OLD BAILEY, LONDON, 1814.CHAPTER XXI. REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).
Then—by a process of argument so close, so logical, as to amount to a demonstration—Sir Robert Peel meets this objection, and shows that the proposals of the Conservative party afforded no solution of the real difficulty. Granted that the overwhelming sense of the people of Great Britain was against concession, what aid could they afford in the daily, practical administration of the law in Ireland? If seditious libels were to be punished, or illegal confederacies, dangerous to the public peace, to be suppressed, the offenders could only be corrected and checked through the intervention of an Irish jury, little disposed, if fairly selected, to defer in times of political excitement to the authority of English opinion. But the real difficulty to be surmounted was not the violation of the law; it lay, rather, in the novel exercise of constitutional franchises, in the application of powers recognised and protected by the law, the power of speech, the power of meeting in public assemblies, the systematic and not unlawful application of all these powers to one definite purpose—namely, the organisation of a force which professed to be a moral force, but had for its object to encroach, step by step, on the functions of regular government, to paralyse its authority, and to acquire a strength which might ultimately render irresistible the demand for civil equality. If, then, Irish agitation could not be repressed through the action of Irish juries, if the agitators kept strictly within the letter of the law, so that even a conviction by an Irish jury might be pronounced, by the highest legal authorities in England, an Act making trial by jury "a mockery, a delusion, and a snare," how was the public opinion of England and Scotland to be brought to bear in putting down the popular will in Ireland? It could be done only through the Imperial Parliament, by having a law passed to suspend or abolish the Constitution in Ireland. But the existing Parliament could not be got to pass any such measure, for the House of Commons had just voted that the proper way to put down agitation in Ireland was to grant Catholic Emancipation; and that the remedy of establishing civil equality ought to be tried without delay. Was there any hope that a dissolution of Parliament would produce different results? No; for at the general election of 1826, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Devonshire sent representatives to Parliament, a majority of whom voted against the maintenance of Protestant ascendency in Ireland. The members for London, for Liverpool, for Norwich, for Coventry, for Leicester, were equally divided on the question; while the members for Westminster, Southwark, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Preston, Chester, and Derby voted unanimously for concession. Now, the Parliament which assumed this Liberal complexion had been elected in circumstances calculated to call forth the strongest manifestation of Protestant feeling; for it was only the previous year that, after long discussion and a severe contest, the Commons had sent up to the Lords, by a majority of twenty-one, a Bill for the repeal of Roman Catholic disabilities. Then, with regard to Ireland, what would have been the effect of a general election there? Would not the example of Clare have been imitated in every county and borough where the Roman Catholic electors were the majority? And what would have been the effect of such an attempt on the public peace? Probably, to involve the whole island in the horrors of a civil and religious war; to be followed by another penal code.At length Mar, who was kept back by the absence of the Pretender, determined to outwit Argyll by sending a detachment under Brigadier Mackintosh across the Firth of Forth below Stirling, whilst another body, under General Gordon, was despatched to seize on Inverary, and keep the clan Campbell in check. Mackintosh had about two thousand men under his command, chiefly from his own clans, but supported by the regiments of the Lords Nairn, Strathmore, and Charles Murray. To prevent these forces from crossing, three English ships of war ascended the Forth to near Burntisland; but whilst a detachment of five hundred men held the attention of the ships at that point, the main body were embarking on the right in small boats lower down, and the greater part of them got across the Firth, and landed at Aberlady and North Berwick. The city of Edinburgh was in consternation at this daring man?uvre, and at the proximity of such a force; and Mackintosh, hearing of this panic, and of the miserable state of defence there, determined to attempt to surprise it. He stayed one night at Haddington to rest his men, and on the 14th appeared at Jock's Lodge, within a mile of Edinburgh. But on the very first appearance of Mackintosh's troops, Sir George Warrender, the Provost of Edinburgh, had despatched a messenger to summon the Duke of Argyll from Stirling to the aid of the capital. The duke was already approaching Edinburgh, and therefore Mackintosh, perceiving that he had no chance of surprising the town, turned aside to Leith.General Evans had taken the command of the Spanish Legion, which throughout the whole of the campaign was encompassed with difficulties and pursued by disasters, without any military success sufficiently brilliant to gild the clouds with glory. Within a fortnight after the debate on Lord Mahon's motion came the news of its utter defeat before Hernani. This defeat encouraged the opponents of Lord Palmerston's policy to renew their attacks. Accordingly, immediately after the recess, Sir Henry Hardinge brought forward a motion on the subject. He complained that no adequate provision was made for the support of those who were in the Legion. At Vittoria they were placed for four months in uninhabited convents, without bedding, fuel, or supplies of any kind. Not less than 40 officers and 700 men fell victims to their privations. The worst consequence was, however, the total demoralisation of the troops. Theirs was not honourable war, it was butchery. They were massacring a fine and independent people, who had committed no offence against Britain. Ill treatment, want of food and of clothing, habits of insubordination and mutiny, and want of confidence in their officers, had produced their natural effects. Let them palliate the disaster as they would, there was no doubt, he said, of the fact that a large body of Britons had suffered a defeat such as he believed no British soldiers had undergone in the course of the last five or six hundred years. The motion was defeated by 70 votes to 62, but as the Legion was dissolved in the following year, 1838, the object of the Opposition was gained.
Mr. Torres, ditto 3,300Within a few days after the first passing of this Act, that is, in the first week of March, a body of weavers—said by the Government to amount to ten thousand men, but by a more competent authority, Samuel Bamford, the author of the "Life of a Radical," not to have exceeded four or five thousand—met in St. Peter's Field, at Manchester, and commenced a march southward. The intention was to proceed to London, to present to the Prince Regent, in person, a petition describing their distress. Bamford had been consulted, and had condemned the project as wild, and likely to bring down nothing but trouble on the petitioners. He believed that they were instigated by spies sent out by Government in order to find an opportunity of justifying their arbitrary measures. Suspicious persons had been trying him. But the poor, deluded people assembled, "many of them," says Bamford, "having blankets, rugs, or large coats rolled up, and tied knapsack-like on their backs. Some had papers, supposed to be petitions, rolled up, and some had stout walking-sticks." From their blankets, they afterwards acquired the name of Blanketeers. The magistrates appeared and read the Riot Act, and dispersed the multitude by soldiers and constables; but three or four hundred fled in the direction of their intended route, and continued their march, pursued by a body of yeomanry. By the time that they reached Macclesfield, at nine o'clock at night, they amounted to only one hundred and eighty; yet many of them persisted in proceeding, but they continually melted away, from hunger and from the misery of lying out in the fields on March nights. By the time that they reached Leek they were reduced to twenty, and six only were known to pass over the bridge at Ashbourne.
The temper of Townshend was warm, though his nature was upright; and in this mood, a discussion taking place on foreign affairs at the house of Colonel Selwyn, the dispute became so heated that Walpole declared that he did not believe what Townshend was saying. The indignant Townshend seized Walpole by the collar, and they both grasped their swords. Mrs. Selwyn shrieked for assistance, and the incensed relatives were parted; but they never could be reconciled, and, after making another effort to obtain the dismissal of Newcastle, and to maintain his own position against the overbearing Walpole, Townshend resigned on the 16th of May. He retired to Reynham, and passed the remainder of his life in rural pursuits. One of the greatest benefits which he conferred on this country he conferred after his retirement—that of introducing the turnip from Germany.Grenville, being on the look-out for new taxes, had paid particular attention to the rapid growth of the American colonies, and was inspired with the design of drawing a revenue from them. The scheme had been suggested to Sir Robert Walpole, when his Excise Bill failed, by Sir William Keith, who had been governor of Pennsylvania; but Sir Robert had a far deeper insight into human nature than the shallow and obstinate Grenville. He replied, "I have already Old England set against me, and do you think I will have New England set against me too?"The last act of this year, 1794, was the opening of Parliament on the 30th of December. The king, in his speech, was compelled to confess the deplorable defeat of our Allies, and of our own army under the Duke of York. He had to admit that, Robespierre having fallen, there might possibly be a more pacific spirit in France; that Holland, the only ally for whom we were verbally bound to take up arms, was negotiating a peace with the French; that the United States of America had refused to coalesce with the French against us, and had, on the contrary, made a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation with us. Here, then, was an end of all real causes for anything more than a mere defensive war on our part. Yet the speech breathed a most warlike spirit, and made a great deal of the secession of the island of Corsica from France and its adhesion to England. In the same spirit were the Addresses from both Houses carried by overwhelming Ministerial majorities.
The next great architect of this period is Sir John Vanbrugh, who, when in the zenith of his fame as a dramatic writer, suddenly started forth as an architect, and had the honour of erecting Castle Howard, the seat of the Earl of Carlisle; Blenheim House, built for the Duke of Marlborough, in reward of his victories; Duncomb Hall, Yorkshire; King's Weston, in Gloucestershire; Oulton Hall, Cheshire; Grimsthorpe, in Lincolnshire; Eastbury, in Dorsetshire, now destroyed; and Seaton Delaval, in Northumberland, since partly destroyed by fire. Besides these, he built the opera house, also destroyed by fire. In all these there is a strong similarity, and as a general effect, a certain magnificence; but, when examined in detail, they too frequently resolve themselves into a row of individual designs merely arranged side by side. This is very much the case with the long fa?ade of Blenheim. There is a barbaric splendour, but it has no pervading unity, and only differs from the Italian manner of Wren by a much bolder and profuser use of the Grecian columns and pilasters. In fact, the architecture of the whole of this period is of a hybrid character, the classical more or less modified and innovated to adapt it to modern purposes and the austerity of a northern climate.
It is said that when Johnson called on Goldsmith to see what could be done to raise money to pay the latter's landlady, who threatened him with imprisonment, Goldsmith handed the doctor the MS. of a new novel that might be worth something! This was the "Vicar of Wakefield." Johnson recognised its merits instantly, and at once sold it to a bookseller for ￡60, with which Goldsmith's rent was paid.The Greeks had been struggling to emancipate themselves from the tyrannical dominion of the Turks, aided in their war of independence only by the voluntary contributions and personal services of enthusiastic friends of freedom, like Lord Byron. At length, however, the sanguinary nature of the contest, and the injury to commerce by piracy, induced the Great Powers of Europe to interfere in order to put an end to the war. Accordingly, on the 6th of July, 1827, a treaty was signed in London by the Ministers of Great Britain, France, and Russia, for the pacification of Greece. In pursuance of this treaty, a joint expedition, consisting of British, French, and Russian ships, entered the Bay of Navarino on the 20th of October, with the object of compelling the Sultan to concede an armistice, in order that there might be time for effecting an arrangement. The Sultan, Mahmoud, having declined the mediation of the combined Powers, and Ibrahim Pasha having received a large reinforcement of troops from Egypt, he was ordered to put down the insurrection at every cost by land and sea. He had accordingly recommenced the war with fanatical fury. All Greeks found in arms were to be put to the sword, and the Morea was to be laid waste. The combined fleet of the Allies had received orders to demand an armistice, and if this were refused by the Turkish admiral, they were to intercept the Turkish supplies, but not to commit hostilities. When the Turkish fleet met the Allies, the futility of these instructions became evident. They found it ranged at the bottom of the bay, in the form of a crescent. Instead of parleying, the Turks began to fire, and the battle commenced apparently without plan on either side. It soon became general. Admiral Codrington, in the Asia, opened a broadside upon the Egyptian admiral, and soon reduced his ship to a wreck; others in rapid succession shared the same fate. The conflict lasted with great fury for four hours. When the smoke cleared off, the enemy had disappeared, and the bay was strewn with the fragments of their ships. Among the Allies, the loss of the British was greatest, though not large—only 75 men killed and 197 wounded. The catastrophe produced immense excitement at Constantinople, and had the Janissaries (those fierce and bigoted defenders of Mohammedanism whom the Sultan had so recently extirpated) been still in existence, it would have fared ill with Christians in that part of the world. The Sultan demanded satisfaction, which would not be granted, and the European ambassadors left Constantinople. The battle of Navarino occurred at the time when the Duke of Wellington assumed the reins of office, our ambassador having then returned from Constantinople.
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This blow induced Scindiah to sue for peace from General Wellesley in November, and a truce was accordingly entered into with him; but as the Rajah of Berar still kept the field, Wellesley marched against him, and encountered him on the plains of Argaum, about one hundred and twenty miles north of the Purna river. He was surprised to find the treacherous Scindiah, notwithstanding the truce, also encamped with him. Wellesley attacked the allies on the 28th of November, though it was evening when he was ready for action, and there remained only twenty minutes of daylight. But it proved a brilliant moonlight night, and he routed the whole army, and his cavalry pursued the fugitives for several miles, taking many elephants, camels, and much baggage. He captured all their cannon, thirty-eight pieces, and all their ammunition. This done, he hastened to reduce the formidable fortress of Gawilgarh, situated on a lofty rock. On the 15th the outer walls were carried, and the 94th regiment, led on by Captain Campbell, scaled the inner one, opened the gate, and the whole place was soon in possession of the British. This closed the opposition of the Rajah of Berar. On the 17th of December he came to terms, and surrendered to Wellesley the important province of Cuttack and the district of Balasore. Immediately afterwards Scindiah was compelled to treat in earnest. He consented to surrender all the country between the Jumna and the Ganges, with numerous forts and other territories, and agreed to recognise the right of the Peishwa to the domains which the British had conferred upon him. Both he and the Rajah of Berar stipulated to send away all Frenchmen or other Europeans and Americans, and not to employ them again, nor even to employ British subjects, native or European, without the consent of the British Government.THE BASTILLE.详情
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