HEROISM OF THE MAID OF SARAGOSSA. (See p. 556.)In Ireland the effervescence assumed the shape of resistance to commercial injustice. It was, indeed, impossible to condemn too strongly the injustice which that country had endured for ages, and in nothing more than in the flagrant restrictions heaped upon its commerce and manufactures in favour of English interests. The Irish now seized on the opportunity while America was waging war against the very same treatment to imitate the American policy. They formed associations in Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, and other places, for the non-importation of British goods which could be manufactured in Ireland, till England and Ireland were placed on an equal footing in all that related to manufactures and commerce. Ministers, who had turned a deaf ear for years, and almost for ages, to such complaints, were now alarmed, especially as there was a rumour of French invasion, which might be so materially aided by disaffection in Ireland. They therefore made a pecuniary grant to relieve the commercial distress in Ireland, and passed two Acts for the encouragement of the growth of tobacco and hemp, and the manufacture of linen in that island. These concessions, however, were not deemed sufficient, and the people formed themselves into Volunteer Associations, appointing their own officers, and defraying the cost of their own equipments. This was done under the plea of the danger of invasion; but Government knew very well that American agents had been very busy sowing discontent in Ireland, and they saw too much resemblance in these things to the proceedings on the other side of the Atlantic not to view them with alarm. The Marquis of Rockingham, who had been well instructed in the real grievances of Ireland by Burke, moved in the House of Lords, on the 11th of May, for the production of all papers necessary to enable the House to come to a full understanding of the trade of Ireland and of mercantile restrictions on it with a view to doing impartial justice to that kingdom. Lord Gower promised that these should be ready for production next Session.Thus was another glorious chance for the utter dispersion of the American army thrown away by this most incompetent commander; and, as Washington saw that he had nothing to fear during the winter, except from the elements, he determined to encamp himself, so as to keep the British in constant anxiety about him. He selected a strong piece of ground at a place called Valley Forge, covered with wood. He set his soldiers to fell trees and make log-huts, the interstices of which they stopped with moss, and daubed up with clay. As they had plenty of fuel, they could thus pass the winter in some degree of comfort. A great number of his men were on the verge of the expiration of their term, and were impatient to return home; but he persuaded many to remain, and he employed them in throwing up entrenchments on the right of his camp, which was open towards the plain. His left was defended by the Schuylkill, and his rear by a steep precipice descending to the Valley Creek. He began two redoubts, but he soon saw that there was no fear of Howe moving so long as the winter lasted, and he left them unfinished. And thus the winter went over, Howe lying snugly at Philadelphia, enjoying his wine and his cards, and apparently forgetful that there was any such place as Valley Forge within five-and-twenty miles of him.
On the 9th of June a bulletin was published, which fixed public attention on the precarious state of the king's health. It announced that his Majesty had suffered for some time from an affection of the chest, which had produced considerable weakness. The burden of regal state, assumed at so late a period of life, seemed to have been too much for his strength, and to have caused too great a change in his habits. In the preceding month of April his eldest natural daughter, Lady De Lisle, died, and also the queen's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Meiningen. These events made a deep impression upon his mind, which acted upon his enfeebled constitution and aggravated the symptoms of his disease. From the 9th of June, when the first bulletin was issued, he grew daily worse; the circulation became more languid, and the general decay more apparent. On the 20th of June he expired, in the seventy-third year of his age, having reigned nearly seven years. His kindness of heart and simplicity of character, which had endeared him greatly to all classes of his subjects, caused him to be generally and sincerely lamented. In the House of Peers Lord Melbourne referred to his death as a loss which had deprived the nation of a monarch always anxious for the interest and welfare of his subjects; and added, "which has deprived me of a most generous master, and the world of a man—I would say one of the best of men—a monarch of the strictest integrity that it has ever pleased Divine Providence to place over these realms. The knowledge which he had acquired in the course of his professional education of the colonial service and of civil matters, was found by him exceedingly valuable, and he dealt with the details of practical business in the most familiar and most advantageous manner. A more fair or more just man I have never met with in my intercourse with the world. He gave the most patient attention, even when his own opinion was opposed to what was stated, being most willing to hear what could be urged in opposition to it. These were great and striking qualities in any man, but more striking in a monarch." The declaration doubtless came from the heart, and was the more creditable, because the king's opposition to the Ministry had been most pronounced. He looked upon the second Melbourne Cabinet as forced upon him, and, though he had regard for one or two of them—particularly Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston—he made no secret of his dislike to the whole, and never invited them to Windsor. We have already given an instance of one of his discreditable outbursts, and his conduct during his later years was in other respects eccentric in the extreme. Besides, his zeal for reform had long passed away; and he was in complete sympathy with the factious proceedings of the majority of the House of Lords when each Ministerial measure was proposed—for instance, the Church Rates Bill he met with a long and ably argued list of objections which it required all Lord Melbourne's tact and firmness to overcome. But, with all his oddities and faults, William IV. was a thoroughly honourable man, and his opposition to his Ministers entirely aboveboard.
But Harley and St. John had deprived the nation of its triumph, and left the way open to fresh insults and humiliations. No sooner did Villars see the English forces withdrawn from the Allies, than he seized the opportunity to snatch fresh advantages for France, and thus make all their demands on the Allies certain. He crossed the Scheldt on the 24th of July, and, with an overwhelming force, attacked the Earl of Albemarle, who commanded a division of the Allied army at Denain. Eugene, who, from the reduction of Quesnoy, had proceeded to lay siege to Landrey, instantly hastened to the support of Albemarle; but, to his grief, found himself, when in sight of him, cut off from rendering him any assistance by the breaking down of the bridge over the Scheldt; and he had the pain to see Albemarle beaten under his very eyes. Seventeen battalions of Albemarle's force were killed or taken. He himself and all the surviving officers were made prisoners. Five hundred wagons loaded with bread, twelve pieces of brass cannon, a large quantity of ammunition and provisions, horses and baggage, fell into the hands of the French. Villars then marched on to Marchiennes, where the stores of the Allies were deposited, and took it on the 31st of July, the garrison of five thousand being sent to Valenciennes prisoners. He next advanced to Douay, where Eugene would have given him battle, but was forbidden to do so by the States, and thus Douay fell into Villars' hands. Then came the fall of Quesnoy and Bouchain, which had cost Marlborough and Eugene so much to win.The Government of England saw the necessity of coming to some conclusion on the subject of Irish commerce, which should remove the distress, and, as a consequence, the disorder. The Irish Government, at the instigation of the English Administration, sent over Commissioners to consult with the Board of Trade in London, and certain terms being agreed upon, these were introduced by Mr. Orde, the Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, to the Irish House of Commons, on the 7th of February. These were, that all articles not of the growth of Great Britain or Ireland should be imported into each country from the other, under the same regulations and duties as were imposed on direct importation, and with the same drawbacks; that all prohibitions in either country against the importation of articles grown, produced, or manufactured in the other should be rescinded, and the duties equalised. There were some other resolutions relating to internal taxation, to facilitate the corn trade, and some details in foreign and international commerce. These, after some debate, were passed on the 11th, and, being agreed to by the Lords, were transmitted to England.Nicholas Hawksmoor, a pupil of Wren's, and an assistant of Vanbrugh's in building Castle Howard and Blenheim House, was the architect of St. George's-in-the-East, Ratcliff Highway, begun in 1715; of St. Mary Woolnoth, Lombard Street; of St. George's, Bloomsbury; St. Anne's, Limehouse; of Easton Norton House, in Northamptonshire; and of some other works, including a mausoleum at Castle Howard, and repairs of the west front of Westminster Abbey. St. George's, Bloomsbury, is perhaps his finest structure. It has a Corinthian portico, like St. Martin's, and the steeple is surmounted by a statue of George II.
Joseph H. Blake, created Lord Wallscourt.The court then adjourned to the 15th of April. The case of the Begums was opened by Mr. Adams, and concluded the next day by Mr. Pelham. Then sixteen days were occupied by the evidence, and at length, on the 3rd of June, Sheridan began to sum up the evidence, and, in a speech which lasted three days, he kept the court in the highest state of excitement. The place was crowded to suffocation during the whole time, and as much as fifty guineas is said to have been paid for a single seat. Greatly as this speech of Sheridan's was admired, it was felt to be too ornate and dramatic: there was not the deep and genuine feeling of Burke in it, and the effect was so evidently studied, that, on concluding, Sheridan fell back into the arms of Burke, as if overcome by his own sensations. The prorogation of Parliament was now at hand, and only two out of the twenty charges had been gone through: neither of them had yet been replied to, and yet other causes of engrossing interest arising, the trial was entirely suspended till the 20th of April of the following year! Then it was taken up languidly and at uncertain intervals, and rapidly became a mere exhibition of rhetoric. Further, Burke's unlawyer-like style and intemperance of language drew upon him the censure of the Lord Chancellor, and even of the House of Commons. A revulsion of public feeling took place, and was seen in the acquittal of Stockdale who was tried for libelling the promoters of the trial. Three years afterwards Burke himself renounced sixteen of his charges, and all popular interest in the trial gradually disappeared.
The Budget was brought forward on the 13th of February. It proposed to continue the income tax, which experience had shown to afford a means of supplying the place of taxes repealed, until such time as the revenue should recover itself. The Minister then unfolded his scheme, which formed no unworthy complement to his great Budget of 1842. It proposed a reduction in the sugar duties, which could not be calculated at less than ￡1,300,000, and was expected to lower the price to the consumer by about 1-1/4d. a pound. The Minister then proceeded to refer to a list of articles, 430 in number, which yielded but trifling amounts of revenue, and many of which were raw materials used in the various manufactures of the country, including silk, hemp, flax, and yarn or thread (except worsted yarn), all woods used in cabinet-making, animal and vegetable oils, iron and zinc in the first stages, ores and minerals (except copper ore, to which the last Act was still to apply), dye stuffs of all kinds, and all drugs, with very few exceptions; on the whole of these articles he proposed to repeal the duties altogether, not even leaving a nominal rate for registration, but retaining the power of examination. The timber duties generally he proposed to continue as they were, with the one exception of staves, which, as the raw material of the extensive manufacture of casks, he proposed to include with the 430 articles, and to take off the duty altogether. On these articles the loss amounted to ￡320,000. The next and most important relief in the whole proposition was the article of cotton wool, on which the Minister proposed also to reduce the duty altogether, and on which he estimated the loss at ￡680,000; and these constituted the whole of the proposed reductions of the import duties—that is, sugar, cotton wool, and the numerous small articles in the tariff. The next items of reduction proposed were the few remaining duties on our exports, such as china-stone, and other trifling things, but including the most important article of coals, on which the duty had been placed by the Government, and at the result of which Sir Robert Peel candidly avowed his disappointment. The duties he estimated at ￡118,000. He then passed on to the excise duties, among which he had selected two items of great importance for entire repeal—the auction duty and the glass duties. By a repeal of the auction duty he estimated a loss of ￡300,000; but as he proposed, at the same time, to increase the auctioneer's licence uniformly from ￡5 to ￡15 (making one licence answer for all purposes, whereas, at that time, several licences were often necessary to the same party) he expected from 4,000 auctioneers an increased income, so as to reduce this loss to ￡250,000. On the important article of glass he gave up ￡642,000. These constituted the whole of his proposals; and the surplus of ￡2,409,000 was thus proposed to be disposed of:—Estimated loss on sugar, ￡1,300,000; duty on cotton repealed, ￡680,000; ditto on 430 articles in tariff, ￡320,000; export duty on coal, ￡118,000; auction duty, ￡250,000; glass, ￡642,000. Total, ￡3,310,000.The troops of the Convention were equally successful against Lyons. It was speedily invested by numerous troops, under the command of Dubois-Crancé, one of the Commissioners of the Convention. On the 21st of August he summoned the place to surrender, but the Lyonese held out till the 2nd of October, when Couthon, one of the most ruthless of the Jacobin deputies, arrived, with twenty-eight thousand armed peasants, from Auvergne. He demanded that the city should be instantly bombarded, and, if necessary, reduced to ruins. Dubois-Crancé said there was no need for this merciless alternative, as the place must very soon yield from famine. Couthon thereupon obtained an order from the Convention to supersede Dubois-Crancé, as devoid of proper Republican zeal; and on the 7th of October commenced a terrible bombardment. The inhabitants came to a parley with Couthon, and agreed to surrender without conditions. Couthon immediately appointed a committee to try all rebels, and he sent his opinion of the population at large to the Convention, describing the people as of three kinds—the wicked rich, the proud rich, and the ignorant poor, who were too stupid to be good Republicans. He proposed to guillotine the first class, to seize the property of the second, and to remove the last into different quarters of France. The Convention adopted his views cordially, and passed a decree that Lyons should be destroyed; that nothing should be left but the houses of the poor, the manufactories, the hospitals, the school of arts, the public schools, and public monuments; that the name of Lyons should be buried for ever, and that on its ruins should be erected a monument bearing this inscription:—"Lyons made war against liberty: Lyons is no more!" The name of the spot ever afterwards was to be the Liberated Commune. The massacres were carried out by Collot d'Herbois.
When, therefore, Lord Wellington pondered over matters in Madrid, he looked in vain for anything like a regular Spanish army, after all the lessons which had been given to them. The army of Galicia, commanded by Santocildes, considered the best Spanish force, had been defeated by Clausel, himself in the act of escaping from Wellington. Ballasteros had a certain force under him, but his pride would not allow him to co-operate with Lord Wellington, and he was soon afterwards dismissed by the Cortes from his command. O'Donnel had had an army in Murcia, but he, imagining that he could cope with the veteran troops of Suchet, had been most utterly routed, his men flinging away ten thousand muskets as they fled. Moreover, Wellington had been greatly disappointed in his hopes of a reinforcement from Sicily. He had urged on Ministers the great aid which an efficient detachment from the army maintained by us in Sicily might render by landing on the eastern coast of Spain, and clearing the French out of Catalonia, Valencia, and Murcia. This could now be readily complied with, because there was no longer any danger of invasion of Sicily from Naples, Murat being called away to assist in Buonaparte's campaign in Russia. But the plan found an unexpected opponent in our Commander-in-Chief in Sicily, Lord William Bentinck. Lord William at first appeared to coincide in the scheme, but soon changed his mind, having conceived an idea of making a descent on the continent of Italy during Murat's absence. Lord Wellington wrote earnestly to him, showing him that Suchet and Soult must be expelled from the south of Spain, which could be easily effected by a strong force under British command landing in the south-east and co-operating with him from the north, or he must himself again retire to Portugal, being exposed to superior forces from both north and south. The expedition was at length sent, under General Maitland, but such a force as was utterly useless. It did not exceed six thousand men; and such men! They were chiefly a rabble of Sicilian and other foreign vagabonds, who had been induced to enlist, and were, for the most part, undisciplined.A number of satires and other poems appeared at this time which deserve only a mere mention. These are "The Pursuits of Literature," by Thomas James Mathias; "Anticipation," by Richard Tickell, being an anticipation of the king's Speech, and the debates of Parliament; "An Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers," by Mason, under the assumed name of Malcolm Macgregor; "The Rolliad," also a political satire, in 1785. To this succeeded "Probationary Odes," from the same party. These were eclipsed by the publications of Dr. John Wolcot, under the name of Peter Pindar, who for twenty years kept the public laughing by his witty and reckless effusions, in which the king especially was most unmercifully ridiculed. Wolcot had the merit of discovering Opie, the painter, as a sawyer in the neighbourhood of Truro, and pushing him forward by his praises. Of the Royal Academicians he was a relentless enemy, and to them addressed several odes, of the most caustic and damaging kind. Later on came the inimitable poems of the "Anti-Jacobin," written by Canning, Hookham Frere, and others, among which it is sufficient to recall the "Needy Knife-grinder," and the satires on the Addington Administration. But now there came a voice from Scotland that filled with envy the crowd of second-rate poets of London, and marked the dawn of a new era. A simple but sturdy peasant—with no education but such as is extended to every child in every rural parish of Scotland; "following the plough along the mountain side," laboriously sowing and reaping and foddering neat; instead of haunting drawing-rooms in bob-tailed coat and kid gloves, dancing on the barn-floor, or hob-nobbing with his rustic chums at the next pot-house—set up a song of youth, of passion, of liberty and equality, so clear, so sonorous, so ringing with the clarion tones of genius and truth, that all Britain, north and south, stood still in wonder, and the most brazen vendor of empty words and impudent pretensions to intellectual power owned the voice of the master, and was for a moment still. This master of song was Robert Burns (b. 1759; d. 1796). Need we say more? Need we speak of the exquisite beauty of the "Cotter's Saturday Night"?—of the fun of "Tam o' Shanter"?—of the satiric drollery of his laughter at antiquarian and other pretenders?—of the scathing sarcasms on sectarian cant in "Holy Willie's Prayer," and a dozen other things?—of the spirit of love and the spirit of liberty welling up in his heart in a hundred living songs?—of the law of man's independence and dignity stamped on the page of eternal memory in the few words—"A man's a man for a' that"? Are not these things written in the book of human consciousness, all the world over? Do not his fellow-countrymen sing them and shout them in every climate under heaven? At the time when they appeared the poems of Robert Burns clearly showed that true poetry was not altogether extinct, and effectually put an end to that fatal rage of imitation of the artificial school of Johnson and Pope which then prevailed.详情
Copyright © 2020