[See larger version]During these transactions there was naturally an earnestly-inquiring eye kept open towards Hanover, whence the king appeared in no hurry to issue forth and assume the throne of these three fair kingdoms. The coolness with which George of Hanover appeared to contemplate the splendid prize which had fallen to him, seemed to the English little less than unnatural. Thrones and crowns are generally seized upon with avidity; but the new king seemed to feel more regret in quitting his petty Electorate than eagerness to enter on his splendid kingdom. But George was a man of phlegmatic disposition, and of the most exact habits, and went through his duties like an automaton or a piece of machinery. He took, therefore, much time in settling his affairs in Hanover before he turned his face towards England, and it was not till the 18th of September, or nearly seven weeks after the decease of the late queen, that he landed at Greenwich with his son George. "His views and affections were," as Lord Chesterfield properly observed, "singly confined to the narrow compass of his Electorate. England was too big for him."
The Parliamentary Session for 1845 was opened by the Queen in person on the 4th of February. At a meeting a few days earlier, Mr. Cobden had warned his hearers that no change in the Corn Laws could be expected from Sir Robert Peel so long as the Ministry could avail themselves of the old excuse, the revived prosperity of manufactures and commerce. "Ours," he had said, "is a very simple proposition. We say to the right honourable baronet, 'Abolish the monopolies which go to enrich that majority which placed you in power and keeps you there.' We know he will not attempt it; but we are quite certain he will make great professions of being a Free Trader, notwithstanding."There was still a fair chance for the Austrians—Britain had furnished them with money—and two fresh armies were descending from the hills. One of these, amounting to thirty thousand, was led by a brave officer, General Alvinzi; the other of twenty thousand, under Davidowich, was marching from the Tyrol to meet Alvinzi near Verona, who was coming from Carinthia by Belluno. Buonaparte did not allow them to meet. He attacked Alvinzi on the 6th of November, and met with a terrible repulse. A detachment of French under Vaubois had been dispatched to impede the march of Davidowich, but was also in retreat. Buonaparte again attacked Alvinzi near Verona, and again was repulsed. Had the Austrians united their two new armies before entering Italy, or had Wurmser marched from Mantua to support Alvinzi, the French must have been utterly annihilated. As it was, Napoleon was dreadfully disheartened, and wrote a despairing letter to the Directory, saying his best officers were killed, and his men exhausted from fighting and severe marches. But his pride and dogged pertinacity came to his aid. He made a rapid march and got into the rear of Alvinzi, but found himself stopped by a narrow bridge over the Alpone at Arcole. The country on each side was a marsh, and the only approach to the bridge was by long narrow causeways. As the French advanced along the causeway on their side to storm the bridge, they were swept down by hundreds by the Austrian cannon. Time after time, Buonaparte drove his columns along the causeway, but only to see them mown down by grape shot. His men fled into the very marshes to save themselves, and he himself was thrown from his horse into the marsh, and had to be dragged from the mire. Bodies of Hungarians and Croats made a final sally along the causeway, cutting down all before them, and it was marvellous that he escaped them. By this time Alvinzi had brought up his main body to the neighbourhood of the bridge, and the battle raged obstinately there for three days. Seeing it impossible to carry the bridge against that solid mass of troops, Buonaparte dispatched General Guyeuse to cross the Adige at the ferry of Albaredo, below the confluence of the Alpone, and take Alvinzi in flank. Guyeuse succeeded in crossing, but was repulsed on the other side by the Austrians. Buonaparte again, on the 16th, made one more desperate rush at the bridge, but only to receive another bloody defeat. The next day he threw a bridge over the Alpone, just above its confluence with the Adige, and sent over Augereau with a powerful force, whilst he again assailed the bridge from his side. These combined operations succeeded. Alvinzi was compelled to retreat to Vicenza and Bassano. Scarcely had he given way, when Davidowich, who ought to have joined him long before, came down the right bank of the stream. He now came only to experience a severe defeat, whereas his timely arrival might have insured a complete victory. He again had recourse to the security of the hills. The belligerents then went into winter quarters, leaving the French victorious.
As to the silk and wool trades, in the ten years preceding 1824 the quantity of raw and thrown silk used by our manufacturers was on an average of 1,882,311 lbs. per annum. In the ten succeeding years the average was nearly double, viz. 95 per cent. higher; and in the sixteen years which ended in 1849 there was an increase of 120 per cent. over the quantity used under the restrictive system. According to the report of the inspectors of factories, there were, in 1835, 231 silk factories in England, six in Scotland, and one in Ireland. The total number of females thus employed was over 20,000, and the total number of both sexes was about 31,000. The total number of woollen and worsted factories at work in 1835 was returned by the inspectors of factories as being 1,313, showing an increase of ten per cent. in four years. The total number of persons employed in them in 1835 was 71,274, on which there was an increase of twenty per cent. up to 1839. There was a general depression in the price of British wool, in consequence of which a Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to inquire into the causes. From the evidence which they received, it appeared that the actual number of sheep in England and Wales had increased one-fifth since the year 1800, when it was 19,000,000, yielding about 95,000,000 lbs. of wool, or about five pounds for each fleet. It was estimated that the quantity used for manufacturing purposes increased during the first half of the nineteenth century by 115 per cent. Yorkshire is the chief seat of the woollen manufacture, and the best proof of its progress, perhaps, is presented in the state of the population, which in the whole of the West Riding increased during the first forty years of the century at the rate of 104 per cent. At the census of 1801 it was 563,953, while the census of 1841 showed it to be 1,154,101.In the south-east of Spain the motley army of British and Sicilians had done sufficient to keep the attention of Suchet engaged, so that he could not quit that post to follow and assist Soult against the main British army. Lord Wellington had instructed Sir George Murray to embark his troops at Alicante, and, sailing to Tarragona, endeavour to make himself master of it; if he found the French too strong in that quarter to enable him to effect his purpose, he was to re-embark, return to Valencia, and then attack the French lines on the Xucar before Suchet could make the long march which would be necessary to support them. Murray had had his army weakened by the withdrawal of two thousand troops by Lord William Bentinck, very unnecessarily, to Sicily; but he undertook these man?uvres, and might have succeeded in capturing Tarragona, but, alarmed at a rumour of Suchet and General Mathieu having combined their forces, and being in march against him, he abandoned the place panic-stricken, and, in spite of the indignant remonstrances of Admiral Hallowell, embarked his troops in the utmost precipitation. Lord William Bentinck arrived on the 17th of June, immediately after the embarkation, but not in time to save nineteen pieces of artillery, which Murray had abandoned in the trenches. Lord Bentinck battered down Fort Balaguer, and then sailed away to Alicante, leaving the Spanish general exposed to the enemy, but he saved himself by escaping into the mountains. For this conduct, Sir George Murray on his return to England was tried by court-martial, and gently reprimanded, but nothing more.
The news of the approach of the French succours was brought by Lafayette, who, much to the joy of Washington, and of America generally, again reached the States, landing at Boston in April. He announced that the fleet, commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay, consisted of seven sail of the line, with numerous smaller vessels, and brought over six thousand troops, under the Comte de Rochambeau. The French squadron reached Rhode Island on the 13th of July. Washington thereupon declared himself ready for an attack on New York; but Rochambeau replied that it would be better to wait for the expected and much larger fleet of De Guichen. Before De Guichen appeared, the English admiral, Graves, arrived, with six ships of war, thus increasing the English superiority at sea, and De Ternay found himself blockaded in the harbour of Newport, and Rochambeau was glad to entrench himself on Rhode Island, and abandon all idea of attacking New York. Sir Henry Clinton, on his part, planned an attack on Rochambeau with the army, while the French fleet blockaded in Newport harbour should be attacked by Admiral Arbuthnot. But Clinton and Arbuthnot were at variance, and the admiral did not promptly and cordially second the views of Clinton. He went slowly round Long Island, to place himself in conjunction with the general; whilst Clinton embarked eight thousand troops, and approached the position of Rochambeau. But Arbuthnot strongly contended against the attempt, declaring Rochambeau too formidably fortified, and Washington, at the same time, advancing from his position with a large force, suddenly passed the North River and approached King's Bridge, as if meditating an attack on New York. These circumstances induced Clinton reluctantly to return to New York. Washington retreated to his old ground at Morristown, and Arbuthnot remained blockading De Ternay before Newport. Neither party, therefore, could do more than be still for the remainder of the season. Clinton was completely crippled for any decisive action by the miserable modicum of troops which the English Government had furnished him, and the enemy now knew that the fleet of De Guichen was not likely to arrive this season.In the early portion of the reign the manners and customs differed little from those described in the preceding one. There was great dissipation, and even coarseness of manners, amongst the nobility and gentry. It was the custom to drink to intoxication at dinners, and swearing still garnished the language of the wealthy as well as of the low. Balls, routs, the opera, the theatre, with Vauxhall and Ranelagh, filled up the time of the fashionable, and gaming was carried to an extraordinary extent. Amongst our leading statesmen Charles Fox was famous for this habit. Duelling was equally common, and infidelity amongst fashionable people was of notorious prevalence. George III. and his queen did what they could to discourage this looseness of morals, and to set a different example; but the decorum of the Court was long in passing into the wealthy classes around it. An affluent middle class was fast mingling with the old nobility, and this brought some degree of sobriety and public decency with it. Amongst the lower classes dog-, cock-, and bull-fights were, during a great part of the reign, the chief amusements, and the rudest manners continued to prevail, because there was next to no education. Wesley, Whitefield, and their followers, were the first to break into this condition of heathenism. Robberies and murders abounded both in town and country, and the police was of a very defective character. For the most part there was none but the parish constable. The novels of Fielding and Smollett are pictures of the rudeness and profligacy of these times. The resources in the country of books and newspapers were few, and the pot-house supplied the necessary excitement. The clergy were of a very low tone, or were non-resident, and the farmers, getting rich, aped the gentlemen, followed the hounds, and ended the day with a carouse.[See larger version]
Caulaincourt, who had been sent by Buonaparte from Fontainebleau to the Allied sovereigns to treat on his behalf, returned, and informed Buonaparte of all these events. He declared that he would march on Paris; and the next day, the 4th of April, he reviewed his troops, and told them that some vile persons had insulted the tricolour cockade in Paris, and they would march there at once and punish them. The soldiers shouted, "Paris, Paris!" but, after the review, the marshals produced the Moniteur, told him what had taken place, and that it was necessary that he should submit. He appeared greatly agitated, and asked them what they wished. Lefebvre said, bluntly, that he had been advised by his best friends to make peace in time, when he would have saved everything; there was nothing for it now but to abdicate. Napoleon then called for a pen, and abdicated in favour of his son. Caulaincourt and Ney were to carry this to the Allied sovereigns. They inquired what terms they should ask for himself. He replied—"None: I ask nothing." Yet, the moment the commissioners were gone, he started up and vowed that he would fight with Marmont's corps and the Guards, and would be in Paris on the morrow.
The 20th of November arrived; the two Houses met, and Lord Camden in the Peers, and Pitt in the Commons, were obliged to announce the incapacity of the king to open the Session, and to move for an adjournment till the 4th of December, in order that the necessary measures for transferring the royal authority, temporarily, might be taken. Fox, at this important crisis, was abroad, and had to hurry home with headlong speed, in order to join his party in their anxious deliberations preparatory to the great question of the regency. In the meantime, the king's physicians had been examined before the Privy Council, and had given their opinion that the royal malady would prove only temporary. This in particular was the opinion of Dr. Willis, a specialist who had the chief management of the case, and whose mild treatment, in contrast to the violent means previously employed, had already produced a marked improvement. From this moment Pitt appears to have taken his decision—namely, to carry matters with a high hand, and to admit the Prince of Wales as regent only under such restrictions as should prevent him from either exercising much power himself, or conferring much benefit on his adherents. When, therefore, Parliament met, after the adjournment, and that in great strength—for men of all parties had hurried up to town,—Lord Camden moved in the Lords, and Pitt in the Commons, that, in consequence of the king's malady, the minutes of the Privy Council containing the opinions of the royal physicians should be read, and that this being done, these opinions should be taken into consideration on the 8th of December.
[See larger version]
THE MUTINY AT SPITHEAD: HAULING DOWN THE RED FLAG ON THE "ROYAL GEORGE." (See p. 456.)Lord Advocate Jeffrey, who had introduced the Scottish Reform Bill as early as the 19th of January, moved the second reading on the 21st of May. He had, in the previous Session, proceeded on the principle that the old system was to be regarded as utterly incurable, and not to be patched or mended, but abandoned and destroyed. They could not decimate its abuses, or cut off its vicious excesses; its essence was abuse, and there was nothing that was not vicious about it. He gloried in the avowal that no shred, or jot, or tittle of the old abomination should remain. Indeed, it is a matter of astonishment that the Scottish people could have so long borne a state of things so humiliating to a nation which originally formed a kingdom by itself, which still retained its own laws, religion, interests, feelings, and language; which was full of generally diffused wealth; in which education had for ages been extended throughout the very lowest ranks; and whose people were peaceable, steady, and provident, possessing all the qualities requisite for a safe exercise of the franchise. The Scots had literally no share whatever in the representation of the Imperial Parliament. The qualification for a voter in Parliament was at least thirty or forty times higher than in any other part of the empire, and above a hundred times beyond the general qualification in England. Consequently a vote became a dear article in the Scottish market. Some persons bought votes as a good investment. The average price was about ￡500, but it frequently rose to double that sum. Shortly before the passing of the Reform Bill six Scottish votes were exposed for sale in one day, and brought ￡6,000. The electors were, therefore, cut off from the rest of the public, and set aside to exercise a high and invidious privilege, which they regarded not as a trust for the people, but as a privilege to be prized for its pecuniary value or for its influence in procuring Government situations.
But whilst these conflicts were taking place, the Revolution was marching on at full speed, and had reached its height—the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress, on the 15th of May, passed a resolution that it was necessary for such of the States as had not framed for themselves such constitutions as were required by the altered circumstances of the country, to forthwith frame such as should be conducive to their safety and welfare. This was published in all the newspapers, accompanied by a statement that, as the King of England, in concurrence with his Parliament, had excluded the people of those colonies from his protection, it became indispensable to abolish the constitution established by that power, and frame one for themselves. Here was a plain declaration; there was no longer any mistake.As a rumour of the approaching visit of Lord Howe had reached the Spanish camp, all was in haste to anticipate his arrival, and take the huge fortress before he could succour it. Accordingly the great united fleet of Spain and France, which so lately had paraded in the English Channel, sailed into Algeciras Bay, and on the 13th of September the floating batteries were hauled out by a number of the ships, and anchored at regular distances, within six hundred yards of the English works. Whilst this extraordinary armada was approaching and disposing itself, tremendous fire was kept up from the land, with three hundred long guns and mortars, to divert the attention of the garrison; but old General Elliot was ready with his red-hot balls, and, the moment the floating batteries came within gunshot distance, he poured into them a most destructive fire-hail. The Spaniards, notwithstanding, placed and secured their monster machines in a very short time, and then four hundred cannon from land and sea played on the old rock simultaneously and incessantly. For some time the hot balls appeared to do no damage. The timbers, being of green wood, closed up after the balls, and so prevented their immediate ignition. In other cases, where smoke appeared, the water-engines dashed in deluges, and extinguished the nascent fire. But presently the fire from the batteries slackened; it was discovered that the balls—which had many of them pierced into the timbers three feet deep—were doing their work. The floating battery commanded by the Prince of Nassau, on board of which was also the engineer, D'Arcon, himself, was found smoking on the side facing the rock, at two o'clock in the day. No water could reach the seat of mischief, and by seven o'clock it had become so extensive as to cause the firing to cease, and to turn the thoughts of all to endeavours for escape. Rockets were thrown up as signals for the vessels to come up and take off the crews. But this was found impracticable. The garrison actually rained deluges of fire, and all approach to the monster machines was cut off. No vessel could draw near, except at the penalty of instant destruction. For four more hours the vaunted floating batteries remained exposed to the pitiless pelting of the garrison. Before midnight, the Talla Piedra, the greatest of the monster machines, and the flagship, Pastora, at her side, were in full flame, and by their light the indefatigable Elliot could see, with the more precision, to point his guns. Seven of the ten floating machines were now on fire; the guns aboard them had entirely ceased, and those on land, as if struck with wonder and despair, had become silent too.详情
Copyright © 2020