杞县--河南频道--人民网

The Swiss acted a more cautious part. Fearful that Napoleon might yet, by some other wonderful chance, regain his power, they summoned a Diet, passed an order for the neutrality of the cantons, and issued an order calling on the Allies to respect this, and not attempt to march troops through their country. This would have suited Buonaparte extremely well, as it would have closed his eastern frontiers to the Austrians, who were marching that way under Count Bubna; but the Austrians informed the Swiss authorities that they should certainly march through; and the Allied sovereigns dispatched Count Capo d'Istria and Herr Lebzeltern to Zurich to state that the power of France over Switzerland was at an end, and to desire them to send deputies to meet them, and to establish an independent government for Switzerland. Thus assured, the greater part of the cantons sent their deputies to Zurich, who proclaimed the restoration of national independence, and gave free consent for the armies of the Allies to march through the country. [See larger version]

But Napoleon would not listen to the transfer of Norway; that was the territory of his firm ally, Denmark: Finland he might have, but not Norway. In October of the same year an English agent landed at Gothenburg, eluded the French spies, traversed, by night, woods, bogs, and hills, and, in a small village of the interior of Sweden, met a Swedish agent, where the terms of a treaty were settled, in which Russia and Turkey, Britain and Sweden, were the contracting powers;[8] by which Sweden was to receive Norway, and renounce for ever Finland; and Alexander and Bernadotte were to unite all their talents, powers, and experience against France. In the following January the sudden invasion of Swedish Pomerania by the French showed that the crisis was come, and that henceforth Napoleon and Bernadotte were irreconcilable opponents. From that time offers of alliance and aid poured in from all quarters. Prussia sent secret messages, and concerted common measures with Russia. The insurgents of Spain and Portugal, where Wellington was in active operationeven the old Bourbon dynastypaid court to him. Moreau returned from America to fight under his banners, and emigrants flocked from all quarters to combine their efforts against the universal foeNapoleon.

The news, when it reached England, produced a transport of exultation. Bells were rung, cannon fired, and great rejoicings made, anticipatory of fresh tidings of wonderful success. But very different was the reality. Wentworth called on Vernon to bombard Carthagena from the harbour, whilst he assailed it on land; but Vernon replied that he could not get near enough to attack the town effectually, and that Wentworth must attempt the reduction of the Fort San Lazaro, which commanded the town, and might be taken by escalade. This was[76] attempted, and while our men were thus standing under a murderous fire, they discovered, to their consternation, that their scaling ladders were too short. But the escalade was persisted in: they remained splicing their ladders, and a detachment of Grenadiers, under Colonel Grant, reached the top of a rampart; but Grant was instantly killed, and the Grenadiers hurled back over the wall. Still, the bull-dog spirit of the English made them persist in this desperate attempt, till six hundredthat is, half of them, lay dead, when they drew off. Whilst these violent dissensions had sprung up from the French Revolution, Wilberforce and his coadjutors had been active in their exertions to abolish the Slave Trade. Thomas Clarkson, now devoted heart and soul to this object, was, with Dr. Dickson, sent out by the parent Anti-Slavery Society through the country, to call into life provincial societies and committees, and found themselves zealously supported and warmly welcomed by philanthropists, and especially by the Society of Friends. They circulated the evidence taken before the House of Commons' Committee, and made a great impression. On the other hand, the French Revolution proved as antagonistic to the cause of the abolitionists as it had to the friendship of Burke and Fox. The dreadful insurrection in St. Domingo was attributed to the formation of the Society in Paris of Les Amis des Noirs, and many otherwise enlightened men took the alarm, lest similar scenes in our West Indian colonies should be the result of the doctrines of the abolitionists. Few persons could be found willing to entertain the idea of immediate abolition of the trade in slaves; and even Dr. Parr, though a great Whig and adherent of Fox, declared that these Utopian schemes of liberty to blacks were alarming to serious men. Wilberforce was earnestly entreated to reconsider his plan; he was assured that immediate abolition would not pass the Commons, nor even gradual abolition the Lords. Wilberforce, however, could not be deterred from bringing on the question. On the 18th of April he moved for leave to bring in a Bill to prevent the introduction of any more slaves into our colonies. Besides showing the cruelties practised in the collection and transmission of negroes, he brought forward evidence to prove that, so far from this trade being, as had been represented before the Committee of the Commons, the nursery of British seamen, it was their grave. He showed that of twelve thousand two hundred and sixty-three men employed in it, two thousand six hundred and forty-five had been lost in twelve months. This was calculated to produce far less effect than the surrender of hundreds of thousands of negroes, inasmuch as profit and loss was a more telling argument with the slave traders than mere humanity; and they exerted all their influence in defence of their traffic. Wilberforce added that even had this trade really been a beneficial one as regarded mere political economy, there was a smell of blood about it that all the perfumes of Arabia could not disguise. He was ably supported by Fox and Pitt; but, on this occasion, the Prime Minister could not command[381] his large majority; the motion was lost by one hundred and sixty-three against eighty-eight.

[521] "When corn is at 59s., and under 60s., the duty at present is 27s. 8d. When corn is between those prices, the duty I propose is 13s. When the price of corn is at 50s. the existing duty is 36s. 8d., increasing as the price falls; instead of which I propose, when corn is at 50s. that the duty shall only be 20s., and that that duty shall in no case be exceeded. At 56s. the existing duty is 30s. 8d.; the duty I propose at that price is 16s. At 60s. the existing duty is 26s. 8d.; the duty I propose at that price is 12s. At 63s. the existing duty is 23s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 9s. At 64s. the existing duty is 22s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 8s. At 70s. the existing duty is 10s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 5s. Therefore it is impossible to deny, on comparing the duty which I propose with that which exists at present, that it will cause a very considerable decrease of the protection which the present duty affords to the home grower, a decrease, however, which in my opinion can be made consistently with justice to all the interests concerned."

Walpole was instantly on the alert on this startling discovery. He prevailed on the king to put off his journey to Germany. Troops were drawn round London and a camp was formed in Hyde Park. The king took up his residence at Kensington, in the midst of the soldiers, and the Prince of Wales retired to Richmond. General Macartney was dispatched for still more troops from Ireland; some suspected persons were arrested in Scotland; the States of Holland were solicited to have ships and soldiers in readiness; an order was obtained from the Court of Madrid to forbid the embarkation of Ormonde; and General Churchill was dispatched to Paris to make all secure with the Regent. Atterbury was arrested on the 24th of August.

TRICOTEUSE, OR KNITTING WOMAN, OF THE NATIONAL CONVENTION.

When the new Parliament met, on the 18th of May, it was seen how completely Fox and North had destroyed their prestige by their late factious conduct, and how entirely Pitt had made himself master of the situation. His patience and cool policy under the tempestuous assaults of the Opposition had given the country a wonderful confidence in him. One party extolled him as the staunch defender of the prerogative, another as the champion of reform and enemy of aristocratic influence. Not less than one hundred and sixty of the supporters of the late Coalition Ministry had been rejected at the elections, and they were held up to ridicule as "Fox's Martyrs."

The Repeal Agitation in Ireland, which had been thoroughly organised in 1842 by "Repeal Missionaries" who had visited every parish in the country, reached its culminating point in 1843. Early in February that year Mr. O'Connell, who had filled the civic chair the previous year, and was then an alderman of the Dublin Corporation, gave notice that, on the 21st of that month, he would move a resolution, affirming the right of Ireland to a resident Parliament, and the necessity of repealing the union. Alderman Butt expressed his determination of opposing the motion. Mr. Butt was one of the ablest members of the Irish bar, and a leader of the Conservative party. The debate was therefore anticipated with the greatest interest, as it promised to be a very exciting political duel. The old Assembly House, since abandoned for the more commodious City Hall, was densely crowded by the principal citizens, while the street was thronged by the populace during the debate. Mr. O'Connell marshalled his arguments under many heads: Ireland's capacity for independenceher right to have a Parliament of her ownthe establishment of that right in 1782the prosperity that followedthe incompetence of the Irish Parliament to destroy the Constitutionthe corrupt means by which the union was carriedits disastrous results, and the national benefits that would follow its repeal. The speech, which lasted four hours, was mainly argumentative and statistical. It was accepted by his followers as an elaborate and masterly statement of the case. Mr. Butt replied with equal ability and more fervid eloquence. The debate was adjourned. Next day other members took part in it. It was again adjourned, and as the contest proceeded the public excitement rose to fever heat. At two o'clock on the third day Mr. O'Connell rose to reply. "No report," says Mr. O'Neil Daunt, "could possibly do justice to that magnificent reply. The consciousness of a great moral triumph seemed to animate his voice, his[526] glance, and his gestures. Never had I heard him so eloquent, never had I witnessed so noble a display of his transcendent powers." The division showed that 41 were in favour of a domestic legislature and 15 were opposed to it.

THE PRIESTLEY RIOTS AT BIRMINGHAM (see p. 384)