茅台集团王崇琳出席“民族品牌传播工程”启动仪式

LORD CASTLEREAGH.

The aspect of affairs in Spain at the commencement of 1810 was gloomy in the extreme. Scarcely a town, fortress, or army remained to the Spaniards; yet, perhaps, never did Napoleon feel a deeper anxiety concerning it. The spirit of the people had shown that it could not be easily subdued. He might beat its regular troops, and compel the surrender of cities, after long and severe sieges, but there still remained a whole population hostile to him. Throughout all the mountain districts the inhabitants might be said to be still in arms against him, and there was a fire burning in the general Spanish heart that might at any moment blaze up into a dangerous flame, or, if not, must wear out his troops, his energies, and his resources. Napoleon had yet to discover that it is impossible to subdue the people of a mountainous country, so as to rule them in peace, if they are at heart opposed to the ruler.

The select committee of the Commons appointed at the instance of Lord Castlereagh, to inquire into the state of the national income and expenditure, now presented its report on the 3rd of June, and it was agreed to. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated on its authority that, since 1815, taxation had been reduced eighteen million pounds per annum; that in 1816 the revenue of Great Britain and Ireland had been consolidated, and that, at that time, the interest of the Debt of Ireland, including the Sinking Fund provided for its reduction, exceeded the entire revenue of that part of the United Kingdom by one million nine hundred thousand pounds. He then announced that supplies for the present year would be required to the amount of twenty million five hundred thousand pounds; that the existing revenue would only furnish seven million pounds towards this; and that it would be necessary to have recourse to the Sinking Fund to make up the deficiency of thirteen million five hundred thousand pounds. This Sinking Fund was fifteen million five hundred thousand pounds, so that it would leave only two million pounds; but as it was necessary to have a tolerable surplus in hand to meet exigencies, it was proposed to raise this reserve fund to five million pounds by fresh taxes to the amount of three million pounds. The new Ministry were now to find that it was very difficult to perpetuate principles and measures which they had for a quarter of a century been condemning simply because they furnished weapons of annoyance to the party then in power. The public, still smarting under the ruinous mismanagement of the war, returned to the charge, by demanding an inquiry into the conduct of Walpole, whom they accused of their sufferings. These petitions were introduced and recommended by what were called the Boy PatriotsPitt, Lyttelton, and the rest.

On the 1st of December Bonney, Joyce, Kyd, and Holcroft were brought up, but the evidence was precisely the same against them as against Tooke; they were discharged without trial. Holcroft would have made a speech condemnatory of these prosecutions, but was not allowed. As these gentlemen were removed from the bar, John Thelwall, the well-known elocutionist and political lecturer, was brought up. As the Government thought there were some other charges against him, the trial went on, and lasted four days, but with the same result; and as it was found that it was hopeless to expect verdicts of guilty from English juries for mere demands of Reform, the rest of the accused were discharged. To the honour of the nation, people of all parties appeared to rejoice at the independent conduct of the juries. Whilst Clive had been reducing our enemies in Bengal and Oude, a more powerful antagonist than any whom we had yet encountered in India was every day growing more formidable in Mysore, and combining several of the petty chiefs of the different States of Madras as his allies against us. He was now far more considerable than when he had appeared against us as the ally of the French general, Lally, in the neighbourhood of Pondicherry. Hyder Ali was a self-made man. He was originally the grandson of a wandering fakir; then the captain of banditti; then at the head of an army composed of freebooters; continually growing in the number of his followers, and in the wealth procured by plunder, he at length became Commander-in-Chief of the Rajah of Mysore. Soon rising in his ambition, he seized the Rajah, his master, pensioned him off with three lacs of rupees, and declared himself the real Rajah. In 1761 he was become firmly established on the throne of Mysore, but this distinction did not satisfy him. He determined to be the founder of Mysore as a great kingdom, and extended his power to near the banks of the Kistnah. There he was met and repulsed by the Peishwa of the Mahrattas, who crossed the Kistnah, defeated him repeatedly, seized some of his newly-acquired territory, and levied on him thirty-two lacs of rupees. Hyder returned to Seringapatam, which he had made his capital, and had strongly fortified, and he thence conducted an expedition against Malabar, which he conquered, and put the chiefs to death to make his hold of it the more secure. It is unnecessary to go minutely into the history of the next few years. Hyder organised an army of 100,000 men, officered by Frenchmen, and sometimes in confederation with the Nizam of the Deccan, sometimes in conjunction with the Mahrattas of the Western Ghauts, waged perpetual war on the English. In 1769 Indian Stock fell sixty per cent. The resources of the Company were fast becoming exhausted, when Hyder Ali, by an artful feint, drew the English army, in the spring of 1769, a hundred and forty miles to the south of Madras. Then, by a rapid march, he suddenly appeared, with a body of five thousand horse, on the heights of St. Thomas, overlooking Madras. The whole of the city and vicinity, except the port of St. George itself, lay at his mercy. The terrified Council, in all haste, offered most advantageous terms of peace, which it was the very object of Hyder to accept, and that, too, before the English commander,[321] Colonel Smith, could arrive and intercept his retreat. Hyder gladly consented to the terms, which were those of mutual restitution, and of alliance and mutual defence: the last, a condition which, with Hyder's disposition to aggrandisement, was sure to bring the English into fresh trouble.

Alberoni, though defeated at sea, was more successful in Sicily, and he continued his cabals against England in nearly every Court of Europe with only the more assiduity. He was zealously at work in France, England itself, Holland, Piedmont, and Sweden. By his ambassador at the Hague he endeavoured to keep the Dutch out of the Quadruple Alliance by exciting their commercial jealousy; but he was ably opposed by our minister there, the Earl of Cadogan. In Piedmont he endeavoured to deter Victor Amadeus from entering into this alliance by assuring him that he was only endeavouring to secure Sicily to keep it out of the hands of the Austrians, and reserve it for him; while, on the other hand, he threatened him with thirty thousand bayonets if he dared to accede to the Quadruple Treaty. The Allies, however, threatened still greater dangers, and the Duke at last consented to accept Sardinia in lieu of Sicily, and that island remains attached to the kingdom of Italy to the present time.

The events on land were very different. Abercrombie, like General Braddock, advanced with all the careless presumption of a second-rate general. The grand object was to reduce Fort Ticonderoga, built on a neck of land between Lakes George and Champlain. At the landing, Lord Howe, one of the best officers, was killed, but they drove back the French, and advanced on the fort, which was of great strength, defended by a garrison of four thousand men, commanded by the Marquis de Montcalm, the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadians, himself. Montcalm had raised a breastwork eight feet high, and made in front of it a barricade of felled trees with their branches outwards. Abercrombie, with a foolish confidence, advanced right upon this barricade, without waiting for the coming up of his artillery, which was detained by the badness of the roads. With a reckless disregard of the lives of his men, he commanded them to attempt to storm these defences, and after fighting with the usual courage of Englishmen for several hours, and two thousand of them being slaughtered, it was found that their efforts were useless, and they were ordered to retire. Brigadier Forbes, who had been sent against Fort Dupuesne, an attempt so disastrous to both Washington and Braddock, executed his task with the utmost promptitude and success. Forbes took possession of it on the 25th of November, and, in compliment to the great Minister under whose auspices they fought, named it Fort Pitt, since grown from a solitary fort into Pittsburg.

On the following day, which was the anniversary of the king's birthday, the Irish prelates, headed by the Archbishop of Armagh, presented an address to his Majesty, complaining of the attacks on the Irish Church, deprecating the threatened innovations, and imploring his protection. The king was greatly moved by this appeal. Breaking through the usual restraints, he delivered an extemporaneous answer, in which, among other things, he said, "I now remember you have a right to require of me to be resolute in defence of the Church." He assured the bishops that their rights should be preserved unimpaired, and that if the interior arrangements of the Irish Church required any amendmentwhich, however, he greatly doubtedhe hoped it would be left to the bishops to correct them, without the interference of other parties. He was now completing his 69th year, and he must prepare to leave the world with a conscience clear in regard to the maintenance of the Church. Tears ran down his cheeks while, in conclusion, he said, "I have spoken more strongly than usual, because of the unhappy circumstances that have forced themselves upon the observation of all. The threats of those who are the enemies of the Church make it the more necessary for those who feel their duty to that Church to speak out. The words which you hear from me are, indeed, spoken by my mouth, but they flow from my heart."

Thus entered the year 1717. It had been intended to open Parliament immediately on the king's return, but the discovery of a new and singular phase of the Jacobite conspiracy compelled its postponement. We have seen that the trafficking of George with Denmark for the bishoprics of Bremen and Verden, reft in the king of Sweden's absence from his possession, had incensed that monarch, and made him vow that he would support the Pretender and march into Scotland with twelve thousand men. Such a menace on the part of a general like Charles XII. was not likely to pass unnoticed by the Jacobites. The Duke of Berwick had taken up the idea very eagerly. He had held several conferences upon it with Baron Spaar, the Swedish Minister at Paris, and he had sent a trusty minister to Charles at Stralsund, with the proposal that a body of seven or eight thousand Swedes, then encamped near Gothenburg, should embark at that port, whence, with a favourable wind, they could land in Scotland in eight-and-forty hours. The Pretender agreed to furnish one hundred and fifty thousand livres for their expenses. At that time, however, Charles was closely besieged by the Danes, Prussians, and their new ally, George of Hanover, purchased by the bribe of Bremen and Verden. Charles was compelled by this coalition to retire from Stralsund, but only in a mood of deeper indignation against the King of England, and therefore more favourable to his enemies.

The number of Catholics in Britain at the time of passing the Relief Bill was estimated by themselves at nearly 1,000,000, scattered, in various proportions, through England, Scotland, and Wales. Of these, 200,000 were resident in London. The most Catholic counties in England were Lancashire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Cheshire, Northumberland, Durham, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Kent. In Ireland the Roman Catholics were estimated at five millions and a half; and the Protestants, of all denominations, at one million and three-quarters. By the removal of the disabilities eight English Catholic peers were enabled to take their seats by right in the House of Lords. The Catholic baronets in England were then sixteen in number. In Ireland there were eight Roman Catholic peers; in Scotland, two. The system of religious exclusion had lasted 271 years, from the passing of the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity in 1559.

The garrison of Gibraltar was all this time hard pressed by the Spaniards. Florida Blanca had made a convention with the Emperor of Morocco to refuse the English any supplies; those thrown in by Rodney the year before were nearly exhausted, and they were reduced to grave straits. Admiral Darby was commissioned to convoy one hundred vessels laden with provisions, and to force a way for them into the garrison. Darby not only readily executed his commission, to the great joy of the poor soldiers, but he blockaded the huge Spanish fleet under Admiral Cordova, in the harbour of Cadiz, whilst the stores were landing.

The Ministry were now involved in a transaction which produced them a plentiful crop of unpopularity. The country was already highly disappointed by the character of the financial measures, and now saw them engaged in an attempt to gratify the domestic resentments of the Prince of Wales. We have already alluded to the[520] disreputable circumstances attending his marriage with the Princess Caroline of Brunswick. After little more than a year's cohabitation they separated, but not before a daughter was born. So long as the Pitt Administration continued, all offensive measures of a public nature were warded from the unfortunate princess. The king had always been her decided protector; but now the Whigs came in, who had ever been in alliance with the Prince of Wales, and that exemplary gentleman conceived hopes that he might rid himself of her. The public had been for some time scandalised by disputes between the prince and princess as to a proper separate allowance for her, and concerning the prince's endeavours to deprive her of the company of her own child; but, as he had not succeeded in taking away the infant, rumours were soon industriously spread that the princess, at Blackheath, was leading a very disreputable life. All that they could gather up or construe to the princess's disadvantage was duly communicated to the Duke of Sussex, and by the duke to his brother, the prince. In 1805 they had supplied their employer or employers with a most startling story of the princess's having been delivered of a son, whom she was openly keeping in her house, under pretence that it was the child of a poor woman of the name of Austin, which she had adopted. Immediate steps were taken privately to get up a case. On the 24th of May Lord Chancellor Erskine read the written statements to the king, who decided that a private inquiry should take place; that the house of Lord Grenville should be selected as the proper scene, and that Lords Erskine, Spencer, Grenville, and Ellenborough should undertake the inquiry and report to him upon it. This meeting and inquiry took place, accordingly, on the 1st of June. Romilly attended. The servants were examined, and appear, according to Romilly's diary, to have uniformly given the most favourable testimony to the conduct of the princess. Further: the reputed mother of the child, Sophia Austin, was examined, and proved that the child was veritably her own; had been born at the Brownlow Street Hospital on the 11th of July, 1802, and had been taken to the princess's house on the 15th of November, adopted by her, and had remained there ever since. "The result," says Romilly, "was a perfect conviction on my mind, and, I believe, on the minds of the four lords, that the child was the child of Sophia Austin." This affair of the Princess of Wales was not terminated till the end of January, 1807. When the report was laid before the king, he referred it to the Cabinet, and they advised him to send a written message to the princess, acquitting her of the main charge, but observing that he saw in the depositions of the witnesses, and even in her own letter to him, defending her conduct, evidence of a deportment unbecoming her station. The odium excited against the Ministry by these un-English proceedings was intense, especially amongst women, all over the country.

It was not till between eleven and twelve o'clock on the morning of Sunday, the 18th of June, that this terrible conflict commenced; for the troops of Napoleon had not yet all reached the ground, having suffered from the tempests of wind and rain equally with the Allies. The rain had now ceased, but the morning was gloomy and lowering. The action opened by a brisk cannonade on the house and wood of Hougomont, which were held by the troops of Nassau. These were driven out;[99] but their place was immediately taken by the British Guards under General Byng and Colonels Home and Macdonald. A tremendous cannonade was kept up on Hougomont by Jerome's batteries from the slopes above; and under cover of this fire the French advanced through the wood in front of Hougomont, but were met by a terrible fire from the British, who had the orchard wall as a breastwork from which to assail the enemy. The contest here was continued through the day with dreadful fury, but the British held their ground with bull-dog tenacity. The buildings of the farmyard and an old chapel were set fire to by the French shells; but the British maintained their post amid the flames, and filled the wood in front and a lane running under the orchard wall with mountains of dead.