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The elections were now carried on with all the fire and zeal of the two parties. The Tories boasted of their successful efforts to stem the tide of expenditure for the war, to staunch the flow of blood, and restore all the blessings of peace. The Whigs, on the contrary, made the most of their opposition to the Treaty of Commerce, which they represented as designed to sacrifice our trade to the insane regard now shown to the French. To show their interest in trade, they wore locks of wool in their hats; and the Tories, to show their attachment to the Restoration and the Crown, wore green twigs of oak. Never was shown more completely the want of logical reason in the populace, for whilst they were declaring their zeal for the Protestant succession, and whilst burning in effigy on the 18th of NovemberQueen Bess's daythe Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender, they sent up a powerful majority of the men who were secretly growing more and more favourable to the Pretender's return. Never, indeed, had the chances of his restoration appeared so great. General Stanhope, on the close of the elections, told the Hanoverian minister that the majority was against them, and that if things continued ever so short a time on the present footing, the Elector would not come to the Crown unless he came with an army. But there was another topic started in this first Imperial Parliament which was as odious to George III. as the perfidious conduct of his late Russian ally. As one means of bringing about the union with Ireland, Pitt held out to the Irish Catholics the argument that by having Irishmen in the united Parliament they would be most likely to obtain a repeal of the Catholic disabilities. Both he and Lord Cornwallis had sent circulars to this effect, anonymous, it is true, but with a secret avowal of their authorship, amongst the leading Catholics, which had a great effect in procuring their assent to the union. Lord Castlereagh, who as Secretary of State for Ireland had helped to carry the union, claimed the redemption of this pledge. The matter was talked over in the Cabinet during the autumn of 1799, and again in September, 1800. Pitt introduced the subject about the middle of January in the Privy Council. But in the interval the Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, had betrayed the plan to the king, and in conjunction with Lord Auckland had convinced his Majesty that it would involve a violation of the Coronation Oath. George was indignant, and almost furious. At the levee on the 28th of January, when Lord Castlereagh was presented, he said to Dundas, "What is this which this young lord [Castlereagh] has brought over to fling at my head?" He alluded to a plan for Catholic emancipation, and added, "I shall reckon every man my personal enemy who proposes any such measure! This is the most jacobinical thing I ever heard of." Dundas replied that his Majesty would find amongst those friendly to the measure some whom he had never supposed to be his enemies. On the 31st of January Pitt wrote to the king, assuring him that the union with Ireland would render it absolutely necessary that important questions regarding the Catholics and Dissenters should be discussed; but, as he found how extremely such[479] topics were disliked by his Majesty, and yet how just it was that Catholics should be admitted to Parliament as well as Protestant Dissenters, who were already admitted, he begged to be permitted to resign. At the same time, not to inconvenience his Majesty, he was willing to hold office till his Majesty had reconstructed a Cabinet wholly to his mind. George replied, the very next day, that Mr. Pitt's letter had occasioned him the liveliest concern; that, so far from exposing him to the agitation of this question, he had flattered himself that the union, by uniting the Protestants of both kingdoms, would for ever have excluded the question of Catholic emancipation. He expressed his ardent wish that Pitt should continue to be his Minister as long as he lived; and he only required, as a condition, that he should stave off this question. Pitt replied, on the 3rd of February, that his Majesty's determined tone on the subject of Catholic emancipation left him no alternative but to resign, in compliance with his duty; and that, as his Majesty's resolve was taken, it would certainly be best for the country that his retirement should be as early as possible. On the 5th the king wrote, accepting Pitt's resignation, though with expressions of deep regret.

There is in all this much of the splenetic jealousy of an aged invalid towards a vigorous competitor, who has outstripped him in the race. O'Connell excited much hostility amongst the friends of Emancipation by his opposition to the veto which they were willing to give to the British Crown on the appointment of Roman Catholic bishops by the Court of Rome. But the more antagonists he had, and the more battles he fought, the greater was his hold on the Roman Catholic priests and people. His power had arrived at its greatest height when the Canningites left the Ministry, and Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald came to Ireland to seek the suffrages of the Clare electors as an influential member of the Government. At first, no one had the least doubt of his triumphant return. He had been popular as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland; he was a steady friend of Catholic Emancipation, for which he had always voted; he was personally popular; the gentry of the county were almost to a man devoted to him. It appears that O'Connell had at first no idea of starting against him. The proposal is said to have originated with Sir David Roose, who, having accidentally met Mr. P. V. Fitzpatrick on the 22nd of June, remarked that O'Connell ought to offer himself for Clare. Mr. Fitzpatrick then recollected having often heard Mr. John Keogh, of Mount Jerome, who had been the Catholic leader for many years, express his conviction that Emancipation would never be granted till a Catholic was elected a member of Parliament. If, when returned by a constituency, he was not permitted to take his seat because he would not violate his conscience by swearing what he did not believe, John Bull, who is jealous of constitutional rights, would resent this wrong, and would require the oath to be altered for the sake of the constituency. The moment this thought occurred to Mr. Fitzpatrick, he ran to O'Connell and begged of him to stand for Clare. They went to the office of the Dublin Evening Post, and there, in presence of Mr. F. W. Conway, the address to the electors was written. Still O'Connell shrank from the contest on account of the enormous cost. "You know," he said, "that, so far from being in circumstances to meet that outlay from my own resources, I am encumbered with heavy liabilities beyond my power of discharging. You are the only person with whom I am acquainted who knows intimately the Catholic aristocracy and men of wealth. Would[272] you undertake to sound them as to funds for the contest?" Fitzpatrick answered, "I will undertake it, and I am confident of success." Within an hour he got three men of wealth to put down their names for 100 each. The four then went round to the principal Catholics of Dublin, and during the day they got 1,600 from sixteen persons. The country followed the example of the metropolis so liberally that 14,000 was raised within a week, and money continued to flow in during the contest. The supplies, however, were not sufficient for the enormous demand, and in the heat of the contest a messenger was sent posthaste to Cork, and in an incredibly short space of time returned with 1,000 from Mr. Jerry Murphy, who himself subscribed 300, and got the remainder from its patriotic inhabitants. The sum of 5,000 had been voted by the Association for the expenses of the election. They had been very anxious to get a candidate to oppose Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, and a popular Protestant, Major Macnamara, had been requested to come forward, but he declined on the ground of his personal obligations to the Ministerial candidate. Indeed, there were few of the smaller gentry in the county on whom he had not conferred favours by the liberal distribution of places among their sons. The Roman Catholic gentry were quite as much indebted to him as the Protestants, and they were not ungrateful, for they stood by him on the hustings almost to a man. Mr. O'Connell was preceded by two friends, Tom Steel and O'Gorman Mahon; the former a Protestant, the other a Roman Catholic: both men remarkable for their chivalrous bearing, and a dashing, reckless spirit, which takes with the Irish peasantry. A third agitator entered the field in the person of honest Jack Lawless, another leading member of the Association, and one of its most effective speakers. This band was soon joined by Father Tom Maguire, a famous controversialist, from the county of Leitrim, who had just been engaged in a discussion with the Rev. Mr. Pope, and was hailed by the peasantry as the triumphant champion of their faith. There was also a barrister, Mr. Dominick Ronayne, who spoke the Irish language, and who, throwing an educated mind into the powerful idiom of the country, produced great effects upon the passions of the people. Mr. Sheil, second only to O'Connell in energy and influence, and superior to him in the higher attributes of the orator, in the fiery temperament and imaginative faculty which constitute genius, flung himself into the arena with the greatest ardour. On the Sunday previous to the election each of these agitators was dispatched to a chapel situated in a district which was the stronghold of one or other of the most popular landlords, for the purpose of haranguing the people after mass, and rousing their enthusiasm to the highest pitch. Mr. Sheil went to a place called Corrofin, situated in a mountainous district, the property of Sir Edward O'Brien, father of Mr. Smith O'Brien, who drove to the place in his carriage, drawn by four horses. There he saw the whole population congregated, having advanced from the rocky hills in large bands, waving green boughs, and preceded by fifes and pipers. The hitherto popular landlord was received in solemn silence, while his antagonist, Mr. Sheil, was hailed with rapturous applause. Sir Edward O'Brien consequently lost heart, and, leaving his phaeton opposite the chapel-door, went to church. Mr. Sheil gives a graphic description of Father Murphy, the priest of this rudely constructed mountain chapel. His form was tall, slender, and emaciated; "his ample hand was worn to a skinny meagretude; his face was long, sunken, and cadaverous, but was illuminated by eyes blazing with all the fire of genius and the enthusiasm of religion; his lank black hair fell down in straight lines along a lofty forehead. The sun was shining with brilliancy, and rendered his figure, attired as it was in white garments, more conspicuous. The scenery about was in harmonyit was wild and desolate." This priest met the envoy of the Association on the threshold of his mountain temple, and hailed him with a solemn greeting. After mass the priest delivered an impassioned harangue. The spirit of sarcasm gleamed over his features, and shouts of laughter attended his description of a miserable Catholic who should prove recreant to the great cause by making a sacrifice of his country to his landlord. "The close of his speech," says Mr. Sheil, "was peculiarly effective. He became inflamed by the power of his emotions, and, while he raised himself into the loftiest attitude to which he could ascend, he laid one hand on the altar and shook the other in the spirit of almost prophetic admonition, and, while his eyes blazed and seemed to start from his forehead, thick drops fell down his face, and his voice rolled through lips livid with passion and covered with foam. It is almost unnecessary to say that such an appeal was irresistible. The multitude burst into shouts of acclamation, and would have been ready to mount a battery roaring with cannon at his command. Two days[273] afterwards the results were felt at the hustings, and while Sir Edward O'Brien stood aghast, Father Murphy marched into Ennis at the head of his tenantry, and polled them to a man in favour of Daniel O'Connell."

The warder silent on the hill."

On the 3rd Parliament assembled, and the nation was full of expectation as to the measures of the Government. The great question of the day was understood to have been under their anxious consideration during the winter. It subsequently transpired that the measure of Reform contemplated by Lord Grey at the close of the year was far more moderate than the one which was brought forward by Lord John Russell. The material increase in the amount of concession was said to be chiefly owing to the growing demands of the people, enlightened by the discussions in the political unions. Lord Durham was the most advanced Liberal in the Cabinet, and most strenuously insisted on the necessity of a very liberal measure. In order that the Bill might be well matured, and might fully meet the wants of the country, Lord Grey appointed a committee to consider the whole subject, and report upon it to the Cabinet. This committee consisted of his son-in-law, Lord Durham, who was intimately acquainted with his own views; Lord John Russell, who had represented the Whig party in the House of Commons in the various proposals that he had made on the subject of Reform; Sir James Graham, who enjoyed the confidence of the advanced Liberals, and was considered something more than a Whig; and Lord Duncannon, who was supposed to be well acquainted with the Irish corporations. According to the general instructions given to the[329] committee, they were to prepare the outlines of a measure which should be sufficiently comprehensive to meet the demands of public opinion, so as to extinguish the desire for further change. But it must rest upon property as its basis, and be connected with existing territorial divisions. He wished that the prerogative of the Crown should be in no degree diminished, that the peers should lose none of their rights or privileges; but that, saving these, the democracy should play its due part in the legislation and government of the country. The committee began to work as soon as the Administration was organised. They first discussed the principles involved in the measure, then the details were separately examined, and when a point was decided and agreed upon, it was recorded in writing by Lord Durham. Lord John Russell furnished the materials for Schedules A and B, which were supplied to him by coadjutors, who were labouring diligently out of doors facilitating the work. The first draft of the measure, as adopted by the committee, was explained by Lord Durham in the form of a report to the Cabinet, showing how the plans thus propounded would fulfil the conditions required, and, by satisfying all reasonable desires, stop the tendency to innovation. The scheme, when thus placed before the Cabinet, became the subject of their anxious deliberation, and was unanimously adopted by them, with the exception of the ballot, which was rejected owing to Lord Grey's objections. It was then submitted to the king at Brighton, a few days from the meeting of Parliament, was discussed with him from point to point, and sanctioned. Sir Henry arrived at Calcutta in September, 1844. He found that tranquillity prevailed throughout the empire, and applied his energies to the formation of railways. But he had soon to encounter the exigencies of war. Notwithstanding the stringent injunctions he had received to cultivate the most amicable spirit with the Sikhs, he was obliged to tax the resources of the empire in maintaining with them one of the most desperate conflicts recorded in Indian history. The Sikhs were a warlike race, distinguished not less by fanaticism than bravery. They were bound together and inspired by the most powerful religious convictionsa tall, muscular, and athletic race of men, full of patriotic ardour, elevated by an ancient faith. They were confederated in various provinces, to the number of about 7,000,000. They were accustomed to ride upon fleet horses, and had organised an effective cavalry, while their infantry had been disciplined by French and Italian officers. They could, if necessary, bring into the field 260,000 fighting men; but their regular army now consisted of 73,000 men with 200 pieces of artillery. Settled chiefly in the Punjab, a country of extraordinary fertility, they also abounded in Mooltan, Afghanistan, and Cashmere, celebrated from the most ancient times as the favoured abode of manufacturing industry, social order, wealth, and happiness. This warlike race had been governed by Runjeet Singh, a chief of extraordinary ability, energy, and determination. He had but one eye; he was deeply marked with the small-pox; his aspect was repulsive, and his manner rude; yet was he looked up to by this great people with respectful homage, and obeyed with implicit trust. While he lived he maintained an alliance with the British Government; but after his death the Sikhs were divided into two factionsone headed by Gholab Singh, and professing to be favourable to the British; the other by the Ranee, who yielded to the clamours of the unpaid soldiers to be led against the English. Accordingly the[597] military forces of the Sikhs were ordered to march down to the Sutlej. But their intended attack was prevented by the astrologers, who declared that the auspicious day for marching had not yet arrived. Sir Henry Hardinge, however, in common with the most experienced officers of the Indian Government, did not think the Sikh army would cross the Sutlej with its infantry and artillery, or that they would have recourse to offensive operations on a large scale. Up to this period it had committed no act of aggression. In 1843 and 1844 it had moved down the river from Lahore, and after remaining there encamped a few weeks, had returned to the capital. These reasons, and, above all, his extreme anxiety to avoid hostilities, induced him not to make any hasty movement with his army, which, when the two armies came into each other's presence, might bring about a collision. This moderation, however, was misconstrued by the Sikhs. They supposed that the British were afraid to encounter them. Accordingly, on the night of the 9th of December, 1845, a portion of the Sikh army appeared within three miles of the Sutlej; and information was received by our garrison at Ferozepore that preparations were making on a large scale for the movement of infantry, artillery, and stores from the Sikh capital, Lahore. On the 12th of December the Sikh army crossed the Sutlej, and concentrated in great force on the British side of the river. The British reserves, meanwhile, were advancing to meet this formidable enemy; but they were still far off, and Ferozepore had but a garrison of 9,500 men to withstand an army of 60,000 with 100 guns! Sir Charles Napier wrote in his "Memoirs" that he did not think history would let off Sir Henry Hardinge for allowing such an army to cross the river unmolested, and entrench itself on the other side. It is quite certain that Sir Charles would not have given them such an advantage. But their generals did not know how to use it. Sir Henry Hardinge had hastened in person to assist General Gough in conducting the operations against the enemy, and both putting themselves at the head of the advanced guard, they were followed by the reserves, marching at the rate of twenty-six miles a day, full of excitement at the prospect of more fighting.

The coasting trade carried on by means of steamers underwent an astounding development during the twenty years now under review. In 1820 there were but nine steamers engaged in it, with a tonnage of 500. The next year there were 188 steamers, and thenceforth they went on doubling for several years. In 1830 the number of vessels was nearly 7,000, with a tonnage of more than a million; in 1840 it was upwards of 15,000, with a tonnage of nearly three millions; and in 1849 it was 18,343, with a tonnage of upwards of four millions and a quarter. This account does not include vessels arriving and departing in ballast or with passengers only, which are not required to enter the Custom House. Steam-vessels were not employed in this kingdom for conveying goods coastwise before 1820, nor in foreign trade, except for the conveyance of passengers, earlier than 1822. In the foreign trade the number of steamers increased gradually from that year till they reached the number of 4,000, with an aggregate tonnage of 800,000.