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Parliament was prorogued on the 27th of April, for the avowed purpose of a dissolution; and in the speech by commission, Ministers stated that it was necessary the people should be appealed to as soon as possible, whilst the effect of "the late unfortunate and uncalled-for agitation was on their minds." Immediate preparations were made for a most determined contest. Money was spent on both sides most prodigally, but the new Ministers had the greater command of ittheir opponents said, out of the king's privy purse. But whether that were so or not, on the system then in vogue, of Ministers in different departments drawing even millions from the Treasury long before they were legitimately wanted, they could have no lack of means of corruption; and this corruption, in bribery and in purchasing of seats, never had been carried further than on this occasion. It was calculated that it would cost Wilberforce eighteen thousand pounds to get in again, and this sum was at once subscribed by his friends. Tierney offered ten thousand pounds for two seats, and could not get them. Romilly, who was utterly averse from this corruption, was compelled to give two thousand pounds for a seat for the borough of Horsham, and then only obtained it through favour of the Duke of Norfolk. Seats, Romilly says, might have been expected to be cheap after a Parliament of only four months' duration, but quite the contrary; never had they reached such a price before. Five and six thousand pounds was a common sum given, without any stipulation as to the chance of a short Parliament. The animus which was excited in the public mind against the Catholics by the incoming Ministers, for party purposes, was terrible. The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and other religious associations took the lead in the outcry. The Catholics of England, alarmed at the violence of the sensation stirred up against them, and fearing a repetition of the Gordon riots, published an address to their fellow-countrymen, protesting their entire loyalty to the Crown and Constitution. Henry Erskine, Lord Erskine's brother, wittily said, that if Lord George Gordon were but alive, instead of being in Newgate he would be in the Cabinet. The Ministers found that they had obtained a powerful majority by these means, and when Parliament met, on the 22nd of June, they were enabled to reject an amendment to the Address by a hundred and sixty against sixty-seven in the Lords, and by three hundred and fifty against a hundred and fifty-five in the Commons. One of the very first things which the Ministers did was to reverse the mild system of the late Cabinet in Ireland, and to restore the old rgime of coercion. A Bill was brought into the Commons by Sir Arthur Wellesley, now again Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, giving authority to the latter functionary to proclaim counties in a state of insurrection, and to prohibit any person from being out of his house between sunset and sunrise, under severe penalties. Then followed another Bill, compelling all persons to register what arms they had, and authorising, on the part of the magistracy, domiciliary visits in search of arms. Education of the people, both there and in England, was discouraged. A Bill for establishing a school in every parish in England, introduced by Whitbread, was allowed to pass the Commons, but was thrown out in the Lords. Parliament was then prorogued on the 14th of August.

[See larger version] Hearing that General Copewho had seen his blunder in leaving open the highway to the Scottish capitalafter having reached Inverness, had begun a rapid march on Aberdeen, trusting to embark his army there, and reach Edinburgh in[95] time to defend it from the rebel army, Charles marched out of Perth on the 11th of September. He reached Dunblane that evening, and on the 13th he passed the fords of Frew, about eight miles above Stirling, knowing that several king's ships were lying at the head of the Firth. On their approach, Gardiner retired with his dragoons from the opposite bank. Stirling, being deserted by the troops, was ready to open its gates; but Charles was in too much haste to reach Edinburgh. Hearing that Gardiner, with his dragoons, intended to dispute the passage of Linlithgow Bridge, Charles sent on one thousand Highlanders, before break of day, under Lord George Murray, in the hope of surprising them; but they found that they had decamped the evening before, and they took peaceable possession of Falkirk and the old palace. The prince himself came up on the evening of that day, Sunday, the 15th, where the whole army passed the night, except the vanguard, which pushed on to Kirkliston, only eight miles from Edinburgh. Eugene, during these affairs, had been actively prosecuting the fortunes of the Allies with his remnant of an army. He pushed on the siege of Quesnoy, and took it. He sent a flying detachment of one thousand five hundred cavalry, under Major-General Grovestein, to make an incursion into France. This force made a rapid raid in Champagne, passed the Noire, the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Saar, ravaged the country, reduced a great number of villages and towns to[7] ashes, rode up to the very gate of Metz, and then retired to Traerbach with a load of rich booty. This was a proof of what might have been done in France at this period with the whole army united under a commander like Marlborough, in place of miserably giving up everything to that country in the moment of power. As it was, it created the utmost consternation in Paris, the people of which already saw the English at their gate; whilst Louis did not think himself safe at Versailles, but gathered all the troops in the neighbourhood of the capital around his palace, leaving the city to take care of itself.

The agitation which the queen underwent on the night of the 27th, when she dismissed Oxford after a long and fierce altercation, produced a marked change in her health. The Council was only terminated, having sat to consider who should be admitted into the new Ministry, by the queen falling into a swoon. Being got to bed, she passed the night, not in sleep, but in weeping. The next day another Council was held, but was again broken up by the illness of the queen, and was prorogued to the 29th of July. To Dr. Arbuthnot, her physician, Anne declared that the disputes of her Ministers had killed her; that she should never survive it. Lady Masham, struck by the queen's heavy and silent manner, apprehended the worst. Bolingbroke and his Jacobite colleagues were thunderstruck by this sudden crisis. They assembled in council at Kensington, in a room not far from that of the dying queen, but they were so stupefied by the blow that they could do nothing. On the other hand, the Whigs had been quite alert. Stanhope had made preparations to seize the Tower; to secure the persons of the Ministers and the leading Jacobites, if necessary, on the demise of the queen; to obtain possession of the outports, and proclaim the king. A proof of this concert was immediately given by the Dukes of Argyll and Somerset, who belonged to the Privy Council, but, of course, had not been summoned, suddenly entering the Council chamber, stating that, hearing of the queen's critical position, they had hastened, though not summoned, to offer their assistance. No sooner had they said this, than the Duke of Shrewsbury rose and thanked them for their courtesy. The Whig dukes immediately demanded that the queen's physicians should be called and examined as to her probable continuance. The physicians in general were of opinion that her Majesty might linger some time; but Dr. Mead declared that she could not live many days, perhaps not many hours; from the apoplectic symptoms she might be gone in one. Argyll and Somerset thereupon declared it absolutely necessary that the post of Lord Treasurer should be filled up, as it was requisite that, at such a moment, there should be a recognised Prime Minister, and proposed that the Duke of Shrewsbury should be nominated to that office. Bolingbroke felt that his power and his plans were at an end, and sat like one in a dream. The members of the Council then proceeded to the queen's apartment, and Bolingbroke followed them, as it were, mechanically. The queen was sensible enough to be made aware of their errand, and expressed her approval of it. Shrewsbury, however, with that singular hesitation which always characterised him, refused to take the White Staff, except from her Majesty's own hand. It was, therefore, handed to her, and she extended it towards Shrewsbury, saying, "For God's sake, use it for the good of my people!" Shrewsbury was already Chamberlain, and he presented the staff of that office in resignation of it; but the queen bade him retain both; and thus he was at once Lord Treasurer, Lord Chamberlain, and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

(From a Drawing by Gravelot engraved by W. J. White.) In the meantime the Irish State trial, and the affairs of Ireland generally, were the subject of frequent discussions in both Houses of Parliament. On the 13th of February the Marquis of Normanby moved a resolution condemnatory of the policy of the Government, contrasting it with his own Administration, with the treatment of Canada, and with the liberal policy by which, he said, Austria had conquered disaffection in Lombardy. He was answered by Lord Roden and others, and on a division his motion was rejected by a majority of 175 to 78. On the same day the state of Ireland was introduced by Lord John Russell, in a speech which occupied three hours. The debate that followed lasted for nine days. The principal speakers who took part in it were Mr. Wyse, Sir James Graham, Mr. Young, Sir George Grey, Lord Eliot, Mr. Shaw, the Recorder of Dublin, Lord Howick, Lord Stanley, Mr. Macaulay, Sir William Follett, Sir Thomas Wilde, Sir F. Pollock, the English Attorney-General, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Sheil, and Sir Robert Peel. The discussion turned mainly upon the question whether or not O'Connell had had a fair trial, and upon this the lawyers and the House pronounced opinions in harmony with the interests of their respective parties. But nearly every topic that could be mentioned was brought up in the course of the monster debate. Sir Robert Peel concluded a long and able speech in defence of his Government with the following beautiful peroration:"I have a firm conviction that if there were calm and tranquillity in Ireland, there is no part of the British empire that would make such rapid progress in improvement. There are facilities for improvement and opportunities for it which will make the advance of Ireland more rapid than the advance of any other country. I will conclude, then, by expressing my sincere and earnest hope that this agitation, and all the evil consequences of it, may be permitted to subside; and hereafter, in whatever capacity I may be, I should consider that the happiest day of my life when I could see the beloved Sovereign of these realms fulfilling the fondest wishes of her heart, possessing a feeling of affection towards all her people, but mingling that[535] affection with sympathy and tenderness towards Ireland. I should hail the dawning of that auspicious day, when she could alight like some benignant spirit on the shores of Ireland, and lay the foundations of a temple of peace; when she could, in accents which proceeded from the heartspoken to the heart rather than to the earcall upon her Irish subjects of all classes and of all denominations, Protestants and Roman Catholics, Saxon and Celt, to forget the difference of creed and of race, and to hallow that temple of peace which she should then found, with sacrifices still holier than those by which the temples of old were hallowedby the sacrifice of those evil passions that dishonour our common faith, and prevent the union of heart and hand in defence of our common country."

Before Buonaparte, therefore, could proceed to Spain, he determined to meet the Czar at Erfurth, in Germany, by their open union to overawe that country, and to bind Alexander more firmly to his interest by granting him ampler consent to his designs on Turkey and on Finland. The meeting took place on the 27th of September, and terminated on the 17th of October. Both Emperors returned in appearance more friendly and united than ever, but each in secret distrusting his ally. Buonaparte, who was now intending in earnest to divorce Josephine, and marry a daughter of a royal house, by whom he might have issue, and thus league himself with the old dynasties, made a proposal for one of the Russian archduchesses, which was evaded by Alexander, on the plea of the difference of religion. Such a plea did not deceive the keen sagacity of Buonaparte; he felt it to result from a contempt of his plebeian origin, and a belief in the instability of his giddy elevation; and he did not forget it. To impress on Europe, however, the idea of the intimate union of the Czar and Buonaparte, they addressed, before leaving Erfurth, a joint letter to the King of Great Britain, proposing a general peace. To this letter Canning answered to the Ministers of Russia and France, that Swedenagainst whom the Czar had commenced his war of usurpationSpain, Portugal, and Sicily, must be included in any negotiations. The French and Russian Ministers, on the contrary, proposed a peace on the principle of every one retaining what they had got. This, Canning replied, would never be consented to; and the two emperors knew that very well, but the letter had served Buonaparte's purpose. It enabled him to tell France and the world how much he was disposed to peace, and how obstinate was Britain; it served to make the world believe in the close intimacy of the Czar and himself. He now hurried back to France, and, opening the session of the Corps Lgislatif, on the 25th of October, he announced that he was going to Spain to drive the "English leopards"for such he always absurdly persisted in calling the lions in the royal arms of Great Britainout of both Spain and Portugal. On the 27th he set out.