Lord Grey declared that when he entered office in November, 1830, he found the counties round London in open insurrection, and that no measures had been taken by the late Government to put down these disturbances. This was true so far as incendiary fires were concerned. A system of outrage commenced in Kent before the harvest was fully gathered in. The disturbers of the peace did not generally assume the form of mobs, nor did they seek any political object. Threatening letters were circulated very freely, demanding higher wages and denouncing machinery, and the attacks of the rioters were directed entirely against private property. In the day armed bands went forth, wrecking mills and destroying machinery, especially threshing-machines. At night, corn-stacks, hayricks, barns, and farm buildings were seen blazing in different parts of the county. Even live stock were cruelly burned to death. In addition to this wholesale destruction the rioters plundered the houses of the farmers as they went along. These disorders extended into Hants, Wilts, Bucks, Sussex, and Surrey, and they continued during the months of October, November, and December. In fact, life and property in those counties were, to a great extent, at the mercy of lawless men. Lord Melbourne lost no time in announcing his determination to punish sternly those disturbers of the peace, and to restore at every cost the dominion of law and order. He would give his most anxious attention to measures for the relief of distress, but it was his determined resolution, wherever outrages were perpetrated or excesses committed, to suppress them with vigour. In pursuance of this determination, two special commissions were issued to try the offenders. They finished their painful duties early in January. On the 9th of that month judgment of death was recorded against twenty-three persons for the destruction of machinery in Buckinghamshire. In Dorset, at Norwich, at Ipswich, at Petworth, at Gloucester, at Oxford, at Winchester, and at Salisbury, large numbers were convicted of various outrages; altogether, upwards of 800 offenders were tried, and a large proportion of them capitally convicted. Only four, however, were executed; the rest were all sentenced to various terms of transportation or imprisonment. The prosecutions were conducted with firmness, but with moderation, and they were decidedly successful in restoring public tranquillity.The very day that Lord Cornwallis had marched from Wilmington, Lord Rawdon was bravely fighting with Greene at Hobkirk's Hill, in South Carolina. Greene had not ventured to attack Lord Cornwallis; but he thought he might, by diverting his course into South Carolina, induce him to follow, and thus leave exposed all North Carolina to Wayne and Lafayette, as well as all his important posts in the upper part of North Carolina. Greene failed to draw after him Cornwallis, but he sat down at Hobkirk's Hill, about two miles from the outposts of Lord Rawdon's camp at Camden. Lord Rawdon, hearing that Greene was waiting to be reinforced by troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, did not give him time for that. He marched out of Camden, at nine o'clock in the morning, on the 25th of April, and quietly making a circuit through some woods, he came upon Greene's flank, and drove in his pickets before he was perceived. Startled from his repose, Greene sought to return the surprise by sending Colonel Washington, a nephew of the American commander-in-chief, with a body of cavalry, to fall on Rawdon's rear, as he was passing up the hill. But Rawdon was aware of this man?uvre, and prevented it, still pressing up Hobkirk's Hill, in the face of the artillery, charged with grape-shot. Greene's militia fled with all speed, and Rawdon stood triumphant on the summit of the hill, in the centre of Greene's camp. But the success was not followed up, owing to the insufficiency of the English troops, and Greene was able, without risking another engagement, to compel Rawdon to retire to Charleston. The American general encamped on the Santee Hills until September, when he descended on Colonel Stewart, who had succeeded Rawdon. After a severe struggle at Eutaw Springs on the 8th of September, Stewart retired to Charleston Neck, and all Georgia and South Carolina were lost to the English, with the exception of Charleston and Savannah. Meanwhile, Lord Cornwallis only allowed himself three days' rest at Presburg; he marched thence, on the 24th of May, in quest of Lafayette, who was encamped on the James River. Cornwallis crossed that river at Westover, about thirty miles below Lafayette's camp, and that nimble officer retreated in all haste to join General Wayne, who was marching through Maryland with a small force of eight hundred Pennsylvanians. Lafayette and Wayne retreated up the James River, and Cornwallis pursued his march to Portsmouth. There he received an order from Sir Henry Clinton, desiring him to look out for a position where he could fortify himself, and at the same time protect such shipping as might be sent to the Chesapeake to prevent the entrance of the French. Cornwallis fixed on York Town, on York River, and there, and at Gloucester, in its vicinity, he was settled with his troops by the 22nd of August. Sir Henry Clinton wrote, intimating that he should probably send more troops to the Chesapeake, as there was a probability that Washington and Rochambeau, giving up the attack of New York, would make a united descent on York Town. Wayne and Lafayette were already continually increasing their forces above York Town; but any such reinforcements by Sir Henry were prevented by the entrance of the Comte de Grasse, with twenty-eight sail of the line and several frigates, into the Chesapeake, having on board three thousand two hundred troops, which he had brought from the West Indies. These troops he landed, and sent, under the Marquis de St Simon, to join Lafayette, much to his delight.The House of Commons received the speech with enthusiasm, and carried up an address of thanks in a body. Very different, however, was the reception of the speech in the House of Lords. Lord Wharton proposed that in the address they should declare themselves against a separate peace, and the Duke of Marlborough supported that view. He said that for a year past the measures pursued were directly opposed to her Majesty's engagement with the Allies, had sullied the glories of her reign, and would render our name odious to all nations. Lord Strafford, who had come over from the Hague purposely to defend the Government policy, and his own share in it at Utrecht, asserted that the opposition of the Allies would not have been so obstinate had they not been encouraged by a certain member of that House who corresponded with them, and stimulated them by assurances that they would be supported by a large party in England. This blow aimed at Marlborough called up Lord Cowper, who directed his sarcasm against Strafford on the ground of his well-known illiterate character, observing that the noble lord had been so long abroad that he had forgotten not only the language but the constitution of his country; that according to our laws it could never be a crime in an individual to correspond with its allies, but that it was a crime to correspond, as certain persons did, with the common enemy, unknown to the allies, and to their manifest prejudice. The amendment of Lord Wharton, however, was rejected, and the protest, entered against its rejection by twenty peers and bishops, was voted violent and indecorous, and erased from the journal.
The year, gloomy in itself from the dislocation of trade and the discontent of the people, terminated still more gloomily from another cause—the death of the Princess Charlotte. This event, wholly unexpected, was a startling shock to the whole nation. This amiable and accomplished princess was not yet twenty-two. She had been married only in May, 1816, to Prince Leopold of Coburg, and died on the 6th of November, 1817, a few hours after being delivered of a stillborn child. What rendered the event the more painful was that her death was attributed to neglect by her accoucheur, Sir Richard Croft. Dr. Baillie, who saw her soon after her confinement, refused to join in the issue of a bulletin which the other medical men had prepared, stating that she was going on well, and a few hours proved the fatal correctness of his opinion. Sir Richard, overwhelmed by the public indignation and his own feelings, soon afterwards destroyed himself. No prince or princess had stood so well with the nation for many years. The people saw in her a future queen, with the vigour, unaccompanied by the vices and tyrannies, of Elizabeth. She had taken the part of her mother against the treatment of her father, and this was another cause which drew towards her the affections of the people. All these hopes were extinguished in a moment, and the whole nation was plunged into sorrow and consternation, the more so that, notwithstanding the twelve children of George III., there had only been this single grandchild, and several of his sons remained unmarried.Rt. Hon. J. Toler, a peerage and chief justiceship.
[See larger version]In this utter desertion, the king prevailed on Lord North, who was already Chancellor of the Exchequer, to accept Grafton's post of First Lord of the Treasury, with the Premiership. Lord North, eldest son of the Earl of Guildford, was a man of a remarkably mild and pleasant temper, of sound sense, and highly honourable character. He was ungainly in his person and plain of countenance, but he was well versed in the business of Parliament, and particularly dexterous in tagging to motions of the Opposition some paragraph or other which neutralised the whole, or turned it even against them. He was exceedingly near-sighted, so much so, that he once carried off the wig of the old Secretary of the Navy, who sat near him in the House. For the rest, he was of so somnolent a nature that he was frequently seen nodding in the House when Opposition members were pouring out all the vials of their wrath on his head. He thought himself a Whig, but if we are to class him by his principles and his acts of administration, we must pronounce him a Tory.
Victory of Pitt—The King's delight—Pitt's Finance—The India Bill—Pitt's Budget—The Westminster Election—The Scrutiny—Fox is returned—The Volunteers in Ireland—Flood's Reform Bill—Riots in Ireland—Pitt's Commercial Policy for Ireland—Opposition of the English Merchants—Abandonment of the Measure—Pitt's Reform Bill—His Administrative Reforms—Bill for fortifying Portsmouth and Plymouth—Pitt's Sinking Fund—Favourable Reception of the Bill—Pitt's Excise Bill—Commercial Treaty with France—Impeachment of Warren Hastings—Retrospect of Indian Affairs: Deposition of Meer Jaffier—Resistance of Meer Cossim—Massacre of Patna—Battle of Buxar and Capture of Allahabad—Clive's Return to India—Settlement of Bengal and Oude—Domestic Reforms—Rise of Hyder Ali—His Treaty with the English—He is defeated by the Mahrattas—Deposition of the Rajah of Tanjore—Failure of Lord Pigot to reinstate him—Lord North's Regulating Bill—Death of Clive—Warren Hastings becomes Governor-General—His dealings with the Famine—Treatment of Reza Khan and the Nabob of Bengal—Resumption of Allahabad and Corah—Massacre of the Rohillas—Arrival of the New Members of Council—Struggle for Supremacy—Robbery of Cheyte Sing—Nuncomar's Charges—His Trial and Execution—Hastings' Constitutional Resignation—His Final Victory—Wars against the Mahrattas—Hyder Ali's Advance—Defeat of Baillie—Energy of Hastings—Victories of Sir Eyre Coote—Capture of Dutch Settlements—Naval Engagements between the British and French—Death of Hyder Ali—Tippoo continues the War—He invokes Peace—Hastings' extortions from Cheyte Sing—Hastings' visit to Benares—Rising of the People—Rescue of Hastings and Deposition of Cheyte Sing—Extortion from the Begums of Oude—Parliamentary Inquiries—Hastings' Reception in England—Burke's Motion of Impeachment—Pitt's Change of Front—The Prince of Wales and the Whigs—Inquiry into his Debts—Alderman Newnham's Motion—Denial of the Marriage with Mrs. Fitzherbert—Sheridan's Begum Speech—Impeachment of Hastings—Growth of the Opposition to the Slave Trade—The Question brought before Parliament—Evidence Produced—Sir W. Dolben's Bill—Trial of Warren Hastings—Speeches of Burke, Fox, and Sheridan—Illness of the King—Debates on the Regency Bill—The King's Recovery—Address of the Irish Parliament to the Prince of Wales.He had been able to borrow a hundred and eighty thousand livres from two of his adherents, had made serious exertions to raise arms, and though he had kept his project profoundly secret from the French King and Ministry, lest they might forcibly detain him, he had managed to engage a French man-of-war called the Elizabeth, carrying sixty-seven guns, and a brig of eighteen guns called the Doutelle, an excellent sailer. On the 2nd of July the Doutelle left St. Nazaire, at the mouth of the Loire, and waited at Belleisle for the Elizabeth, when they put forward to sea in good earnest. Unfortunately, only four days after leaving Belleisle, they fell in with the British man-of-war the Lion, of fifty-eight guns, commanded by the brave Captain Butt, who in Anson's expedition had stormed Paita. There was no avoiding an engagement, which continued warmly for five or six hours, when both vessels were so disabled that they were compelled to put back respectively to England and France.
No sooner was this motion made than Spencer Perceval rose to oppose it. Sidmouth worked upon the king's feelings by sending in his resignation, and the Duke of Portland had offered to form a Ministry in accordance with the king's feelings. The Bill was, notwithstanding, brought in, read a first time, and the second reading fixed for the 12th of March. But now it was found that the king, who had previously received the Ministerial proposal without any comment, seeing his way clear with another Ministry, refused even his qualified consent to the prosecution of the measure. The Ministers postponed the second reading to the 18th, promising an after-statement of their reasons. But their reasons were already well known in both Houses of Parliament through the private communications of the embryo Cabinet. On the 25th of March there were motions made in both Houses for an adjournment: this was to allow the new Ministry to be announced in the interval. In the Lords, Earl Grenville seized the opportunity to make some observations in defence of the conduct of his Cabinet during its possession of office. He said they had entered it with the determination to carry these important measures, if possible: the Sinking Fund, the abolition of the Slave Trade, and the relief of the Catholics. He was happy to say that they had carried two of them; and though they had found the resistance in a certain quarter too strong for them to carry the third, they conceived that never did the circumstances of the times point out more clearly the sound policy of granting it. France had wonderfully extended her power on the Continent; peace between her and the nations she had subdued would probably lead Buonaparte to concentrate his warlike efforts on this country. What so wise, then, as to have Ireland attached to us by benefits? With these views, the king, he said, had been induced to allow Ministers to make communications to the Catholics of Ireland through the Lord-Lieutenant, which he had seemed to approve; yet when these communications as to the intended concessions had been made, his Majesty had been induced to retract his assent to them. Ministers had then endeavoured to modify the Bill so as to meet his Majesty's views; but, not succeeding, they had dropped the Bill altogether, reserving only, in self-justification, a right to make a minute on the private proceedings of the Cabinet, expressing their liberty to bring this subject again to the royal notice, as circumstances might seem to require; but now his Majesty had called upon them to enter into a written obligation never again to introduce the subject to his notice, or to bring forward a measure of that kind. This, he said, was more than could be expected of any Ministers of any independence whatever. The point was, of course, of some constitutional importance, but there was much truth in Sheridan's remark: "I have often heard of people knocking out their brains against a wall, but never before knew of anyone building a wall expressly for the purpose."
It was on this occasion that the loyalty of the British settlers in Upper Canada shone forth with the most chivalrous devotion to the throne of the Queen. The moment the news arrived of Mackenzie's attack upon Toronto, the militia everywhere seized their arms, mustered in companies, and from Niagara, Gore, Lake Shireve, and many other places, set out on their march in the heavy snow in the depth of winter. So great was the excitement, so enthusiastic the loyalty, that in three days 10,000 armed volunteers had assembled at Toronto. There was, however, no further occasion for their services in that place, and even the scattered remnants of the insurrection would have been extinguished but for the interference of filibustering citizens of the United States, who were then called "sympathisers," and who had assembled in considerable numbers along the Niagara River. They had established their headquarters on Navy Island in the Niagara River, about two miles above the Falls, having taken possession of it on the 13th of December, and made it their chief dep?t of arms and provisions, the latter of which they brought from the American shore by means of a small steamer called the Caroline. Colonel M'Nab resolved to destroy the Caroline, and to root out the nest of pirates by whom she was employed. On the 28th of December a party of militia found her moored opposite Fort Schlosser, on the American side, strongly guarded by bodies of armed men, both on board and on shore. Lieutenant Drew commanded the British party, and after a fierce conflict the vessel was boarded and captured, a number of those who manned her being taken prisoners. These being removed, the British set the vessel on fire, and the flaming mass was swept down the rapids, and precipitated into the unfathomable abyss below. According to the American version of this affair, the British had made an unprovoked and most wanton attack upon an unarmed vessel belonging to a neighbouring State, on American territory, at a time of profound peace. The truth came out by degrees, and the American President, Van Buren, issued a proclamation on the 5th of January, 1838, warning all citizens of the United States that if they interfered in any unlawful manner with the affairs of the neighbouring British provinces, they would render themselves liable to arrest and punishment.RIPON CATHEDRAL.[See larger version]
In 1734 England was the witness of war raging in different parts of Europe without having any concern in it, generally known as the War of the Polish Succession. A sharp Parliamentary campaign had been conducted at home. The Opposition talked loudly of the lamentable and calamitous situation of England, because she was wise enough to keep out of the war. Their motions were all guided by the secret hand of Bolingbroke, whose restless and rancorous mind could not brook that partial obscurity to which he was doomed by the immovable spirit of Walpole. But the grand attack was on the Septennial Act. This was a delicate subject for the Whigs in Opposition, for they, and Pulteney especially, had, in 1716, supported this Act with many specious arguments. But Wyndham led the way again with amazing eloquence, and discharged a philippic against Walpole of such ruthless and scathing vigour, as must have annihilated a less adamantine man.详情
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