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类型:奇幻地区:ѡ发布:2020-10-01 03:09:31

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43 Elizabeth, c. 2 {89 parishes (including the

[See larger version]In the autumn the great Congress of Sovereigns assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle. We have already anticipated their chief objectthe final evacuation of France by the Allied troops, and the settlement of compensations. They assembled about the middle of September, and remained together till the middle of November. Their business conferences, however, did not commence till the 30th of September. With regard to the evacuation of France, we need only state that it was greatly promoted by the exertions of the Duke of Wellington. Robert Owen was there to endeavour to enlist the Sovereigns in his schemes of social reform, but did not make any proselytes amongst the crowned heads, though the Czar Alexander told him he fully entered into his views, as he was generally accustomed to tell all reformers and religious professors, leaving them in the pleasing delusion that they had won him to their opinions. Clarkson was there to engage them to sanction the suppression of the slave trade, but with as indifferent a result. This was the closing scene of the great European drama, which opened with the French Revolution and terminated with the capture of Buonaparte. The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle may be regarded as the recital of the epilogue.

God's will be done!

If the man who turnips cries,"The present order of things must not, cannot[280] last. There are three modes of proceeding: first, that of trying to go on as we have done; secondly, to adjust the question by concession, and such guards as may be deemed indispensable; thirdly, to put down the Association, and to crush the power of the priests. The first I hold to be impossible. The second is practicable and advisable. The third is only possible by supposing that you can reconstruct the House of Commons, and to suppose that is to suppose that you can totally alter the feelings of those who send them there. I believe nothing short of the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act and martial law will effect the third proposition. This would effect it during their operation, and, perhaps, for a short time after they had ceased, and then every evil would return with accumulated weight. But no House of Commons would consent to these measures until there is open rebellion, and therefore till that occurs it is useless to think of them. The second mode of proceeding is, then, I conceive, the only practicable one; but the present is not propitious to effect even this. I abhor the idea of truckling to the overbearing Catholic demagogues. To make any movement towards conciliation under the present excitement and system of terror would revolt me; but I do most conscientiously, and after the most earnest consideration of the subject, give it as my conviction that the first moment of tranquillity should be seized to signify the intention of adjusting the question, lest another period of calm should not present itself."

The poets who most retained the robes of the past, without disguising the divine form within, were the Rev. George Crabbe and Cowper. The poetry of Crabbe, all written in the metre of Pope, is, nevertheless, instinct with the very soul of nature. It chooses the simplest, and often the least apparently lofty or agreeable topics, but it diffuses through these, and at the same time draws from them, a spirit and life that are essentially poetry. Nothing at the time that it appeared could look less like poetry. The description of a library, the dirty alleys, the pothouses, the sailors, and monotonous sea-shores in and about a maritime borough, struck the readers of the assumed sublime with astonishment and dismay. "Can this be poetry?" they asked. But those who had poetry in themselvesthose in whom the heart of nature was strong, replied, "Yes, the truest poetry." Nature smiles as the rude torch flickers past, and shows its varied forms in its truest shape. In his "Tales of the Hall" Crabbe entered on scenes which are commonly deemed more elevated; he came forward into the rural village, the rectory,[184] and the manor-house; but everywhere he carried the same clear, faithful, analytical spirit, and read the most solemn lessons from the histories and the souls of men. Crabbe has been styled the Rembrandt of English poetic painting; but he is not merely a painter of the outward, he is the prober of the inward at the same time, who, with a hand that never trembles, depicts sternly the base nature, and drops soothing balm on the broken heart.Lord Anglesey replied to these sharp rebukes with great spirit. "Up to this moment," he said, "I have been left entirely in ignorance, not only as to your intentions with regard to this country, but also as to your sentiments regarding my policy. They are now developed, and I shall know how to act." He then entered into details of all the occurrences alluded to, in order to show "how entirely his Majesty had been misinformed." Having done so, he added, "If those who arraign my conduct will obtain information from an uninterested source, I feel the most perfect confidence that I shall obtain the applause of my Sovereign, and the goodwill and good opinion of his Majesty's Ministers with whom I serve." He denied that the Government had lost its power, that the Association had usurped its functions, or that the laws were set at defiance. He asserted, on the contrary, that the law was in full vigour; and if it authorised, or expediency demanded, the suppression of the Catholic Association and of the Brunswick Clubs, and the disarming of the yeomanry at the same time, he would undertake to effect it almost without the loss of a life. But he did not think such a course expedient, and he deprecated the teasing system of attacking every minor offence, of which the issue upon trial would be doubtful, and which would produce irritation without effecting a salutary lesson and permanent good. He had no object, he said, in holding his post but that of pleasing his king and serving his country; and if, in his zealous and unwearied efforts to effect the latter object, he had incurred the displeasure of the king and lost his Majesty's confidence, he ought not to remain in Ireland. He was therefore ready to depart whenever they found it convenient to recall him. The Duke became testy under this resistance and antagonism. In replying to the last letter he becomes more personal in his accusations. "I might," said the Premier, "at an earlier period have expressed the pain I felt at the attendance of gentlemen of your household, and even of your family, at the Roman Catholic Association. I could not but feel that such attendance must expose your Government to misconstruction. I was silent because it was painful to mention such things; but I have always felt that if these impressions upon the king's mind should remainand I must say that recent transactions have given fresh cause for themI could not avoid mentioning them to you in a private communication, and to let you know the embarrassment which they occasion."

Monster meetings, not unaccompanied by disturbance, were held in various places, the most serious of which occurred at Birmingham. The inhabitants of this town had been kept in a state of almost incessant alarm by the proceedings of disorderly persons calling themselves Chartists. Representations to this effect having been sent to the Home Office, sixty picked men of the metropolitan force were sent down to aid the civil authorities in the preservation of peace. They arrived at Birmingham by the railway on Thursday, July 4th, and speedily mustering, they marched two abreast into the Bull Ring, where about 2,000 Chartists were assembled, at nine o'clock in the evening. They endeavoured, at first, to induce the meeting quietly to disperse, but failed in the attempt. They then seized the flags with which Lord Nelson's monument in the centre of the square was decorated, and among which was one that bore a death's head; but the Chartists, who had at first been disconcerted, recaptured them, after a desperate struggle, and broke their staves into pieces, to be used as clubs. A conflict immediately ensued, in which the police, who were armed only with batons, were seriously injured; and the Chartists were retiring in triumph when the 4th Dragoons charged them, by concert, through all the streets leading to the Bull Ring, and they fled in every direction. Further riots ensued, and on the 15th an organised mob attacked the houses in the High Street and Spiral Street. They broke into the warehouses, flinging their contents into the streets. A large pile of bedding was set on fire in the Bull Ring. Windows and shop-fittings were remorselessly demolished by the infuriated multitude. A few minutes past nine o'clock the cry of "Fire!" was raised. Scarcely had the words been uttered when the rioters carried immense heaps of burning materials from the streets, forcing them into the houses of Mr. Bourne and Mr. Legatt. Within a quarter of an hour the flames burst out with awful violence from both houses, amidst the exulting shouts of the rioters. While this work of destruction was going on they had the streets to themselves. The general cry among the inhabitants was, "Where are the military? Where are the magistrates?" At length, about ten o'clock, sixty of the metropolitan[457] police, with a posse of special constables, made their appearance, and rushed upon the rioters sword in hand, causing them to fly in all directions. The dragoons, under the command of Colonel Chatterton, were now discerned galloping down Moore Street, and another squadron at the same moment down High Street, and in five minutes about 300 of the Rifle Brigade marched to the Bull Ring. The inhabitants, feeling like people sore pressed by a long siege, clapped their hands with joy at the approach of their deliverers. The fire engines also came under escort, having been driven away before, and set about arresting the conflagration. In the meantime the cavalry were scouring and clearing the streets and suburbs, and the police were busily engaged bringing in prisoners. About midnight the roofs of the two houses fell in, and about one o'clock the fire was got under. Next day the shops were nearly all closed, the middle classes full of suspicion, and the populace vowing vengeance against the police and the soldiers. A piece of artillery placed at the head of High Street contributed materially to prevent further disturbance. About twenty prisoners were made, and the evidence produced before the magistrates showed the determined purpose of the rioters. When these outrages were the subject of discussion in the House of Lords, the Duke of Wellington said, "That he had seen as much of war as most men; but he had never seen a town carried by assault subjected to such violence as Birmingham had been during an hour by its own inhabitants."The Association had become so formidable, and was yet so carefully kept within the bounds of law by "Counsellor O'Connell," in whose legal skill the Roman Catholics of all classes had unbounded confidence, that the Government resolved to procure an Act of Parliament for its suppression. Accordingly, on the 11th of February, 1825, a Bill was brought into the House of Commons by the Irish Chief Secretary, Mr. Goulburn, under the title of Unlawful Societies in Ireland Bill. The plural form caused a great deal of debating. The Government declared they wished to include the Orange Society as well as the Catholic Association. But the Opposition had no faith in this declaration, and Mr. Brougham stated that they would put down the Catholic Association with one hand and pat the Orange Society on the back with the other. The debates on the subject were very animated, and touched upon constitutional questions of the widest interest to the public. The Irish Attorney-General said he did not deny that if a set of gentlemen thought fit to unite for those purposes, it was in their power to do so; but then came the question as to the means which they employed, and those means he denied to be constitutional. "They have," he said, "associated with them the Catholic clergy, the Catholic nobility, many of the Catholic gentry, and all the surviving delegates of 1791. They have established committees in every district, who keep up an extensive correspondence through the country. This Association, consisting originally of a few members, has now increased to 3,000. They proceeded to establish a Roman Catholic rent; and in every single parish, of the 2,500 parishes into which Ireland is divided, they appointed twelve Roman Catholic collectors, which make an army of 30,000. Having this their army of collectors, they brought to their assistance 2,500 priests, and the whole ecclesiastical body. And thus provided, they go about levying contributions on the peasantry." This Mr. Plunket pronounced to be unconstitutional, though not in the strict sense illegal; the Association was a representative and a tax-levying body. He denied that any portion of the subjects of this realm had a right to give their suffrages to others, had a right to select persons to speak their sentiments, to debate upon their grievances, and to devise measures for their removal. This was the privilege alone of the Commons of the United Kingdom. He would not allow that species of power to anybody not subjected to proper control. But to whom were those individuals accountable? Where was their responsibility? Who was to check them? Who was to stop their progress? By whom were they to be tried or rebuked if found acting mischievously? People not acquainted with Ireland were not aware of the nature of this formidable instrument of power, greater than the power of the sword. Individuals connected with it went into every house and every family. They mixed in all the relations of private life, and afterwards detailed what they heard with the utmost freedom. The Attorney-General could not conceive a more deadly instrument of tyranny than it was when it interfered with the administration of justice. Claiming to represent six millions of the people of Ireland, it denounced as a public enemy, and arraigned at the bar of justice, any individual it chose to accuse of acting contrary to the popular interest. Thus the grand inquest of the people were the accusers, and there was an unlimited supply of money to carry on the prosecution. The consequence was that magistrates were intimidated, feeling that there was no alternative but to yield, or be overwhelmed by the tide of fierce popular passions.

During the French war, when the Paris fashions were intercepted, much variety in the fashion of dress took place amongst both gentlemen and ladies; but before the peace had arrived the most tasteless costumes had become general, and the waists of both sexes were elevated nearly to their shoulders. The tight skirts and short waists of the ladies gave them the most uncouth aspect imaginable; and the cut-away coats and chimneypot hats of the gentlemen were by no means more graceful. The military costume had undergone an equally complete revolution, and with no better success.

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On the opening of the Session, the king called the attention of Parliament to the state of Canada. That colony had flourished since it had come into the possession of Britain, especially since the passing of the Bill of 1774, which had given freedom to the Roman Catholic church there, the church of the French inhabitants. But one part of the colony was still inhabited by the descendants of the French, and another by those of the English and Americans. It was, therefore, found desirable to put an end to the competition which still existed, from differences of faith and of national sentiments and customs, between the two races, by dividing the colony into two provinces, the one inhabited by the French to be called Lower Canada, and the other, inhabited by the British, to be called Upper Canada. On the 25th of February the king sent a message to Parliament, proposing to carry out this division; and on the 4th of March Pitt moved to bring in a Bill for that purpose, and stated the intended plan of arrangement. Besides an elective assembly, each province was to have a Council, the members of which were to be appointed for life, with hereditary succession to the descendants of such as should be honoured with hereditary titles, which titles were to confer on an inhabitant of either province the dignity of a member of the Council. Landed property was to be held according to English law, in soccage tenure; the Habeas Corpus was to be established in both provinces. An allotment of lands was to be made for the Protestant clergy; but, as the majority of the inhabitants in the Lower Province would be Catholic, the Council and Assembly were empowered to allot lands also to their clergy, which allotment, on sanction of the Crown, was to be valid without intervention of Parliament. No taxes were to be imposed by the British Government except such as were necessary for the regulation of commerce, and these were to be levied by the provincial legislature to prevent any heartburnings like those which had occurred in the American States.

The whole company caught the royal infection. They vowed to die for the king, as if he were in imminent danger. Cockades, white or black, but all of one colour, were distributed; and it is said the tricolour was trodden under foot. In a word, the whole company was gone mad with champagne and French sentiment, and hugged and kissed each other in a wild frenzy. At this moment a door opened, and the king and queen, leading the dauphin by the hand, entered, and at the sight the tumult became boundless. Numbers flung themselves at the feet of the royal pair, and escorted them back to their apartments.This branch of the rebel force was thus completely removed from the field, and on the same day a far more sanguinary conflict had taken place between the chief commanders on the two sides, Argyll and Mar, at Sheriffmuir.Mr. Stanley left behind him one enduring monument of his administration in Ireland which, though afterwards a subject of controversy and party strife, conferred immense advantages upon the countrythe national system of education. It has been remarked that the principle of the Irish Establishment was that of a "missionary church;" that it was never based on the theory of being called for by the wants of the population; that what it looked to was their future spiritual necessities. It was founded on the same reasons which prompt the building of churches in a thinly peopled locality, the running of roads through an uncultivated district, of drains through a desert morass. The principle was philanthropic, and often, in its application, wise; but it proceeded on one postulate, which, unfortunately, was here wantingnamely, that the people will embrace the faith intended for them. This was so far from having hitherto been the case that the reverse was the fact. For nearly three centuries this experiment was tried with respect to the education of the rising generations of the Roman Catholics, and in every age it was attended by failures the most marked and disastrous. The Commissioners of National Education refer to this uniformity of failure in their sixth report, in which they observe,"For nearly the whole of the last century the Government of Ireland laboured to promote Protestant education, and tolerated no other. Large grants of public money were voted for having children educated in the Protestant faith, while it was made a transportable offence in a Roman Catholic (and if the party returned, high treason) to act as a schoolmaster, or assistant to a schoolmaster, or even as a tutor in a private family. The Acts passed for this purpose continued in force from 1709 to 1782. They were then repealed, but Parliament continued to vote money for the support only of the[357] schools conducted on principles which were regarded by the great body of the Roman Catholics as exclusively Protestant until the present system was established."

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