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The struggle for ascendency proceeding, Walpole and his party secured the interest of the Duchess of Kendal, who always took care to side with that which she thought the stronger. Carteret and his party, on the other hand, secured the interest of the other mistress, the Countess of Darlington, and her sister, Madame de Platen. Whilst affairs were in this position, the two Secretaries of State, Townshend and Carteret, accompanied the king to Hanover. There came upon the tapis the question of a marriage between the Count St. Florentin, the son of La Vrillire, the Secretary of State for France, and a daughter of Madame de Platen. Madame de Platen, however, demanded that La Vrillire should be made a duke, so that in due course of time her daughter would be a duchess. George I. warmly seconded this demand; and, had Bolingbroke used his influence, there was little doubt that it would have been accomplished. But the French nobility raised a huge outcry against this honour being conferred on the family of La Vrillire, which they deemed too obscure for such a dignity. Bolingbroke, however, was seeking his own objects through the other mistress, the Duchess of Kendal; and, notwithstanding the repulse which he had received from Walpole, he still calculated that his power would prevail, and he therefore smothered his personal vexation, and remained on the side of the Duchess of Kendal and Walpole, leaving Carteret and his allies, the Platens, to fight their own battle.

An address, founded on this resolution, was carried to the king, who faithfully kept the word he had given nearly three years before. Chatham had then, through Lord North, sought to get his own pension continued to his second son, William Pitt, afterwards the celebrated Minister. On that occasion, George III. had declared that the conduct of Chatham of late had totally obliterated any sense of gratitude for his former merits; but that, when decrepitude or death should put an end to him as a trumpet of sedition, he would not punish the children for the father's sins, but would place the second son's name where Chatham's had been. He now consented to that; an annuity bill settled four thousand pounds a-year on the heirs of Chatham to whom the title should descend, which received the sanction of Parliament; and the Commons, moreover, voted twenty thousand pounds to pay the deceased Earl's debts. Both these motions passed the House of Commons unanimously; but, in the Upper House, the Duke of Chandos attacked the grants, and condemned severely the custom of loading the country with annuities in perpetuity. The bill was, however, carried by forty-two votes to eleven, though four noble Lords entered a protest against it, namely, Lord Chancellor Bathurst, the Duke of Chandos, Lord Paget, and Markham, Archbishop of York. The Chambers were opened by the king on the 2nd of March, 1830, with a speech which conveyed a threat to the French nation. "If culpable man?uvres," he said, "should raise up against my Government obstacles which I do not wish to foresee, I shall find the power of surmounting them in my resolution to maintain the public peace, in my just confidence in Frenchmen, and in the love which they have always borne to their kings." The Chambers did not hesitate to express their want of confidence in the Government. The king having declared that his intentions were immutable, no alternative remained but a dissolution, as he was resolved to try once more whether a majority could be obtained by fair means or foul. In this last appeal to public opinion he was bitterly disappointed. It scarcely required a prophet to foresee the near approach of some great change; nor could the result of the impending struggle appear doubtful. Nine-tenths of the community were favourable to a constitutional system. Not only the working classes, but the mercantile and trading classes, as well as the professional classes, and all the most intelligent part of the nation, were decidedly hostile to the Government. In Paris the majority against the Ministerial candidates was seven or eight to one. The press, with scarcely an exception, was vehement in its condemnation of the policy of the Government, which came to the conclusion that it was not enough to abolish the Constitution, but[316] that, in order to insure the success of a purely despotic rgime, it was absolutely necessary to destroy the liberty of the press, and to put down journalism by force. Accordingly, a report on this subject was addressed to the king, recommending its suppression. It was drawn up by M. Chantelauze, and signed by De Polignac and five other Ministers.

On the 29th of January, 1823, the King of France opened the Chambers with a speech of decidedly warlike tone. It spoke of 100,000 French soldiers prepared to march under a prince of the blood for the deliverance of Ferdinand VII. and his loyal people from the tyranny of a portion. A few weeks afterwards the march commenced, and from the Bidassoa to Madrid it was a continued triumph. The king was set at liberty, and the gates of Cadiz were opened. The Spaniards were not true to themselves, the mass of the people being unable to appreciate liberal institutions. There was also a counter-revolution in Portugal, aided by foreign bayonets, restoring the despotic system. These events produced great dissatisfaction in England, and the Duke was strongly censured for the timidity of his tone in the Congress. Replying to attacks made in the Upper House by Lords Ellenborough, Holland, and Grey, he asked whether it would be becoming in one who appeared in the character of a mediator to employ threats, especially if he had no power to carry them into effect:"Were they for a policy of peace or a policy of war? If for the former, could he go farther than to declare that to any violent attack on the independence of Spain the king his master would be no party? If for the latter, all he had to say was that he entirely differed from them, and he believed that his views would be supported by all the intelligent portion of the community." THE CONQUERORS OF THE BASTILLE. (After the Picture by Fran?ois Flameng.)

[See larger version] (From a Drawing by Gravelot engraved by W. J. White.)

During this summer the island of Corsica fell into our hands, and that by conduct as brilliant on the part of Nelson and the troops and seamen under him, as was at the time the formal inefficiency of our generals there. The Corsicans soon experienced the insolence and rapacity of the godless French Republicans, and rose in general insurrection. The patriot Paoli was the first to advise them to renounce all connection with such a race of fiends, and was, in consequence, proscribed by the Convention, but at the same time appointed General-in-Chief and President of the Council of Government by his own people. As he well knew that little Corsica was no match for France, he applied to the British for assistance. Lord Hood was then engaged in the defence of Toulon, but he sent a few ships and troops during the summer and autumn to Paoli's aid, and by this assistance the French were driven out of every part of the island except San Fiorenzo, Calvi, and Bastia. The mother of Buonaparte, and part of the family, who were living at Ajaccio, fled to France, imploring the aid of the Convention for her native island. Lord Hood, however, having evacuated Toulon, made haste to be beforehand with them. By the 7th of February, 1794, he had blockaded the three ports still in the hands of the French, and had landed five regiments, under the command of General Dundas, at San Fiorenzo. The French were soon compelled to evacuate the place, but they retreated to Bastia, without almost any attempt on the part of Dundas to injure or molest them. Lord Hood now urged the immediate reduction of Bastia, but Dundas, an incompetent officer, and tied up by all the old formal rules of warfare, declared that he could not attempt to carry the town till the arrival of two thousand fresh troops from Gibraltar. But there was a man of very different metal and notions serving there, namely, Nelson, who was indignant at this timid conduct. He declared that if he had five hundred men and the Agamemnon ship-of-war, he could take the place. Lord Hood was resolved that he should try, whilst he himself blockaded the harbour. Nelson, who declared his own seamen of the Agamemnon were of the right sort, and cared no more for bullets than for peas, had one thousand one hundred and eighty-three soldiers, artillerymen, and marines, with two hundred and fifty sailors, put under his command, with the title of brigadier. They landed on the 4th of April, dragged their cannon up to the tops of the rocks overhanging Bastia, to the astonishment of French, Corsicans, and the timid Dundas. On the 10th Nelson was aloft with his whole force, and with all his cannon in position. A body of Corsicans rather kept guard than gave any active assistance on another side of the town; for they had no cannon, or could not drag them up precipices like British seamen. On the 11th Lord Hood summoned the town to surrender; but the French commander and Commissioner, Lacombe-Saint-Michel, replied that he had red-hot shot for the ships and bayonets for the British soldiers, and should not think of yielding till he had two-thirds of his garrison killed. But Nelson, ably seconded by Colonel Vilettes, plied his artillery to such purpose, that, on the 10th of May, Lacombe-Saint-Michel made offer of surrender, and on the 19th the capitulation was completed. The French forces and the Corsicans in their interest were shipped off to Toulon, after the signing of the capitulation on the 21st; and now General D'Aubant, who had succeeded General Dundas, but who had continued lying at San Fiorenzo instead of assisting at the siege, came up with his troops and took possession of Bastia. The whole loss of the British in this brilliant affair was only fourteen men killed and thirty-four wounded. Calvi, the most strongly-situated and fortified[432] place, still remained to be taken. By the middle of June it was thoroughly invested, both by sea and land, and Nelson again serving on shore, assisted by Captains Hallowell and Serecold, was pouring shells and red-hot shot into the fort. Captain Serecold was killed at the very outset; but Nelson and Hallowell, chiefly with the sailors and marines, continued the bombardment through the terrible heat of the dog-days, and the enervating effects of malaria from stagnant ponds in the hills, and compelled the surrender on the 10th of August, but not before one-half of the two thousand men engaged were prostrated by sickness. The island was now, by the advice of Paoli, offered to the British Crown and by it accepted; but a gross blunder was made in not appointing Paoli Governor, as was expected both by himself and his compatriots. Instead of this most proper and conciliatory measure, Sir Gilbert Elliot was appointed Governor, to the disappointment and disgust of the Corsicans. Sir Gilbert attempted to gratify the islanders by framing a new Constitution for them, and granting them trial by jury; but neither of these institutions was adapted to their ideas, and both failed to heal the wound which the ignominious treatment of their great patriot occasioned.

Great Britain, which had amassed so vast a debt in aiding the Continental sovereigns against Napoleon, played the magnanimous to the last. She gave up her share of the public indemnities, amounting to five million pounds, to the King of Holland and the Netherlands, to enable him to restore that line of fortresses along the Belgian frontiers which our Dutch king, William III., had planned, and which Joseph II. of Austria had suffered to fall to decay, thus rendering invasion from France especially easy. Nor was this all: she advanced five million pounds to enable the different sovereigns to march their troops home again, as she had advanced the money to march them up, the money demanded of France not being ready. Truly might Napoleon, in St. Helena, say that England, with her small army, had no business interfering in Continental wars; that "with our fleet, our commerce, and our colonies, we are the strongest power in the world, so long as we remain in our natural position; but that our gains in Continental wars are for others, our losses are for ourselves, and are permanent."

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Pitt dead, there remained a difficulty of no ordinary kind in the construction of a new Cabinet. Various persons were applied to to fill the arduous post of prime minister, who all declined, knowing the powerful opposition which would be arrayed against them by coalescing parties. Amongst these were Lord Hawkesbury, Sidmouth, and the Marquis Wellesley, who had just returned from India. There was nothing for it, then, but to endeavour to diminish the opposition of all parties by bringing in some of all parties, and hence the construction of the Ministry of "All the Talents." Grenville assumed the helm as First Lord of the Treasury, and, of course, brought in Fox, notwithstanding the repugnance of the king. Fox became Secretary for Foreign AffairsFox, who had so long and so vehemently condemned the whole of Pitt's foreign policy. Sidmouth, though refusing the responsibility of the Premiership, accepted the office of Privy Seal; Lord Fitzwilliam became Lord President of the Council; Grey, now Lord Howick, First Lord of the Admiralty; Lord Moira, Master-General of the Ordnance; Lord Spencer, Secretary of State for the Home Department; Windham, Secretary for the Colonies; Lord Henry Petty, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Erskine, Lord Chancellor; and Sir Gilbert Elliot, now made Lord Minto, President of the Board of Control. Sheridan was not placed in the Cabinet, because he had not been found staunch to any party, and because, in his daily drunken fits, he was likely to disclose State secretsas if, said he, there were any secrets to be disclosed. Lord Auckland was made President of the Board of Trade, and Lord Temple Vice-President. Temple, also, was made joint Paymaster of the Forces with Lord John Townshend, and General Fitzpatrick Secretary at War. In the law departments, Lord Ellenborough, the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, had, though quite out of rule, a seat in the Cabinet; Pigott became Attorney-General, Sir Samuel Romilly Solicitor-General. The Duke of Bedford was enabled to gratify his dependents by being appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Such was the Ministry of "All the Talents," amongst whom, however, did not appear Canning, who had more talent than three-fourths of them. It was clear that such a Ministry could not long hold together. There were scarcely two of them who did not cherish the most irreconcilable views. Fox, at the instigation of Francis, was desirous to call in question the proceedings of Lord Wellesley in India, and Lord Grenville was as resolute against it. Windham, Grenville, Fox, and Sidmouth held, every one of them, different notions of foreign policy. Fox and some others were advocates of Catholic emancipation; Sidmouth was utterly averse from it. Then, how were so many heads to find comfortable berths for their followers?

An armistice was arranged with Piedmont, which lasted throughout the autumn and winter. The events at Rome and the flight of the Pope had meanwhile greatly altered the position of the Italian question; and the revolutionary spirit was so strong that Charles Albert found it impossible to resist the demand of his people for a renewal of hostilities. "I must restore war," he said, "or abdicate the crown and see a republic established." He opened his Parliament in person on the 1st of January, 1849, when he delivered a lengthy speech, in which he fully expounded his policy. He invited the nation to co-operate in the great struggle which was impending. In January, the Sardinian Prime Minister, M. Gioberti, addressed a protest to the foreign Powers, in which he stated that though the suspension of hostilities agreed to on the 5th of August, 1848, was productive of fatal political consequences, Sardinia had faithfully observed the agreement, while Austria had disregarded her promises, and exhibited nothing but bad faith. She had pursued an iniquitous system of spoliation. Under the name of extraordinary war contributions her fleet seized Italian vessels navigating the Adriatic. She had put to death persons whose safety was guaranteed by the law of nations. She had violated the most sacred compacts in a manner unparalleled in the annals of civilised nations. Gioberti, however, who was obnoxious to the republican party, was compelled to resign. On the 24th of February the new Ministry[586] issued a programme of its policy, and on the 14th of March M. Ratazzi, Minister of the Interior, announced to the Chamber of Deputies the expiration of the armistice, declaring that no honourable peace with Austria could be expected unless won by arms. War would, of course, have its perils; but between those perils and the shame of an ignominious peace, which would not insure Italian independence, the king's Government could not hesitate. Consequently, he stated that, two days before, a special messenger had been sent to Radetzky, announcing the termination of the armistice. He was perhaps justified by the declaration of the Austrian envoy to London, Count Colloredo, that Austria would not enter into any sort of conference unless she was assured that no cession of territory would be required. The king, meanwhile, had joined the army as a general officer, commanding the brigade in Savoy. The nominal strength of his army at that time was 135,000 men; but the muster-roll on the 20th of March showed only about 84,000 effective troops, including 5,000 cavalry, with 150 guns. Radetzky had under his command an army equal in number, but far superior in equipment and discipline. He at once broke Charles Albert's lines; drove him to retreat upon Novara, where he utterly defeated him. Abdication only remained for the king, and his son, Victor Emmanuel, concluded peace on terms dictated by Austria. The King of Sardinia was to disband ten military corps composed of Hungarians, Poles, and Lombards. Twenty thousand Austrian troops were to occupy the territory between the Po, the Ticino, and the Sesia, and to form one half of the garrison of Alessandria, consisting of 6,000 men, a mixed military committee to provide for the maintenance of the Austrian troops. The Sardinians were to evacuate the duchies of Modena, Piacenza, and Tuscany. The Piedmontese in Venice were to return home, and the Sardinian fleet, with all the steamers, was to quit the Adriatic. In addition to these stipulations, Sardinia was to indemnify Austria for the whole cost of the war. These terms were accepted with great reluctance by the Piedmontese Government, and with even more reluctance by the Genoese, who revolted, and had to be suppressed by the royal troops.