省政府召开新一届行政复议委员会全体会议 吴政隆出席并讲话

The main subject for consideration at that moment was the policy of continuing the Act for the suppression of the Catholic Association, which was to expire at the end of the Session of 1828. In connection with this subject a letter from Lord Anglesey came under the Ministry's consideration. "Do keep matters quiet in Parliament," he said, "if possible. The less that is said of Catholic and Protestant the better. It would be presumptuous to form an opinion, or even a sanguine hope, in so short a time, yet I cannot but think there is much reciprocal inclination to get rid of the bugbear, and soften down asperities. I am by no means sure that even the most violent would not be glad of an excuse for being less violent. Even at the Association they are at a loss to keep up the extreme irritation they had accomplished; and if they find they are not violently opposed, and that there is no disposition on the part of Government to coercion, I do believe they will dwindle into moderation. If, however, we have a mind to have a good blaze again, we may at once command it by re-enacting the expiring Bill, and when we have improved it and rendered it perfect, we shall find that it will not be acted upon. In short, I shall back Messrs. O'Connell's and Sheil's, and others' evasions against the Crown lawyers' laws." In vain did Poniatowski remonstrate; he had no means of resistance. The Turks could no longer defend themselves from Russian invasion, much less assist Poland. They applied to Frederick to intercede with Catherine for peace for them. Nothing could so entirely suit Frederick's plans. He sent Prince Henry of Prussia to negotiate with Catherine, who took the opportunity to represent to her the advantages to the three great powers, Russia, Prussia, and Austria, strengthening themselves by appropriating portions of Poland. The Russians, relieved from contention with the Poles, now pushed on their victories against the Turks; drove them over the Danube, and seized some of their most fertile provinces. To complete their ruin, they, aided by England, attacked and destroyed their fleet in the Mediterranean.

Carteretor Granville, as we must now style him, for he succeeded to the earldom in 1744still retained the favour of the king precisely in the same degree as he had forfeited that of the people and the Parliament, by his unscrupulous support of George's Hanoverian predilections. Elated with the favour of the king, Granville insisted on exercising the same supreme power in the Cabinet which Walpole had done. This drove Pelham and his brother, Newcastle, to inform the king that they or Granville must resign. George, unwilling to part with Granville, yet afraid of offending the Pelham party, and risking their support of the large subsidies which he required for Germany, was in a great strait. He sent for Lord Orford up from Houghton, who attended, though in the extreme agonies of the stone, which, in a few months later, brought him to his end. Walpole, notwithstanding the strong desire of the king to retain Granville, and that also of the Prince of Waleswho on this and all points connected with Hanover agreed with the king, though no one else diddecided that it was absolutely necessary that he should resign; and accordingly, on the 24th of November, Granville sullenly resigned the seals, and they were returned to his predecessor, the Earl of Harrington. Affairs had now assumed such an aspect that the different sections of the Opposition saw the necessity of coalescing more, and attending zealously; but still they were divided as to the means to be pursued. A great meeting was held on the 27th of November at the Marquis of Rockingham's, to decide on a plan of action. It was concluded to move for a committee on the state of the nation, and Chatham being applied to, advised that the very next day notice should be given that such a motion should be made on Tuesday next, the 2nd of December. The motion was made, the committee granted, and in it the Duke of Richmond moved for the production of the returns of the army and navy in America and Ireland. Whilst Lord Northwho, if he had been his own master, would have resignedwas refusing to produce the necessary papers, the Lords consented to this measure; and at this very moment came news of the surrender at Saratoga, which was speedily confirmed.

The news of these imposts, and of this intended stamp duty, flew across the Atlantic, and produced the most bitter excitement. Never could this unwelcome news have reached the colonies at a more unpropitious moment. To restrictions on their legitimate trade, the British had been adding others on their illegitimate trade. Nearly all the American colonies lay on the seaboard, and were, therefore, naturally addicted to a free sort of trade, which these new duties made contraband. The British Government had sent out a number of revenue ships and officers to cut off this trade, and capture and confiscate all vessels found practising it. The colonists met in various places, and passed very strong resolutions against these regulations. The people of New England spread their views and resolves all over the colonies by means of the press. They refused to listen to any overtures of the British Government on the subject. They claimed the right to grant, of their own free will, such contributions to the revenue of the empire as their own assemblies should deem just, and to submit to no compulsion where they had no voice. They called on all the colonists to refrain as much as possible from purchasing any of the manufactures of England so long as she showed a disposition to oppress them, and to obtain their materials for clothing from other countries, or to begin to manufacture them themselves; and to cease also to use all luxuries on which the duties were laid. To make their case known in England, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Georgia appointed the celebrated Benjamin Franklin their agent in London. [See larger version] On Newcastle's resignation Bute placed himself at the head of the Treasury, and named Grenville Secretary of Statea fatal nomination, for Grenville lost America. Lord Barrington, though an adherent of Newcastle, became Treasurer of the Navy, and Sir Francis Dashwood Chancellor of the Exchequer. Bute, who, like all weak favourites, had not the sense to perceive that it was necessary to be moderate to acquire permanent power, immediately obtained a vacant Garter, and thus parading the royal favours, augmented the rapidly growing unpopularity which his want of sagacity and honourable principle was fast creating. He was beset by legions of libels, which fully exposed his incapacity, and as freely dealt with the connection between himself and the mother of the king.

[334]

On the declaration of war, Buonaparte resorted to a proceeding that had never been practised before, and which excited the most violent indignation in England. He ordered the detention of British subjects then in France, as prisoners of war. Talleyrand previously assured some British travellers, who applied to him for information, that they had nothing to fear; that their persons would be safe under the protection of a Government which, unlike that of Britain, observed the laws of nations, and Buonaparte caused his well-known agent, Louis Goldsmith, the editor of a French paper, the Argus, published in London, to insert the same assurance in that journal. Thus thrown off their guard, all the British in France were seized by authority of a proclamation of the 22nd of May. Numbers of these were families and individuals not resident in France, but merely hurrying home from Italy, Switzerland, etc. They numbered some 12,000, and were kept confined till the close of the wars. The pretext was the capture of two ships before war was declared, but they were not captured until the Ambassadors had withdrawn, or until an embargo had been laid by Napoleon on British shipping.

But the loss of the Allies had also been perfectly awful. The Prussians, besides the great slaughter at Ligny, had been engaged in a bloody struggle at Planchenoit, and the British and their Allies had lost in the battle of Waterloo two thousand four hundred and thirty-two killed, and nine thousand five hundred and twenty-eight wounded; these, added to the numbers killed and wounded at Quatre Bras, raised the total to fifteen thousand. Of British and Hanoverian officers alone six hundred were killed or wounded at Waterloo. The Duke of Brunswick fell at the head of his troops at Quatre Bras, without having the satisfaction of witnessing the final ruin of Buonaparte. So many of Wellington's staff were disabled that he had at one time no officer to dispatch with a pressing order. A young Piedmontese, of the family of De Salis, offered himself. "Were you ever in a battle before?" asked the Duke. "No, sir," he replied. "Then," said the Duke, "you are a lucky man, for you will never see such another." When the Duke, who had witnessed so many bloody battles, saw the carnage of Waterloo, and heard, one after another, the losses of so many companions in arms, he was quite overcome. In his despatches he says: "I cannot express the regret and sorrow with which I look round me, and contemplate the losses that we have sustained." And again, "The losses I have sustained have quite broken me down, and I have no feeling for the advantages we have gained."

A second question regarding the late Minister became immediately necessary. He had died deeply in debt. It was one of the fine qualities of Pitt that he never had a love of money, or an ambition to create a great estate at the expense of the country, like too many statesmen. At an early period of Pitt's ministerial career, though a bachelor, he was so hopelessly in debt, that his friend, Robert Smith, afterwards Baron Carrington, had looked into his affairs, and declared that, of all scenes of domestic robbery by servants, and wild charges by tradesmen, he had never witnessed anything to compare with it. The financial management of his own income and that of the nation were just on a par in Pitt's case. He let his own money go like water, and he would have flung any quantity of the nation's property away on his quixotic scheme of propping up the thoroughly rotten and hopeless condition of the Continental governments. A strong effort was now made by such of Pitt's creditors as had advanced money to him, to be repaid by the nation. In this endeavour none were more eager than his great friends and relatives, who had been enabled by him to draw a hundredfold from the nation what they had lent him. Wilberforce, however, proposed that they should not only forego their individual claims, but should contribute each a moderate sum towards the raising of forty thousand pounds, which would pay his tradesmen; but here the great relatives and friends became dumb and motionless. Spencer Perceval offered a thousand pounds, and one or two others made some offers; but the appeal was in vain, and a motion was proposed by Mr. Cartwright, on the 3rd of February, that the nation should pay this sum. This was carried at once.

MR. HUSKISSON.

But General Lambert did not retire far without striking another blow. His predecessor had failed to take New Orleans, but he had brought away the troops in excellent order, and he passed over in Sir Alexander Cochrane's squadron and attacked and took the important forts of Mobile, at the confluence of the Mobile, Tombigbee, and Alabama riversthe territories around which have since grown into States. This was a basis for important operations on those shores; but they were rendered unnecessary by the peace.

The king's speech, at the opening of this Session, recommended a consideration of the trade and general condition of Ireland; and indeed it was time, for the concessions which had been made by the Rockingham Ministry had only created a momentary tranquillity. The Volunteers retaining their arms in their hands after the close of the American war, were evidently bent on imitating the proceedings of the Americans, and the direction of the movement passed from Grattan to Flood. In September, 1785, delegates from all the Volunteer corps in Ireland met at Dungannon, representing one hundred thousand men, who passed resolutions declaring their independence of the legislature of Great Britain. The delegates at Dungannon claimed the right to reform the national Parliament, and appointed a Convention to meet in Dublin in the month of November, consisting of delegates from the whole Volunteer army in Ireland. Accordingly, on the 10th of November, the great Convention met in Dublin, and held their meetings in the Royal Exchange. They demanded a thorough remodelling of the Irish Constitution. They declared that as matters stood the Irish House of Commons was wholly independent of the people; that its term of duration was equally unconstitutional; and they passed zealous votes of thanks to their friends in England. These friends were the ultra-Reformers of England, who had freely tendered the Irish Reformers their advice and sympathy. The Irish people were ready to hail the delegates as their true Parliament, and the regular Parliament as pretenders. Within Parliament House itself the most violent contentions were exhibited between the partisans of the Volunteer Parliament and the more orthodox reformers. Henry Flood was the prominent advocate of the extreme movement, and Grattan, who regarded this agitation as certain to end only in fresh coercion, instead of augmented liberty for Ireland, vehemently opposed it.