中日韩三国记者“环保行”联合采访——中国

GENERAL ELECTION OF 1784: MASTER BILLY'S PROCESSION TO GROCERS' HALLPITT PRESENTED WITH THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF LONDON. (Reduced facsimile of the Caricature by T. Rowlandson.)

That the spirit of the Bostonians had ripened into actual rebellion was unequivocally shown in the course of the year 1773. The Gaspee Government schooner, commanded by Lieutenant Dudingston, had been singularly active in putting down smuggling about Rhode Island. The Rhode Island packet coming in one evening from Newport to Providence, instigated by the general anger against the Gaspeefor the Rhode Islanders were great smugglersrefused to pay the usual compliment of lowering the flag to the schooner. Dudingston fired a shot across her bows, and, on her paying no regard to that, gave chase. The packet, however, ran close in shore, and the Gaspee following too eagerly, ran aground. It was on a sandy bottom, and the return of the tide would have lifted her off undamaged; but the smuggling population of Providence put off to her in the night, whilst she lay in a position so as to be incapable of using her guns, surprised, boarded, and set fire to her, carrying the lieutenant and the crew triumphantly on shore. Government offered a reward of five hundred pounds for the discovery of the perpetrators of this daring outrage; but though it was well known who the perpetrators were, no one would give any information. On the contrary, the most violent threats were uttered against any one who should do so. 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.

He immediately made use of the opportunity with great skill. In his reply he urged that Fox was announcing a doctrine destructive of the Constitution; that he was denying the right by which Parliament had placed the present family on the throne, and he asserted that the Prince of Wales had no more natural right to assume the regency than any other individual. This led to the severest censures of the Premier by Burke, who declared that Pitt was making himself a dictator, and changing the succession to the regal power in England from hereditary to elective. The same doctrine was announced and combated in the Lords; but there, though Thurlow was silent, waiting to see how matters would go before he hazarded an opinion, Loughborough boldly supported Fox's doctrine, and declared that had the derangement of the king taken place during the non-existence of Parliament, the prince undoubtedly would have been warranted in issuing writs and summoning one. On the 15th of December the Duke of York and his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, both spoke on the question, expressing their sense of the inexpediency of pressing the delicate question of right, and stating that Parliament could proceed to invest the Prince of Wales with the powers of the regency without waiting, as they certainly could not appoint any one else. Thurlow had by this time found that he had no chance with the Whigs, and he now, with unblushing assurance, took the part of Pitt, though every one knew why he had been hanging back till this moment. He declared that he could not see how Parliament could avoid coming to some conclusion on the question of right, seeing that it had been raised. At the same time, he made a most pretendedly pious defence of the rights of the king against the prince and the Whigs, exclaiming"When I forget my king, may God forget me!" John Wilkes, who was standing in a knot of spectators near the throne, and within a few feet of Thurlow, expressed his disgust at this duplicity in his characteristically vigorous fashion.

For this Keppel was much blamed, as it was considered that the papers might have been made out in order to deceive him. The number of the French fleet, however, soon proved to be correct, for, during Keppel's absence, it sailed out of Brest, under the command of Admiral D'Orvilliers. Keppel, returning with his squadron augmented to thirty vessels of the line, found D'Orvilliers out at sea, and the Lively, twenty-gun brig, which he had left to watch the motions of the French, surprised by them in a fog, and captured. On the 27th of July Keppel came up with D'Orvilliers off Ushant, and instantly gave battle. The two fleets passed each other on different tacks, keeping up a furious cannonade for two hours. Keppel then signalled his second in command, Sir Hugh Palliser, to wear round and renew the attack; but Palliser had received so much injury, that he could not or did not obey the signal. Keppel, therefore, bore down to join Palliser's division, and formed afresh for the fight. But by this time D'Orvilliers was making for Brest as fast as he could, claiming a victory. Night came down, and the next morning the French fleet was nearly out of sight. On this, Keppel returned to England to refit, much out of humour with Palliser. Parliament was opened by commission on the 5th of February, 1829. The state of Ireland was the chief topic of the Royal Speech. The existence of the Catholic Association was referred to as inimical to the public peace; and its suppression was recommended, as a necessary preliminary to the consideration of the disabilities affecting the Roman Catholics. This part of the Speech excited much interest, as preluding the great contest of the Session. On the 4th Mr. Peel had written to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, resigning his seat for the University, which he had won from Canning on the strength of his anti-Catholic principles. He need not have resigned, but he acted the more honourable part. Having offered himself for re-election, he was opposed by Sir Robert Inglis, who, after a contest which lasted three days, during which 1,364 votes were polled, was elected by a majority of 146. As one of the most numerous convocations ever held in Oxford had, in the previous year, by a majority of three to one, voted against concession to the Roman Catholics, it was a matter of surprise that the Home Secretary was not defeated by a larger majority. He secured a seat with some difficulty at Westbury. On the 10th, Mr. Peel, while still member for Oxford, introduced the first of the three measures intended for the pacification of Irelanda Bill for the suppression of the Catholic Association. As it was known to be an essential condition of granting Emancipation, there was little opposition to it either in Parliament or in Ireland. By it the Lord-Lieutenant was empowered to disperse the meetings of any association he thought dangerous to the public peace. The Bill quickly passed both Houses, and in a few days received the Royal Assent. Anticipating the action of the executive, the Association, on the 12th of February, dissolved itself, with the unanimous concurrence of the bishops, Mr. Sheil stating at the meeting that he was authorised to throw twenty-two mitres into the scale.

MARSHAL LANNES AT RATISBON. (See p. 587.)

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Meanwhile, Florida Blanca had planned the capture of Minorca. He prevailed on France, though with difficulty, to assist. The Duke de Crillon, a Frenchman, was made commander of the expedition, and on the 22nd of July the united fleets of France and Spain sailed out of Cadiz Bay, and stretched out into the ocean, as if intending to make a descent on England. The main part of the fleet did, in fact, sail into the English Channel. But they did not venture to attack Admiral Darby, and contented themselves with picking up a number of merchant vessels; and again dissensions and disease breaking out, this great fleet separated, and each nation returned to its respective ports, without effecting anything worthy of such an armament. But a lesser portion of this fleet, on coming out of harbour, carrying eight thousand troops, stores, and ordnance, had passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and[285] appeared suddenly before Port Mahon. On the 19th of August the troops were landed near Port Mahon, and, being favoured by the inhabitants, once under the sway of Spain, and good Catholics, they soon invested the fort, and compelled General Murray, who formerly so bravely defended Quebec, to retire to Fort St. Philip, leaving the town of Port Mahon in their possession. Despite the resolute defence of his men, Murray was forced to surrender the island.

In the East Indies France agreed to keep no troops, and raise no fortifications in Bengal, and on these conditions their settlements were restored, but merely as places of trade. Goree, on the coast of Africa, was restored, but Senegal was surrendered.