陕西宝鸡高新区渭水苑社区:共驻共建共享 助力和谐社区

THE SAUCY "ARETHUSA" AND THE "BELLE POULE." (See p. 255.)

SEA FIGHT OFF CAPE PASSARO. (See p. 41.)

In the trying circumstances in which they were placed, Lord Grey and his colleagues displayed a firmness and courage which entitled them to the everlasting gratitude of the country. The pluck of Lord John Russell in particular had quite an inspiriting effect on the nation. Replying to a vote of thanks to him and Lord Althorp, which had been passed by the Birmingham Political union, the noble Paymaster of the Forces used an antithetical expression, which has become historical, and which, considering that the faction to which he alluded was the majority of the order to which he himself belonged, must be admitted to be one of extraordinary boldness. He said: "I beg to acknowledge with heartfelt gratitude the undeserved honour done me by 150,000 of my countrymen. Our prospects are now obscured for a moment, and I trust only for a moment. It is impossible that the whisper of faction should prevail against the voice of the nation." Lord John Russell, who introduced the measure, Lord Althorp, Mr. Smith of Norwich, and Mr. Ferguson pleaded the cause of the Dissenters with unanswerable arguments. They showed that the Church was not now in danger; that there was no existing party bent on subverting the Constitution; that in the cases where the tests were not exacted during the last half century there was no instance of a Dissenter holding office who had abused his trust; that though the Test Act had been practically in abeyance during all that time, the Church had suffered no harm. Why, then, preserve an offensive and discreditable Act upon the Statute Book? Why keep up invidious distinctions when there was no pretence of necessity for retaining them? Why, without the shadow of proof, presume disaffection against any class of the community? Even the members of the Established Church of Scotland might be, by those tests and[266] penalties, debarred from serving their Sovereign unless they renounced their religion. A whole nation was thus proscribed upon the idle pretext that it was necessary to defend the church of another nation. It was asked, Did the Church of England aspire, like the Mussulmans of Turkey, to be exclusively charged with the defence of the empire? If so, let the Presbyterians and Dissenters withdraw, and it would be seen what sort of defence it would have. Take from the field of Waterloo the Scottish regiments; take away, too, the sons of Ireland: what then would have been the chance of victory? If they sought the aid of Scottish and Irish soldiers in the hour of peril, why deny them equal rights and privileges in times of peace? Besides, the Church could derive no real strength from exclusion and coercion, which only generated ill-will and a rankling feeling of injustice. The Established Church of Scotland had been safe without any Test and Corporation Acts. They had been abolished in Ireland half a century ago without any evil accruing to the Church in that country. It was contrary to the spirit of the age to keep up irritating yet inefficient and impracticable restrictions, which were a disgrace to the Statute Book.

Although announced with the Budget, the proposed change in the sugar duties formed a separate and more momentous question. At that time, strictly foreign sugar was virtually prohibited by the excessive differential dutiesBritish plantation sugar paying a duty of 25s. 3d. per cwt., foreign, of 66s. 2d. When the Whig Administration had proposed to diminish this enormous difference, the Tories had pleaded the injustice to the West India landlords of taking away their slaves, and then exposing them to competition with countries still possessing slave labour. The question had thus become one of party. The Whigs were pledged to consult the interests of the British consumer; the Tories to protect the West Indies; and beating the Whigs on this very point, the Tories had turned them out of office. The British consumer had, however, happily some voice in the elections, and the problem was now to conciliate him without a glaring breach of consistency. Accordingly, the tax on our colonial sugar was to be left untouched, as was the tax on foreign sugar, the growth of slave countries; but henceforth it was proposed that the duty on foreign sugar, the produce of free labour, should pay only 10s. more than colonial. Thus was the first great blow struck at the protective sugar duties, and at that West Indian party which had so long prevailed in Parliament over the interests of the people. But the battle had yet to be fought.

On the 29th of January, 1823, the King of France opened the Chambers with a speech of decidedly warlike tone. It spoke of 100,000 French soldiers prepared to march under a prince of the blood for the deliverance of Ferdinand VII. and his loyal people from the tyranny of a portion. A few weeks afterwards the march commenced, and from the Bidassoa to Madrid it was a continued triumph. The king was set at liberty, and the gates of Cadiz were opened. The Spaniards were not true to themselves, the mass of the people being unable to appreciate liberal institutions. There was also a counter-revolution in Portugal, aided by foreign bayonets, restoring the despotic system. These events produced great dissatisfaction in England, and the Duke was strongly censured for the timidity of his tone in the Congress. Replying to attacks made in the Upper House by Lords Ellenborough, Holland, and Grey, he asked whether it would be becoming in one who appeared in the character of a mediator to employ threats, especially if he had no power to carry them into effect:"Were they for a policy of peace or a policy of war? If for the former, could he go farther than to declare that to any violent attack on the independence of Spain the king his master would be no party? If for the latter, all he had to say was that he entirely differed from them, and he believed that his views would be supported by all the intelligent portion of the community." The introduction of the steam-engine, railroads, and canals enabled the coal-miners during this reign to extend the supply of coals enormously. In 1792 the coal-mines of Durham and Northumberland alone maintained twenty-six thousand two hundred and fifty persons, and employed a capital of three million one hundred and thirty thousand poundsa very small amount of both people and money as compared with the workers and capital engaged in the trade since the expansion of the manufacturing and steam systems. The coal-fields of Durham and Northumberland extend to nearly eight hundred square miles, but the beds in Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, the Midland Counties, South of Scotland, and Ireland, are still immense and not yet fully explored. Fresh strata are discovered as steam power enables us to go deeper. In 1817 Sir Humphry Davy perfected his safety-lamp, which, by means of a simple wire gauze, enabled the miner to work amid the most explosive gases. These lamps, however, were not able to protect the colliers from their own carelessness, and most horrible destruction, from time to time, took place amongst them from neglect. On the 6th of January there landed at Greenwich an illustrious visitor to the Court on an unwelcome errandnamely, Prince Eugene. The Allies, justly alarmed at the Ministerial revolution which had taken place in England, and at the obvious design of the Tories to render abortive all the efforts of the Whigs and the Allies through the war, from mere party envy and malice, sent over Eugene to convince the queen and the Government of the fatal consequences of such policy. Harley paid obsequious court to the prince as long as he hoped to win him over. He gave a magnificent dinner in his honour, and declared that he looked on that day as the happiest of his life, since he had the honour to see in his house the greatest captain of the age. The prince, who felt that this was a mean blow at Marlborough, replied with a polite but cutting sarcasm, which must have sunk deep in the bosom of the Lord Treasurer, "My lord, if I am the greatest captain of the age, I owe it to your lordship." That was to say, because he had deprived the really greatest captain of his command. The queen, though she was compelled to treat Eugene graciously, and to order the preparation of costly gifts to him as the representative of the Allies, regarded him as a most unwelcome guest, and in her private circle took no pains to conceal it. The whole Tory party soon found that he was not a man to be seduced from his integrity, or brought to acquiesce in a course of policy which he felt and knew to be most disgraceful and disastrous to the peace of Europe; and being fully convinced of this, they let loose on the illustrious stranger all the virulence of the press. Eugene returned to the Continent, his mission being unaccomplished, on the 13th of March.

But it was not to Great Britain only that this want of generosity was shown. No people rejoiced more vehemently than they didnone, indeed, so muchover the fall and execution of Louis XVI. of France, the one monarch of Europe who had been their chief benefactor, without whose powerful aid they would have fought and struggled in vain, and who had, in fact, lost his crown and his head, and his empire to his family, by sending his soldiers to learn Republicanism amongst them. There were feasts and public rejoicings in the United States to commemorate the death of Louis, who was, in fact, the martyr of America. What was equally extraordinary, whilst they exulted in the French Republic, they followed with an equal admiration the career of Buonaparte, who crushed that Republic, and raised up a despotism opposed in its principles to all the political professions of Americans. But it was the idea that he was born to humble and, perhaps, blot out Great Britain from the list of nations, which served to render Napoleon so especially the object of their unbounded eulogies. His victories were celebrated nowhere so vociferously as in the United States, through the press, the pulpit, and in general oratory. With them he was the Man of Destiny, who was to overthrow all kings but himself, and drive Great Britain from her dominion of the seas.

During the Session of 1764 Grenville imposed several duties on American articles of export, if imported direct from the French, Dutch, and Spanish West Indies. The Americans did not dispute the right of the mother country to impose such duties on the trade of the empire in any quarter; but these imposts, seeing the object of them, were not the less galling. But Grenville did not stop there; he stated, at the time of passing these duties, that it was probable that Government would charge certain stamp duties in America. This was creating a sore place and immediately striking it. The infatuated Minister was contemplating an act of the nature of which neither he nor his colleagues had any conception.

The aggressive policy of the Holy Alliance, and the French invasion of Spain, despite England's remonstrances, provoked Mr. Canning to hasten the recognition of the revolted colonies in South America. It was in defending this policy that he uttered the memorable sentence so often quoted as a specimen of the sublime:"Contemplating Spain such as our ancestors had known her, I resolved that if France had Spain, it should not be Spain with the Indies. I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old."

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Robespierre believed that there was a majority of the Republicans who thought they had gone too far in abolishing the Deity and setting up the Goddess of Reason. He declared that the people needed festivals, and immediately it was decreed that every decade should be celebrated as a festival. A festival in honour of the Supreme Being inaugurated this series of special holidays, and it was to be followed by festivals to the Human Race, the French People, the Love of Country, Agriculture, Necessity, Misfortune, Posterity, and various other qualities and sentiments, each having one decade in the year. The first festival to the Supreme Being was fixed for the 20th of Prairial, or 8th of June. The painter David was commissioned to prepare the scenes and ceremonies of the festival, which was enacted in the gardens of the Tuileries. Robespierre, in his sky-blue coat and most showy waistcoat, and carrying in his hand a grand bouquet of flowers mixed with ears of wheat, led the procession and officiated as high priest. But though Robespierre had proclaimed the reign of the Supreme Being, he had not the least intention that it should on that account be any the more a reign of mercy. In his speech at the festival of the Supreme Being, he declared that the Republic must be still further purgedthat they must remain inexorable. On this point he and all his colleagues were agreed, but they were agreed in nothing else. They immediately broke into fresh schisms, as would necessarily be the case with such men, who must go on exterminating one another to the last. Robespierre, St. Just, and Couthon still hung together; but Barrre, Collot d'Herbois, Billaud-Varennes, and most of the other members of the Committees of Public Welfare and Public Safety, were in the very act of rushing into opposition, and beginning a struggle with the triumvirateRobespierre, Couthon, and St. Justto the death. St. Just advised Robespierre to anticipate them, but he, relying on his authority with the Convention, remained inactive. It was a fatal mistake. Barrre and his faction determined to strike a decisive blow at Robespierre; and Tallien volunteered to commence the attack on Robespierre in the Convention. To Robespierre's utter astonishment, his friends were outnumbered, and decrees were immediately passed for the arrest of Couthon, Lebas, St. Just, Robespierre and his brother. He escaped and fled to the Commune. For a moment it seemed as if a revolution would have restored him to power. But the Parisians were weary of their tyrant, and on the following day Robespierre with twenty members of the Commune perished on the scaffold (July 28th, 1794).

Whilst Burgoyne had been looking in vain for aid from New York, Sir Henry Clinton, at length daring the responsibility of a necessary deed, had set out with three thousand men, in vessels of different kinds, up the Hudson. On the 6th of Octobereleven days before Burgoyne signed the capitulationClinton set out. Leaving one thousand men at Verplank's Point, he crossed to the other bank with his remaining two thousand, and landed them at Stony Point, only twelve miles from Fort Montgomery. He advanced with one-half of his force to storm Fort Clinton, and dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell to attack Fort Montgomery. Both forts were to be[245] attacked, if possible, at the same instant, to prevent the one from aiding the other. The simultaneous assaults took place about sunset. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell was killed leading his column against Fort Montgomery, but his brave troops entered and drove the garrison of eight hundred men from the place. Clinton found the approach to the fort of his own name much more arduous. But on went our brave fellows till they reached the foot of the works, where, having no ladders, they hoisted one another on their shoulders to the embrasures, through which they pushed past the cannon, and drove the Americans from their guns, and across the rampart, at the points of their bayonets. It was dark by the time the forts were taken, but the Americans soon threw light enough on the scene by setting fire to several vessels which were moored close under the guns of the forts. Had the English been disposed to risk the attempt to save them, they were prevented by several strong booms and chains thrown across the river. These they afterwards broke through, and, on the 13th of October, at the very moment that Burgoyne was making his first overtures for surrender, the English troops under General Vaughan ascended, in small frigates, as far as Esopus Creek, only thirty miles overland to Saratoga. But Burgoyne having now surrendered, and Gates being at liberty to send down strong reinforcements to co-operate with Putnam, the English vessels and troops were recalled, and returned to New York. Such was the campaign of 1777; equally remarkable for the valour of the British troops, and for their misfortunes; for the imbecility of their Government, and the incapacity or rashness of their commanders.

The next day, the 21st, Sir Hew Dalrymple arrived from Gibraltar, and superseded Sir Harry Burrard. But the mischief was done; the enemy had gained the strong position from which Wellesley would have cut them off. What would have been the effect of Sir Arthur's unobstructed orders was clearly seen by what did take place; for, notwithstanding the possession of the strong post of Torres Vedras, Junot saw that he could not maintain the conflict against the British, and on the 22nd he sent General Kellermann with a flag of truce to propose an armistice, preparatory to a convention for the evacuation of Portugal by the French.

But there was no rest for Frederick. Daun was overrunning Saxony; had reduced Leipsic, Wittenberg, and Torgau. Frederick marched against him, retook Leipsic, and came up with Daun at Torgau on the 3rd of November. There a most sanguinary battle took place, which lasted all day and late into the night. Within half an hour five thousand of Frederick's grenadiers, the pride of his army, were killed by Daun's batteries of four hundred cannon. Frederick was himself disabled and carried into the rear, and altogether fourteen thousand Prussians were killed or wounded, and twenty thousand of the Austrians. This scene of savage slaughter closed the campaign. The Austrians evacuated Saxony, with the exception of Dresden; the Russians re-passed the Oder, and Frederick took up his winter quarters at Leipsic.