任弼时女儿任远芳的回忆:父亲的爱温暖我一生

If the French had been by no means successful in Germany, they had been much less so in other quarters of the globe. In the East Indies we had taken Pondicherry, their chief settlement, from them, and thus remained masters of the whole coast of Coromandel, and of the entire trade with India. In the West Indies, the French had been fortifying Dominica, contrary to treaty, and Lord Rollo and Sir James Douglas were sent thither, and speedily reduced it. France, indeed, was now fast sinking in exhaustion. Louis XV. was a man of no mark or ability, inclined to peace, and leaving all affairs to his Ministers, and still more to his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Choiseul was a man of talent, but of immense vanity, and little persistent firmness. He was now anxious for peace, but, too proud to make the proposal directly, he induced the Courts of Russia and Austria to do it. It was suggested that a congress should be held at Augsburg for settling the peace of Europe. England and Prussia readily consented. But the Duke of Choiseul, anxious to have a clear understanding of the terms on which England and France were likely to treat, proposed a previous exchange of views, and dispatched M. Bussy to London, whilst Mr. Pitt sent to Paris Mr. Hans Stanley.

On the 14th of March Lord North moved to bring in a Bill to take away from Boston the customs, the courts of justice, and government offices, and give them to Salem. This Bill was carried through both Houses with little opposition. Bollan, the agent of the Council of Massachusetts, desired to be heard against the Bill, but was refused. It received the royal assent on the 31st of March, and the trade of Boston was supposed to be annihilated. It is true that George II. was also a brave and staunch commander, prepared to die on the spot rather than yield, as he had shown at Dettingen. But the greater part of his forces at Finchley were raw levies, and might not have stood better than the troops had done in Scotland. There was a terror of the Highlanders, even in the army; and as for London itself, the panic, when it was heard that they had got between the duke's army and the capital, was, according to Fielding, who was then in London, incredible. There was a frantic rush upon the Bank of England, and it is said that it must have closed had it not gained time by paying in sixpences. The shops were shut, business was at a stand, the Ministers were in the utmost terror, and the Duke of Newcastle was said to have shut himself up for a day, pondering whether he should declare for the Pretender or not. The king himself was by no means confident of the result. He is said to have sent most of his precious effects on board a yacht at the Tower quay, ready to put off at a minute's warning. The day on which the news of the rebels being at Derby reached London was long renowned as Black Friday. In such a state of terror, and the army at Finchley inferior in numbers, and infinitely inferior in bravery, who can doubt that Charles would for a time have made himself master of the metropolis? About a week before the king died the physician delicately announced to him the inevitable catastrophe, when he said, "God's will be done." His sufferings were very great, and during the paroxysms of pain his moans were heard even by the sentinels in the quadrangle. On the night of the 25th of June his difficulty of breathing was unusually painful, and he motioned to his page to alter his position on the couch. Towards three o'clock he felt a sudden attack of faintness, accompanied by a violent discharge of blood. At this moment he attempted to raise his hand to his breast, and ejaculated, "O God, I am dying!" Two or three seconds afterwards he said, "This is death." The physicians were instantly called, but before they arrived the breath of life was gone. A post mortem examination showed ossification of the heart, which was greatly enlarged, and adhering to the neighbouring parts. The liver was not diseased; but the lungs were ulcerated, and there were dropsical symptoms on the skin, on various parts of the body. The king was an unusually large and, at one time, well-proportioned man; but he afterwards became very corpulent. He died on the 26th of June, in the sixty-eighth year of his age and the eleventh of his reign, having been Prince Regent for ten years. During his last illness the bulletins had been unusually deceptive. The king was anxious to put away the idea of dissolution from his own mind, and unwilling that the public should know that his infirmities were so great; and it was said that he required to see the bulletins and to have them altered, so that he was continually announced as being better till the day of his death. His message to both Houses on the 24th of May, however, put an end to all delusion on the subject. He wished to be relieved from the pain and trouble of signing Bills and documents with his own hand. A Bill was therefore passed to enable him to give his assent verbally, but it was jealously guarded against being made a dangerous precedent. The stamp was to be affixed in the king's presence, by his immediate order given by word of mouth. A memorandum of the circumstances must accompany the stamp, and the document stamped must be previously endorsed by three members of the Privy Council; the operation of the Act was limited to the existing Session. The three Commissioners appointed for affixing his Majesty's signature were Lord Farnborough, General Sir W. Keppel, and Major-General A. F. Barnard.

[See larger version] The third topic discussed at these conferences was the nature of the relations then subsisting between France and Spain, and the projects of the former power in reference to the latter. These were explained by the Minister without any reserve, and with no symptoms of apprehension that they would be disagreeable to Britain, or of anxiety as to the result, whether they were so or not. He frankly avowed that, under cover of the sanitary cordon, 100,000 French troops were assembled; that it was proposed to throw them in two columns into Spain; that one column, of 40,000 men, was to pass into Catalonia, while the other, of 60,000, was to march by the great road through Irun upon Madrid. He stated that the sole object of this invasion was to insure the personal safety of the king, to afford him the opportunity to collect a native force strong enough to enable him to protect himself against the schemes of the Revolutioniststhat is, to put down the Constitution. Of course, France said she entertained no views of conquest or aggrandisement, or even of prolonged occupation. She would withdraw her troops whenever the King of Spain said he could do without them, and yield up every inch of territory. In reference to this matter the Duke of Wellington wrote home for instructions, and in reply Canning said:"If there be a determined project to interfere by force or by menace in the present struggle in Spain, so convinced are his Majesty's Government of the uselessness and danger of any such interferenceso objectionable does it appear to them in principle, as well as utterly impracticable in executionthat when the necessity arisesor, I would rather say, when the opportunity offersI am to instruct your grace at once frankly and peremptorily to declare that to any such interference, come what may, his Majesty will not be a party." To say that England peremptorily declined "to be a party" to the invasion of an independent state, in order to force upon the people a government contrary to their will, was not saying very much, nor putting the objection very strongly. We are assured, however, that the Duke steadily set his face against the project, pointing out that the step would be not only unjust, but impolitic; that it would precipitate the catastrophe which the French Government feared; that the Revolutionists would probably remove Ferdinand from Madrid as soon as they heard of the passing of the frontier by the French troops, and that, even if these troops should reach the capital, the Spaniards would not therefore submit, nor would the king be set at liberty. He argued that a war between France and Spain for such a purpose would be pronounced a war to put down free institutions, and that if France sought the support of her allies, the only one amongst them that had free institutions would feel it her duty to meet such a request with a refusal. Europe would be ranged into two hostile camps, that of absolutism on the one side and of revolution on the other; amid which not thrones only, but settled governments in every form, might be overthrown. In reply to these arguments, both the king and his Minister stated that whatever France might do in the matter she would do single-handed, and that she would not only not apply for assistance from without, but that, if such assistance were offered, she would refuse it. The Duke could not, however, prevail upon the French Government to refrain from bringing the question between France[234] and Spain before the Congress. The king and his Minister both contended that vast moral good would accrue from a joint remonstrance on the part of the Allies against the treatment to which the King of Spain was subjected, and a joint threat that if any violence were offered to his person or family all would unite to avenge the outrage.

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Far above all other English artists of this period, however, stood William Hogarth (b. 1697). There is no artist of that or any former age who is so thoroughly English. He is a John Bull from head to footsturdy, somewhat headstrong, opinionated, and satirical. He is, indeed, the great satirist of the brush; but his satire, keen as it is, is employed as the instrument of the moralist; the things which he denounces and derides are crimes, follies, and perverted tastes. In his own conduct, as on his canvas, he displayed the same spirit, often knocking down his own interests rather than not express his indignant feeling of what was spurious in art, or unjust towards himself. Hogarth was the first English painter who attracted much notice amongst foreigners, and he still remains one of the most original in genius of the British school. His subjects are not chosen from the loftier regions of life and imagination, but from the very lowest or the most corrupted ones of the life of his country and time. "The Harlot's Progress," "The Rake's Progress," "Marriage la Mode,"[163] "The March to Finchley," "Gín Lane," "Beer Lane," etc., present a series of subjects from which the delicate and sensitive will always revolt, and which have necessarily an air of vulgarity about them, but the purpose consecrates them; for they are not selected to pander to vice and folly, but to expose, to brand, to extirpate them.