Amongst those who hailed enthusiastically the French Revolution, and gave credit to its promises of benefit to humanity, were a considerable number of the Dissenting body, and especially of the Unitarian class. Amongst these, Drs. Price, Priestley, Kippis, and Towers were most prominent. Dr. Price—who furnished Pitt with the theory of the Sinking Fund, and with other propositions of reform,—on the breaking out of the French Revolution was one of the first to respond to it with acclamation. He was a member of the Revolution Society, and in 1789 he preached before it a sermon on "The Love of our Country," and in this drew so beautiful a picture of the coming happiness of man from the French Revolution, that he declared that he was ready to exclaim with Simeon, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." At the dinner on the same occasion he moved that a congratulatory address be sent to the National Assembly on that glorious event, which was seconded by Lord Stanhope the chairman, and which was sent, and received with great acclamation by the National Assembly. Burke, in his "Reflections on the French Revolution," was very severe on Price, as well as on his coadjutors; and as Price died this year it was said that the "Reflections" had killed him, which, were it true, could not be said to have done it very prematurely, for the doctor was in his seventieth year.
In Massachusetts the colonists were more exasperated against Governor Bernard, on account of his letters reflecting on the Bostonians in the matter of the late riots, these letters having been laid before Parliament, and copies of them by some means procured and sent on by their agents. They declared that it was beneath their dignity to deliberate in the midst of an armed force, and requested Bernard to withdraw the troops, but he refused; and they, on their part, declined to vote supplies, on which he adjourned them to Cambridge. There, however, as Cambridge was only separated from Boston by an arm of the sea, they continued to protest against an armed force, as an invasion of the national rights of the colonists, and highly dangerous. Bernard soon announced to them his intention to sail for England, to lay the state of the colony before the king, and the house immediately voted a petition to his Majesty, praying him to keep him from coming back again. Bernard then called upon them to refund the money expended for the quartering of the troops; but that they pronounced quite as unreasonable as the Stamp Act, and finding them utterly intractable, Bernard prorogued the Assembly, and quitted the colony, leaving the administration in the hands of Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson.
We have no place of rest."By the firmness of the Allies a peace which continued twelve years was given to Europe, and the storm which Alberoni had so fondly expected out of the North was as completely dissipated. The new Queen of Sweden had consented to yield absolutely to George I., as King of Hanover, the disputed possession of Bremen and Verden. Poland was induced to acknowledge Augustus of Saxony as king, and Prussia to be satisfied with the acquisition of Stettin and some other Swedish territory. But the Czar and the King of Denmark, seeing Sweden deprived of its military monarch, and exhausted by his wild campaigns, contemplated the actual dismemberment of Sweden. The Queen of Sweden threw herself for protection on the good offices of the King of England, and both England and France agreed to compel the Czar and the King of Denmark to desist from their attacks on Sweden if they would not listen to friendly mediation. Lord Carteret, a promising young statesman, was sent as ambassador to Stockholm, and Sir John Norris, with eleven sail of the line, was ordered to the Baltic. Russia and Denmark, however, continued to disregard the pacific overtures of England, trusting to there being no war with that Power. They ravaged the whole coast of Sweden, burning above a thousand villages, and the town of Nyk?ping, the third place in the kingdom. Seeing this, Lord Stanhope, who was still at Hanover with the king, sent orders to Admiral Norris to pay no regard to the fact of there being no declaration of war, but to treat the Russian and Danish fleet as Byng had treated the Spanish one. Norris accordingly joined his squadron to the Swedish fleet at Carlscrona, and went in pursuit of the fleet of the Czar. Peter, seeing that the English were now in earnest, recalled his fleet with precipitation, and thereby, no doubt, saved it from complete destruction; but he still continued to refuse to make peace, and determined on the first opportunity to have a further slice of Swedish territory. Denmark, which was extremely poor, agreed to accept a sum of money in lieu of Marstrand, which it had seized; and thus all Europe, except the Czar, was brought to a condition of peace.
At the Congress, which began in June, William Stanhope, Horace Walpole, and Poyntz represented England. At Paris Lord Waldegrave supplied the place of Horace Walpole; and at the Hague the Earl of Chesterfield ably managed the national interests. At the Congress there was a frequent exchange of memorials and counter-memorials, but no real business was done. The only things which grew apparent were that France and Spain were becoming more reconciled, and that the league between Spain and the Emperor was fast dissolving.The confederates endeavoured to keep their plans profoundly secret till they were ready to burst at once on the devoted King of Prussia; but Frederick was the last man alive to be taken by surprise. The secret was soon betrayed to him, and, at once waiving his dislike of the King of England, he concluded a convention with him in January, 1756, and bound himself, during the disturbances in America, not to allow any foreign troops to pass through any part of Germany to those colonies, where he could prevent it. Having his treasury well supplied, he put his army in order, and in August of that year sent a peremptory demand to Vienna as to the designs of Austria, stating, at the same time, that he would not accept any evasive reply; but the reply being evasive, he at once rushed into Saxony at the head of sixty thousand men, blockaded the King of Saxony in Pirna, and secured the queen in Dresden. By this decisive action Frederick commenced what the Germans style "The Seven Years' War." In the palace of Dresden Frederick made himself master of the secret correspondence and treaties with France, Russia, and Austria, detailing all their designs, which he immediately published, and thus fully justified his proceedings to the world.
George had much difficulty in restraining his indignation, but he kept it down, and only bowed the duke silently out of his presence. No sooner had he departed than he flew to Cumberland, and declared he would bear this no longer. Again overtures were made to Pitt, again Pitt expressed himself willing to take office, but again declined, because Temple still refused. Foiled in these attempts to engage Pitt, and equally foiled in an endeavour to engage some of the heads of the leading Whig houses, who would enter no administration without Pitt, a heterogeneous cabinet was at length cobbled up, through the management of the old Duke of Newcastle, who was hankering after office. The Marquis of Rockingham was put forward as First Lord of the Treasury and Premier. Grafton and Conway were to be Secretaries of State; and the latter, lately dismissed with ignominy from the army, was to lead the Commons. The Earl of Northington was made Chancellor, the old Duke of Newcastle Privy Seal; another old and almost superannuated nobleman, Lord Winchelsea, President of the Council. Charles Townshend retained his post of Paymaster of the Forces. Such materials, it was clear, could never long hold together. "It is a mere lute-string administration," said Townshend himself; "it is pretty summer wear, but it will never stand the winter!"[See larger version]详情
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