duke as Commander-in-chief, much to the chagrin of the army, and equally to its detriment. The Duke, though, like some of his brothers, very profligate, and, like them—according to a statement made during the debates on his case—capable, as a youth, of learning either Greek or arithmetic, but not the value of money, seems to have discharged his duty to the army extremely well, of which old General Dundas was wholly incapable.
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"I well know that there are those upon whom such considerations as these to which I have been adverting will make but a faint impression. Their answer to all such appeals is the short, in their opinion the conclusive, declaration—'The Protestant Constitution in Church and State must be maintained at all hazards, and by any means; the maintenance of it is a question of principle, and every concession or compromise is the sacrifice of principle to a low and vulgar expediency.' This is easily said; but how was Ireland to be governed? How was the Protestant Constitution in Church and State to be maintained in that part of the empire? Again I can anticipate the reply—'By the overwhelming sense of the people of Great Britain; by the application, if necessary, of physical force for the maintenance of authority; by the employment of the organised strength of Government, the police and the military, to enforce obedience to the law.'"Major-General Brock left Colonel Procter to defend Detroit, and marched hastily towards Niagara, to surprise the American forts in that direction. But, in the midst of his preparations, he was thunderstruck to learn that Sir George Prevost had concluded an armistice with the American general, Dearborn, and that this armistice stipulated that neither party should move in any manner till the American Government had ratified or annulled the engagement. Thus Brock had the mortification of feeling that his hands were tied up, whilst the enemy, aroused to the danger of their position, despite the truce, were marching up troops, and strengthening every fort and port along the line. As soon as a force of six thousand three hundred men and stores were ready, Madison refused to ratify the armistice. On his part, Sir George Prevost had done nothing to support Brock, and this brave officer found himself with only one thousand two hundred men, partly regulars and partly militia, to repel the swarming invaders.
An armistice was now demanded by the Allies—it is said at the instance of Austria, who desired to act as mediator—and gladly assented to by Napoleon, who was desirous of completing his preparations for a more determined attack. The armistice was signed on the 4th of June at the village of Pleisswitz.Meanwhile Ministers, anxious to exonerate themselves from the odium so fully their due for fomenting insurrection, commenced Parliamentary inquiries which only the more clearly demonstrated their guilt. On the 2nd of February the celebrated green bag was sent down by the Prince Regent to the Lords, and another green bag on the following day to the Commons. These green bags—or rather, this green bag, for they were classed as one by the public, their contents being one—made a great figure in the newspaper comments of the time. They were stuffed with documents regarding the late extraordinary powers assumed by Ministers, and the occurrences in the midland counties which had been held to justify them. No doubt the papers had been carefully selected, and they were now submitted to a secret committee of each House, which, being named by Ministers, was pretty sure to bring in reports accordingly. On the 23rd the Lords' committee brought up their report, and on the 27th the Commons' produced theirs. As might have been expected from their parentage, there was a striking likeness in the offspring of the committees; they were veritable twins. Both travelled over the same ground; the statements made by the secret committee of 1816 averring that schemes of conspiracy were in agitation, and the events of 1817, particularly in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, as fully confirming these averments. They were compelled, however, to confess that the insurrections, though clearly connected in different counties, in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire, were not very formidable, and that the mass of the population in these counties did not at all sanction, much less second, such proceedings. Yet, notwithstanding this confession, the fact remained that under the arbitrary measures of Ministers a great number of persons had been thrown into prison, against whom no charge could be established; and that at Derby three had been executed, and twenty others transported or imprisoned for long terms, and these, every one of them, through the acts and incitements of the emissaries of Ministers themselves. On the motion for printing the report of the Commons, which, of course, justified Ministers, Mr. Tierney said it was scarcely worth while to oppose the printing of "a document so absurd, contemptible, and ludicrous."详情
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