This contest excited universal interest. Mr. O'Connell, the Roman Catholic candidate, was not unknown in England. He had come to London as the leading member of a deputation to urge the concession of Catholic Emancipation upon the Government and the legislature, when he met a number of the leading statesmen of the day at the house of the Duke of Norfolk. He had been examined by a committee of the Lords, together with Dr. Doyle, in 1825, on which occasion the ability he displayed, his extensive and accurate knowledge, his quickness in answering, and the clearness with which he conveyed information, excited the admiration of all parties. In the appeal case of Scully versus Scully he pleaded before Lord Eldon. It was the first time he had appeared in his forensic character in England. No sooner had he risen to address their lordships than it was buzzed about the precincts of Westminster, and persons of all descriptions crowded in with anxious curiosity to witness the display, including several peers and members of Parliament. He addressed their lordships for nearly two hours, during which the Lord Chancellor paid him great attention, though he had only thirty-three hours before carried the House of Lords with him in rejecting the Bill by which the great advocate would have been admitted to the full privileges of citizenship. Referring to this subject, Lord Eldon wrote in his diary, "Mr. O'Connell pleaded as a barrister before me in the House of Lords on Thursday. His demeanour was very proper, but he did not strike me as shining so much in argument as might be expected from a man who has made so much noise in his harangues in a seditious association." Lord Eldon's opinion was evidently tinged by the recollection of the "seditious harangues." It is a curious fact that the leading counsel on that occasion on the same side was Sir Charles Wetherell, then Solicitor-General. The English admired the rich tones of O'Connell's voice, his clear and distinct articulation, his legal ingenuity, and the readiness with which he adapted himself to the tribunal before which he pleaded. One of the best speeches he ever made was delivered at the great meeting of the British Catholic Association, the Duke of Norfolk presiding. He astonished his auditory on that occasion. In fact, he was regarded as a lion in London. He won golden opinions wherever he went by his blandness, vivacity, and wit in private, and his lofty bearing in public. His commanding figure, his massive chest, and his broad, good-humoured face, with thought and determination distinctly marked in his physiognomy, showed that he had the physique of a great leader of the masses, while he proved himself amongst his colleagues not more powerful in body than in mind and will. The confidence reposed in him in Ireland was unbounded. He was indeed the most remarkable of all the men who had ever advocated the Catholic claims; the only one of their great champions fit to be a popular leader. Curran and Grattan were feeble and attenuated in body, and laboured under physical deficiencies, if the impulsive genius of the one or the fastidious pride of the other would have permitted them to be demagogues; O'Connell had all the qualities necessary for that character in perfection—unflinching boldness, audacious assertion, restless motion, soaring ambition, untiring energy, exquisite tact, instinctive sagacity, a calculating, methodising mind, and a despotic will. He was by no means scrupulous in matters of veracity, and he was famous for his powers of vituperation; but, as he was accustomed to say himself, he was "the best abused man in Ireland."
"His Excellency the Marquis of[See larger version][See larger version]
Finding that there remained no other means of reinforcing his army, he drained the garrisons all over France, and drew what soldiers he could from Soult and Suchet in the south. He was busy daily drilling and reviewing, and nightly engaged in sending dispatches to urge on the provinces to send up their men. The Moniteur and other newspapers represented all France as flying to arms; but the truth was they looked with profound apathy on the progress of the Allies. These issued proclamation after proclamation, assuring the people that it was not against France that they made war, but solely against the man who would give no peace either to France or any of his neighbours; and the French had come to the conclusion that it was time that Buonaparte should be brought to submit to the dictation of force, as he was insensible to that of reason.These reverses were calculated to make France more compliant; yet Pitt was astonished to find, instead of compliance, a great spirit of resistance. Choiseul would by no means admit that Belleisle was an equivalent for Minorca. He demanded Guadeloupe and Belleisle too, simply in lieu of the French conquests in Germany. He now demurred to the surrender of Cape Breton, or in any case to forego the right of fishing along its coasts. He was not content with Amaboo or Acra; he demanded Senegal or Goree. He declined also to destroy the fortifications of Dunkirk, raised in contempt of the treaty of Utrecht. All captures made at sea previous to the declaration of war must be restored; and in Germany, though he was willing to withdraw the French troops, it was only on condition that the troops commanded by Prince Ferdinand should not reinforce the Prussian army.
The Houses of Parliament reassembled on the 17th of January, 1712, and Anne sent word that she was not able to attend in person, not having recovered sufficiently from her attack of the gout. She announced that the plenipotentiaries were now assembled at Utrecht, and were already engaged in endeavouring to procure just satisfaction to all the Allies according to their several treaties, and especially with relation to Spain and the Indies. This was a delusion, for, by our treaty with the Emperor, we had engaged to secure Spain and the Indies for his son; and it was now, notwithstanding the assurance in her message regarding them, fully determined to give them up to Philip. There was a strong protest in the message against the evil declarations that there had been an intention to make a separate peace, though nothing was more notorious than that the Ministers were resolved, if the Allies did not come to their terms, to go on without them. The message ended by recommending a measure for the restriction of the liberty of the press. Much alarm was expressed at the great licence in the publishing of false and scandalous libels, though the Ministers themselves did not scruple to employ the terrible pen of Swift.But the royal family put no faith in these professions; they resolved not to wait the arrival of the French, but to muster all the money and valuables that they could, and escape to their South American possessions. Whilst these preparations were being made in haste, the British traders collected their property and conveyed it on board British vessels. The inhabitants of the British factory, so long established in Lisbon, had quitted it on the 18th of October, amid the universal regret of the people. The ambassador, Lord Strangford, took down the British arms, and went on board the squadron of Sir Sidney Smith, lying in the Tagus. On the 27th of November the royal family, amid the cries and tears of the people, went on board their fleet, attended by a great number of Portuguese nobility; in all, about one thousand eight hundred Portuguese thus emigrating. The Prince Regent accompanied them, sensible that his presence could be of no service any longer. The fleet of the royal emigrants was still in the Tagus, under the safe protection of Sir Sidney Smith's men-of-war, when Junot and his footsore troops entered Lisbon, on the 1st of December. He was transported with rage when he saw their departing sails, for he had received the most imperative injunctions to secure the person of the Prince Regent, from whom Napoleon hoped to extort the cession of the Portuguese American colonies. Junot declared that the Prince Regent and royal family, having abandoned the country, had ceased to reign, and that the Emperor Napoleon willed that it should henceforth be governed, in his name, by the General-in-chief of his army. This proclamation of the 2nd of February set aside at once the conditions of the Treaty of Fontainebleau; the imaginary princedom of Godoy was no more heard of, and the kingdom erected for the King of Etruria remained a mere phantom at the will of Buonaparte. The property of the royal family, and of all who had followed them, was confiscated; a contribution of four million five hundred thousand pounds sterling was laid on a people of less than three millions, and as there was not specie enough to pay it, plate and every kind of movable property was seized in lieu of it, without much regard to excess of quantity. The officers became money-brokers and jobbers in this property, much of which was sent to Paris for sale, and the whole unhappy country was a scene of the most ruthless rapine and insult.
Such were the difficulties which Ministers had to contend with for commencing the war at sea. In one particular, however, there was more liberality; money was ungrudgingly voted; the land-tax was raised from two to four shillings in the pound, and the Sinking Fund was so freely resorted to, that the supplies altogether amounted to upwards of four millions. During these discussions, news came on the 13th of March, that on the 21st of November, 1739, Admiral Vernon had taken Porto Bello from the Spaniards. This was good news for the Opposition, for Vernon was one of their party, and a personal enemy of Walpole. There were great rejoicings and the Lords sent down an address of congratulation to the king, for the concurrence of the Commons. Yet in this they could not avoid making a party matter of it, the address stating that this glorious action had been performed with only six ships, and thus to mark the contrast with the doings of Admiral Hosier in those seas, and so to blacken his memory. The address was carried in a thin House, but only by thirty-six against thirty-one, so that along with the news went the comment to Vernon, that the Ministry begrudged him his glory. Parliament was prorogued on the 29th of April, 1740, and the king set off on his summer visit to Hanover.Meanwhile difficulties thickened daily about the king. His Cabinets resigned in rapid succession; there were no less than five of them between March and October; till at last he got a man of nerve for Prime Minister, in the person of Count von Brandenburg. The Ministry addressed a document to the king for the purpose of disclaiming on his behalf the desire to become German Emperor, stating that his assuming the German colours, and putting himself at the head of the movement for German unity, and proposing to summon a meeting of the Sovereigns and States did not justify the interpretation it had received; that it was not his intention to anticipate the unbiassed decision of the sovereign princes and the people of Germany by offering to undertake the temporary direction of German affairs. Thus the king was obliged to back quietly out of a position which he had rashly assumed. The United Diet acted as being itself only a temporary institution, having established the electoral law on the basis of universal suffrage in order to prepare the way for a constituent Assembly, by which means the revolutionary spirit penetrated to the very extremities of Prussian society.
Addresses were agreed to in both Houses without a division. The only discussion of interest that took place in connection with them referred to the dissolution, and the circumstances in which it occurred. The Opposition denounced it as an impolitic proceeding, bearing the appearance of a revolutionary coup d'état. They charged the Lord Chancellor with making a false statement, in alleging that the Commons had stopped the supplies, which, if true, was not the real cause of the dissolution, the Cabinet having previously resolved upon that measure. Some of the Ministers also, in their addresses to their constituencies—Sir James Graham, for example—conveyed the same injurious impression, stating that "the last division, which had the effect of delaying the supplies, left no alternative but that of abandoning the Bill or of appealing to the people." With this "factious" conduct the Tory candidates were taunted at the elections, and they complained that they suffered in consequence much unmerited odium. The Chancellor denied the imputation. Not only had the Ministers decided upon the measure of dissolution, but the requisite commission had been actually prepared; and Lord Brougham said, "Knowing this, I must have been the veriest dolt and idiot in the creation, if I had said what has been attributed to me. I stated a fact—that the dissolution being resolved upon, if there were wanting any justification for the step, the conduct of the House of Commons the night before furnished ample justification for that proceeding." But the truth is, the Opposition were smarting under the sense of defeat; they had been out-man?uvred by Lord Grey, and defeated by the use of their own tactics.At the end of the fortnight Lord Grenville and Lord Grey pointed out the necessity of proceeding to appoint a regent. Ministers replied that the physicians were confident of the king's speedy recovery; but as there were repeated adjournments and the reports of the physicians still held the same language, the sense of Parliament prevailed. On the 17th of December Mr. Perceval moved that on the 20th they should go into committee on the question of the Regency; and on that day the same resolutions were passed as had been passed in 1788—namely, that the Prince of Wales should be Regent under certain restrictions; that the right of creating peerages, and granting salaries, pensions, and offices in reversion, should be limited specifically, as in 1788. The royal dukes made a protest against these limitations; but on the 30th they were confirmed by both Houses, with additional resolutions for the care of his Majesty's person and the security of his private property, which were passed on the last day of the year 1810.
There were not wanting, however, those who strove to disturb the joy of Ireland, and the peace of England thus acquired, by sowing suspicions of the sincerity of England, and representing that the independence granted was spurious rather than real. Amongst these, Flood, the rival of Grattan in political and Parliamentary life, took the lead. He seized on every little circumstance to create doubts of the English carrying out the concession faithfully. He caught at an imprudent motion of the Earl of Abingdon, in the Peers, and still more vivaciously at the decision of an appeal from Ireland, in the Court of King's Bench, by Lord Mansfield. The case had remained over, and it was deemed impracticable to send it back to Ireland, though nearly finished before the Act of Repeal. Fox explained the case, and made the most explicit declaration of the "full, complete, absolute, and perpetual surrender of the British legislative and judicial supremacy over Ireland." But the suspicions had been too adroitly infused to be removed without a fresh and still more positive Act, which was passed in the next Session.To contend against this enormous force, Buonaparte, by the most surprising exertions, had again collected upwards of two hundred thousand men of considerable military practice; but he dared not to name the conscription to a people already sore on that point; and he endeavoured to raise further reinforcements by an enrolment of National Guards all over France. For this purpose commissioners were sent down into the Departments, on the authority of an Imperial decree of April the 5th; and he proposed to raise as many federates, or volunteers of the lower orders—the only class which had raised a cheer for him on his return. But these schemes proved, for the most part, abortive. In the northern Departments, where heretofore the commands of Buonaparte had been most freely obeyed, the inhabitants showed a sullen and dogged resistance, and the same was the case in Brittany. Farther south matters were worse. In the Departments of Gard, Marne, and Nether Loire, the white flag and cockade were openly displayed; and wherever the tree of liberty was planted—for it was now the trick of Buonaparte to associate the sacred name of liberty with his, a name and a thing on which he had so uniformly trampled—it was cut down and burnt. It was in such circumstances that Buonaparte had to put his frontiers into a state of defence against the advancing hosts. He had defended the northern side of Paris with a double line of fortifications; strongly fortified Montmartre, and on the open southern side cast up some field-works, relying, however, on the Seine as the best barrier. Paris he placed under the command of General Haxo; and the fortresses on the side of Alsace, the Vosges, and Lorraine were all strongly garrisoned. Lyons, Guise, Vitry, Soissons, Chateau-Thierry, Langres, and other towns were made as strong as forts, redoubts, field-works, and garrisons could make them; and trusting by these to retard the slow Austrians, and even the Russians, till he could have given a desperate blow to the Allies in the Netherlands, of whom he was most afraid, on the 11th of June he quitted Paris, saying, "I go to measure myself with Wellington!"The American Congress, which had imagined Gates a greater officer even than Washington, because he had captured Burgoyne through the ability of Arnold, though Washington—from envy, as they supposed—had always held a more correct opinion, now saw their error. No sooner was this victory at Camden achieved, than Cornwallis dispatched Tarleton after General Sumter, who was marching on the other side of the Wateree on his way into South Carolina. Tarleton started after him with a couple of hundred of cavalry, and rode so sharply that he had left half his little force behind him, when he came up with him near Catawba Ford, and fell upon his far superior force without a moment's hesitation, killing and wounding one hundred, and taking captive upwards of two hundred, with all Sumter's baggage, artillery, and one thousand stand of arms.
Joseph, in the face of these things, passed an edict sequestrating all the abbeys in Brabant. The States of Brabant therefore refused the voting of any subsidies, and Joseph, irritated to deeper blindness, determined to abolish the Great Charter entitled the Joyeuse Entrée, so called because granted on the entry of Philip the Good into Brussels, and on which nearly all their privileges rested. To compel them to vote a permanent subsidy, the military surrounded the States of Hainault, forcibly dissolved their sitting, and then calling an extraordinary meeting of the States of Brabant, Trautmansdorff ordered them to pass an Act sanctioning such a subsidy. But the deputies remained firm, and thereupon the Joyeuse Entrée was annulled by proclamation, and the House of Assembly dissolved. Joseph vowed that he would extinguish the rebellion in blood, and reduce the Netherlands to the same despotism which ruled all his other states, except Hungary and the Tyrol.GEORGE II. AT DETTINGEN, 1743.详情
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