On the opening of the Session, the king called the attention of Parliament to the state of Canada. That colony had flourished since it had come into the possession of Britain, especially since the passing of the Bill of 1774, which had given freedom to the Roman Catholic church there, the church of the French inhabitants. But one part of the colony was still inhabited by the descendants of the French, and another by those of the English and Americans. It was, therefore, found desirable to put an end to the competition which still existed, from differences of faith and of national sentiments and customs, between the two races, by dividing the colony into two provinces, the one inhabited by the French to be called Lower Canada, and the other, inhabited by the British, to be called Upper Canada. On the 25th of February the king sent a message to Parliament, proposing to carry out this division; and on the 4th of March Pitt moved to bring in a Bill for that purpose, and stated the intended plan of arrangement. Besides an elective assembly, each province was to have a Council, the members of which were to be appointed for life, with hereditary succession to the descendants of such as should be honoured with hereditary titles, which titles were to confer on an inhabitant of either province the dignity of a member of the Council. Landed property was to be held according to English law, in soccage tenure; the Habeas Corpus was to be established in both provinces. An allotment of lands was to be made for the Protestant clergy; but, as the majority of the inhabitants in the Lower Province would be Catholic, the Council and Assembly were empowered to allot lands also to their clergy, which allotment, on sanction of the Crown, was to be valid without intervention of Parliament. No taxes were to be imposed by the British Government except such as were necessary for the regulation of commerce, and these were to be levied by the provincial legislature to prevent any heartburnings like those which had occurred in the American States.Sir John Soane, who had been a pupil of Dance, Holland, and Sir William Chambers, introduced a more purely Greek style, and his achievements may be seen in Dulwich Gallery and Trinity Church, Marylebone. The most eminent disciples of this school were William Wilkins and Sir Robert Smirke. Wilkins was a servile copyist, and the National Gallery is the chief monument of his skill, or want of it. Sir Robert Smirke was of a higher order, and his erection of Covent Garden Theatre, the Mint, the Post Office, the College of Physicians, the law courts at Gloucester, Lowther Castle, etc., speak for themselves. Nash, the contemporary and successor of these architects, has left us abundance of his Gr?co-Romano-Italian medleys in the church in Langham Place, Regent's Park, and Buckingham Palace. The great merit of Nash was, that, like the brothers Adam, he gave us space, and showed, as in Regent's Park, what was needed for an immense metropolis. Towards the end of the reign Gothic architecture was more cultivated, and one of Wyatt's last works was Ashridge House, in Buckinghamshire, a vast and stately Gothic pile, imposing in general effect, but far from pure in style. Still less so was Eaton Hall, in Cheshire, built by William Pordon; but the real Anglo-Gothic was now receiving the true development of its principles by the works of James Bentham, Carter, John Britton; and, finally, Thomas Rickman, in 1816, published his "Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture," which placed these principles perspicuously before the public.LA ROCHE-JAQUELEIN AND THE REPUBLICAN SOLDIERS. (See p. 444.)
The growing importance of the middle classes, the rapid multiplication of men of wealth and high social position in the mercantile community; the marriage of their daughters into noble families rendered insolvent by extravagance, and the diffusion of knowledge among all classes of the community, gradually levelled or lowered the barriers of exclusiveness, increased the facilities of social intercourse, and rendered the fashions in the clothing of both sexes more accordant with good taste, more convenient, and more conducive to health. With the use of the trousers, and Hessian or Wellington boots, came the loose and easy surtout, and frock-coat; and instead of the deep stiff white cravat, black stocks or black ties were worn except in full dress at evening parties. The clergy, however, retained the white neckcloth, and, strange to say, it also became the necessary distinction of footmen, butlers, hotel-waiters, and shop-assistants. The old Court dress coat, with its bag-like skirt, was abandoned by gentlemen who attended dinner parties and balls, for the "swallow-tailed" dress coat.
As this excitement closed the old year, so it opened the new one. No sooner did Parliament meet, after the Christmas recess, than, on the 17th of January, 1764, the order for Wilkes's attendance at the bar was read. It was then found that he had thought it best to retire into France. Still he did not hesitate to send over a medical certificate, signed by one of the king's physicians and an army surgeon, affirming that his wound was in such a condition that it was not safe for him to leave Paris. The House of Commons paid no attention to the certificate, but proceeded to examine evidence, and the famous No. 45 of the North Briton; and after a violent debate, continuing till three o'clock in the morning, passed a resolution that the paper in question contained the grossest insults to his Majesty, to both Houses of Parliament, and tended to traitorous insurrection against the Government. Accordingly, the next day, he was formally expelled the House, and a new writ was issued for Aylesbury.
Before the close of 1792 the French resolved to send an ambassador to the United States to demand a return of the aid given to the Americans in their revolution, by declaration of war against Great Britain. M. Genet was dispatched for this purpose at the beginning of 1793. Still neutrality was maintained, though our ambassador was withdrawn from Paris, and M. Chauvelin was no longer recognised in an official capacity by the British Court. This gentleman, however, continued in London, ignoring the loss of his official character, and officiously pressing himself on the attention of Ministers as still French plenipotentiary. Lord Grenville was repeatedly obliged to remind him that he had no power to correspond with him officially. He, however, informed him privately that, if the French Government wished to be duly recognised in Great Britain, they must give up their assumed right of aggression on neighbouring countries and of interference with established Governments. The French Girondist Ministers took advantage of this letter which Chauvelin transmitted to them to send a reply, in which, however, having now invaded Holland, they gave no intimation of any intention of retiring. They even declared that it was their intention to go to war with Britain; and if the British Government did not comply with their desires, and enter into regular communication with them, they would prepare for war. Lord Grenville returned this letter, informing Chauvelin again that he could receive no official correspondence from him in a private capacity. This was on the 7th of January, 1793; Chauvelin continued to press his communications on Lord Grenville, complaining of the Alien Bill, and on the 18th presented letters of credence. Lord Grenville informed him, in reply, that his Majesty in the present circumstances could not receive them. These circumstances were the trial and conviction of Louis XVI. On the 24th arrived the news of Louis's execution, and Chauvelin immediately received passports for himself and suite, and an order to quit the kingdom within eight days. This order created the utmost exultation in the French Convention, for the Jacobins were rabid for war with all the world, and on the 1st of February the Convention declared war against Britain, and the news reached London on the 4th. Such was the Ministerial explanation.
We have now to turn from the feeble and ill-directed efforts of Britain to counteract the plans of Napoleon on land to the successful ones on her really protecting element—the sea. All Napoleon's endeavours to cross the Channel with his Grand Army he had seen to be impossible. Nelson was riding there in his glory, and the French fleets were only safe while they were in port. The impatience of this restraint caused Napoleon to urge on his admirals a greater daring; and these incitements to a rash hazard brought, eventually, that which must have occurred sooner, had the admirals listened to his suggestions rather than their own knowledge of the truth—the utter destruction of the French navy. Under such stimulants from the Emperor, Villeneuve seized the opportunity, when the weather had driven back the blockading British fleet, to steal out of Toulon on the 18th of January, 1805, and another fleet of ten vessels escaped out of Rochefort on the 11th of the same month. These squadrons stood away for the West Indies, and managed to get home again without meeting with a British fleet. Thus encouraged, Villeneuve made another venture. Nelson, who was watching Villeneuve off Toulon, in order to tempt him out, bore away along the Spanish coast as far as Barcelona. Villeneuve put out to sea on the 31st of March, with ten ships of the line, seven frigates, and two brigs. Nelson had gone a little too far, and it was not till the 7th of April that he heard of their issue from port. Before he could prevent it, they had passed the Strait of Gibraltar, and struck once more across the Atlantic. He was joined by the Spanish admiral, Gravina, from Cadiz, with six Spanish ships of the line, and two other French ships of the line. This combined fleet now amounted to eighteen sail of the line, six forty-four gun ships, and a number of smaller craft. Nelson did not hesitate to pursue them with his ten ships of the line and three frigates; but contrary winds withheld him, and it was the 7th of May before he could get out of the Strait of Gibraltar. His ships were, most of them, in very bad condition, one of them, the Superb, not having been in a home port for four years. Villeneuve had upwards of a month's start of Nelson, and his orders were to bear away to Martinique with five thousand one hundred troops, which he had on board, to capture St. Lucia, and strengthen the garrisons of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Dominica. He was afterwards to wait and see if Gautheaume could get out of Brest and join him with twenty-one more sail of the line, when they were to do all possible mischief amongst our islands and merchantmen. But the chief scheme was, by this means, to draw the British fleet after them, and then, hurrying back, enable Buonaparte to cross the Channel for England. Villeneuve did nothing but take the Diamond Rock, a fortification of the British, lying opposite to Fort Royal Bay, into which he had entered. He then sailed to Guadeloupe, where he was joined by two seventy-four gun ships; and an American having apprised him of a homeward-bound British convoy, he went after it, and succeeded, off Antigua, in capturing fifteen merchantmen. His success was, however, spoiled in the possession of it, for one of the prisoners informed him that Nelson was already in the West Indies in quest of him. Terrified at this news, he burnt all his prizes, and made all sail homewards. Nelson, in the meantime, was misled by some of the Yankee skippers abounding in those seas, and sent on a false scent after Villeneuve towards Venezuela and the mouth of the Orinoco. Not finding him, he was satisfied that he had sailed for Europe, and he made after him. Nelson sighted Cape St. Vincent on the 17th of July, after a run of more than three thousand two hundred miles. The next day he fell in with Admiral Collingwood, who was watching Cadiz, but who had no news of Villeneuve, but informed him that Sir Robert Calder was blockading Ferrol. On the 19th he anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar, and went on shore for the first time for two years, short only of two days. Hearing that Villeneuve was still out in the Atlantic, he bore away westward again to intercept him, but in vain; and, on returning to Ushant, where Collingwood was cruising, he learned that Sir Robert Calder had met with and attacked him at the very time Nelson was off Gibraltar, namely, on the 22nd of July.
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THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW. (After the Picture by Meissonier.)[See larger version]
The death of no English statesman had ever produced a deeper feeling of grief throughout the nation, or more general expressions of lamentation at the irreparable loss which the country had sustained. Mr. Hume had a motion on the paper for the day following his death; but instead of proceeding with it, he moved the adjournment of the House, which was agreed to unanimously. Mr. Gladstone paid an eloquent and touching tribute to his memory, concluding with the lines—In the Commons, Mr. Spencer Compton, the Ministerial nominee, was elected Speaker. The king opened his first Parliament in person, but, being unable to speak English, he handed his speech to Lord Chancellor Cowper to read. In the Commons the Address condemned in strong language the shameful peace which had been made after a war carried on at such vast expense, and attended with such unparalleled successes; but expressed a hope that, as this dishonour could not with justice be imputed to the nation, through his Majesty's wisdom and the faithful endeavours of the Commons the reputation of the kingdom might in due time be vindicated and restored. This was the first announcement of the Ministers' intention to call their predecessors to account, and Secretary Stanhope, in the course of the debate, confirmed it, observing that it had been industriously circulated that the present Ministers never designed to bring the late Ministers to trial, but only to pass a general censure on them; but he assured the House that, though active efforts had been used to prevent a discovery of the late treasonable proceedings, by conveying away papers from the Secretaries' offices, yet Government had sufficient evidence to enable them to bring to justice the most corrupt Ministry that ever sat at the helm. Before three weeks were over a secret committee was appointed to consider the Treaty of Utrecht.
And, for some time, events seemed to justify these apprehensions by the old governing class. Not a plan of Pitt's but failed. His first enterprise was one of that species that has almost universally failed—a descent on the coast of France. Early in September a fleet of sixteen ships of the line, attended by transports and frigates, was despatched to Rochefort, carrying ten regiments of foot, under the command of Sir John Mordaunt. Sir Edward Hawke commanded the fleet, and the troops were landed on a small fortified island named Aix, at the mouth of the Charente. There, in spite of strict orders, the English soldiers and sailors became awfully drunk, and committed shocking excesses and cruelties on the inhabitants. The rumour of this made the forces in Rochefort furious for vengeance; and when the army was to be landed within a few miles of the place in order to its attack, as usual in such cases, the admiral and general came to an open quarrel. Mordaunt betrayed great timidity, and demanded of Hawke how the troops, in case of failure, were to be brought off again. Hawke replied, that must depend on wind and tide—an answer which by no means reassured Mordaunt. General Conway, next in command to Mordaunt, was eager for advancing to the attack; and Colonel Wolfe—afterwards the conqueror of Quebec—offered to make himself master of Rochefort with three ships of war and five hundred men at his disposal. The brave offer was rejected, but the report of it at once pointed out Wolfe to Pitt as one of the men whom he was on the look-out to work with. Howe, the next in command to Hawke, proposed to batter down the fort of Fouras before advancing on Rochefort; but Mordaunt adopted the resort of all timid commanders—a council of war—which wasted the time in which the assault should have been made, and then it was declared useless to attempt it; the fortifications of Aix were destroyed, and the fleet put back. Mordaunt, like Byng, was brought before a court-martial, but with very different results. He was honourably acquitted—perhaps, under the atrocious 12th Article of War, the Court feared even to censure; and it was said by the people that Byng was shot for not doing enough, and Mordaunt acquitted for doing nothing at all.One important result of this terrible distress was to force on emigration to a large extent, and thus to people the American States. Emigration at that time was without any guidance, and the result was a vast amount of disappointment and suffering among the emigrants. Consequently, Mr. Wilmot Horton moved for a select committee to inquire into the expediency of encouraging emigration from the United Kingdom. The committee was appointed, and presented its report and evidence before the dissolution of Parliament, with a recommendation that the subject should be pursued without loss of time.详情
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