The spirit of Choiseul having departed from the French administration, and the king having so unequivocally expressed his intention not to go to war, the Spanish Court hastened to lower its tone and offer conciliatory terms. In December they had proposed, through Prince de Masserano, to disavow the expedition of Buccarelli, if the English Court would disown the menaces 杭州桑拿水疗会所爽记 of Captain Hunt. This was promptly refused, and orders were sent to Mr. Harris to quit the capital of Spain. He set out in January, 1771, but was speedily recalled; the expedition of Buccarelli was disavowed; the settlement of Port Egmont was conceded, whilst the main question as to the right of either party to the Falklands at large was left to future discussion. So little value, however, did Britain attach to the Falkland Isles, that it abandoned them voluntarily two years afterwards. For many years they were forsaken by both nations; but in 1826 the Republic of Buenos Ayres adopted them as a penal colony, and in 1833 the British finally took possession of them.
Whilst these events had been progressing, the Ministry had entered into a combat with the great unknown political essayist, Junius. Junius had advanced from Sir 杭州滨江kj的地方 William Draper to the Duke of Grafton, and from the Duke of Grafton to the king in his sweeping philippics. For these daring censures, Woodfall, the printer of the Public Advertiser, was tried, and also Almon, the publisher of the London Museum, a monthly periodical, for reprinting the libel there. Almon was convicted of publishing, and sentenced to pay a fine of ten marks, and give security for his good behaviour for two years, himself in four hundred pounds, and two sureties in two hundred pounds each. He moved in vain for a new trial. Woodfall was convicted of “printing and publishing only;” but he obtained an order for a new trial, on the ground of the phrase “only” being ambiguous. But the circumstance which excited the attention and turned the resentment of both Liberal statesmen and the people was, that Lord Mansfield 杭州不正规的按摩店做哪些 on these trials had instructed the juries to confine themselves to the facts alone, and to leave the question of legality to the judges. This was properly declared a dangerous infringement of the rights of juries, and calculated to make their verdicts merely the servile echoes of the dicta of the judges. Lord Chatham, on the 28th of November, denounced in the Peers this dictation of the judge to the juries. Serjeant Glynn, at the same time, moved in the Commons for an inquiry into the administration of justice in Westminster Hall, where such unconstitutional instructions could be given. This occasioned a warm debate, in which Burke, Dunning, and others, ably defended the public rights. The motion was negatived.
The year 1771 opened in circumstances which greatly diminished the interest in Parliamentary proceedings. As all 杭州桑拿地图 reporting was excluded from the House of Lords, the chief speakers there felt that they were no longer addressing the nation, but merely a little knot of persons in a corner, and consequently the stimulus of both fame and real usefulness was at an end. In the Commons, the desire of the Ministry to reduce that popular arena to the same condition of insignificance produced a contest with the City as foolish and mischievous in its degree as the contests then going on with Wilkes and America. George Onslow, nephew of the late Speaker, and member for Guildford, moved that several printers, who had dared to report the debates of the House of Commons, should be summoned to the bar to answer for their conduct. Accordingly, these mediums of communication between the people and their representatives were summoned and reprimanded on their knees. One of their number, named Miller, however, declared that he was a liveryman of London, and that any attempt to arrest him would be a breach of the privileges of the City. The Serjeant-at-Arms dispatched a messenger to apprehend this sturdy citizen, and bring him before the House; but, instead of succeeding, the Parliamentary messenger was taken by a City constable, and carried before Brass Crosby, the Lord Mayor. With the Lord Mayor sat Alderman Wilkes and Alderman Oliver. It was delightful work to Wilkes thus to set at defiance the House of Commons, which had made such fierce war on him. The Lord Mayor, accordingly, was fully confirmed in his view that the messenger of the Commons had committed a flagrant violation of the City charter, in endeavouring to lay hands on one of its liverymen within its own precincts, and they held the messenger accordingly to bail. The House of Commons was fired with indignation at this contemptuous disregard of their dignity. They passed a resolution, by a large majority, ordering the Lord Mayor and the two aldermen to appear at their bar. Wilkes bluntly refused to attend the House in any shape but as a recognised member of it. Crosby pleaded a severe fit of the gout; and Oliver, though he appeared in his place, refused to make any submission whatever, but told them he defied them. The House, in its blind anger, resolved that Oliver should be committed to the Tower, and Crosby to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. But Crosby declared that he would not accept this indulgence at the hands of the House, but would share the incarceration of his honourable friend; and he was accordingly sent also to the Tower. The people out of doors were in the highest state of fury. They greeted the City members on their way to and from the House, but they hooted and pelted the Ministerial supporters. Charles James Fox, still a Government man, as all his family had been, was very roughly handled; Lord North’s carriage was dashed in, and himself wounded; and had he not been rescued by a popular member, Sir William Meredith, he would probably have lost his life. The Commons had engaged in a strife with the City, in which they were signally beaten, and no further notice being taken of the printers, from this time forward the practice of reporting the debates of Parliament became recognised as an established privilege of the people, though formally at the option of the House; and so far now from members or Ministers fearing any evil from it, the most conservative of them would be deeply mortified by the omission of their speeches in the reports. The termination of the Session also opened the doors of the Tower, and liberated the Lord Mayor and Alderman Oliver. They were attended from the Tower to the Mansion House by the Corporation in their robes, where a banquet celebrated their restoration to freedom, and the populace displayed their sympathy by bonfires and illuminations.
SPADE GUINEA OF GEORGE III.
FIVE-SHILLING PIECE OF GEORGE III.
TWOPENNY PIECE OF GEORGE III.
During the recess considerable changes took place in the Cabinet. Lord Halifax died on the 8th of June; the Earl of Suffolk succeeded him as Secretary of State, and the remainder of the Grenville party thereupon supported the Ministry. Suffolk introduced his friend, Lord Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, to the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with an augmented salary. The administration of Lord North was considerably strengthened, too, by the abilities of Thurlow, as Attorney-General, and of Wedderburn, as Solicitor-General. But the addition to the Cabinet of Lord North which occasioned the greatest surprise, was that of the Duke of Grafton. He received the Privy Seal.
During the recess a violent quarrel had been going on in the City, which showed the disorganisation of the Opposition. Wilkes had offered himself as sheriff; but Alderman Oliver, who had lately been in prison for his bold conduct in the affair of Miller, the printer, had refused to support the claim of Wilkes. In fact, not only he, but the Lord Mayor, Alderman Townshend, and Sawbridge, were beginning to see through Wilkes. Oliver went further—he refused to serve as the other sheriff with Wilkes. Government availed itself of these divisions to defeat the election of Wilkes. Alderman Bull became the second candidate with Wilkes, and Government induced their party in the City to nominate Aldermen Plumbe and Kirkman in opposition to them. Wilkes would probably have been defeated, especially as Oliver finally came forward, supported by all the eloquence and exertions of John Horne. But, fortunately for Wilkes and his fellow-candidate, Bull, a letter sent by the Government agent to a Mr. Smith in the City was misdelivered to another Mr. Smith, a supporter of Wilkes and Bull, announcing the exertions that Government would make in support of their men, Plumbe and Kirkman. This letter was immediately published, and, alarming all the enemies of Government, made them rally round Wilkes and Bull, who were accordingly elected.
PRESS-GANG AT WORK.
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On the 21st of January, 1772, the king opened Parliament, and the two divisions of the Opposition under the leadership of Rockingham and Chatham were found to be divided and dispirited. The chief proceeding of this session was one of a very remarkable character. The boasted morals of George III. and of his queen had not defended his family from gross crimes and corruptions. Very notorious was the life of his brother, the Duke of Cumberland. Amongst his licentious intrigues was one with Henrietta Vernon, Lady Grosvenor, a young and beautiful woman, whom he seduced, following her into Cheshire, when her husband took her from town, and meeting her in various disguises. In 1770 Lord Grosvenor brought an action against him and obtained a verdict of ten thousand pounds. With a rapidity of fickleness almost unexampled, he was immediately afterwards paying suit to Mrs. Horton. Cumberland went over to Calais with Mrs. Horton, and there married her according to the rites of the Church of England (October 2, 1771). The Duke of Gloucester also now confessed to a secret marriage (September 6, 1766) with the Countess Dowager Waldegrave. A Bill was brought into Parliament in 1772, since well known as the Royal Marriage Act, by which every prince or princess, descendant of George II., except only the issue of princes married abroad, was prohibited from marrying until the age of twenty-five without the king’s consent. After that age they might apply to the Privy Council, and if within a year of such announcement both Houses of Parliament should not express disapprobation of the intended marriage, it might then be lawfully solemnised. The Bill did not pass without violent opposition.
But these were by no means the total of the royal troubles at this period. The youngest and most beloved of George III.’s sisters, Caroline Matilda, had been married to Christian VII. of Denmark. This young man was little better than an idiot, and the poor princess was married to him at the age of sixteen. The marriage of this young couple, and their ascent to the throne, were nearly simultaneous; and, contrary to the usual custom of a monarch, it was deemed advisable that he should travel. In his tour he fell in with the celebrated Struensee, a young physician of Altona. Christian VII., like all weak monarchs, must have favourites. Struensee speedily became the perfect master of Christian’s mind and actions, and on their return to Copenhagen he was raised to the rank of count, and soon after was made Prime Minister. His enemies were of course numerous, and scandal soon connected his name with that of the queen. All this especially favoured the plans of the base queen dowager, who, in league with the hostile nobles, feigned a plot against the king; obtained from him, in his bed at midnight, an order for the arrest of the queen, Struensee, and others. The queen was seized half dressed. Struensee was executed with especial barbarities; but the King of England interfered to save his sister, and to procure the succession to her son. The unhappy young queen, however, was separated for ever from her two children, and conveyed to Zell, in Hanover—the same castle or prison where the unhappy wife of George I. had pined away her life. There she died after a few years, protesting her innocence, though Struensee had confessed his guilt.
From the affairs of the royal family, we turn to a more important subject, the partition of Poland. Poland, lying contiguous to Russia, had for ages been in a condition calculated to attract the cupidity of ambitious neighbours. Its nobles usurped all authority. They kept the whole mass of the people in hopeless serfdom; they usurped the whole of the land; they elected their own king, and were too fond of power themselves to leave him more than a puppet in their hands. To make the condition of the country worse, it was violently divided on the subject of religion. One part of the nobles consisted of Roman Catholics, another of what were called Dissidents, made up of members of the Greek Church, and Protestants, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Arians. Although by what was called the Pacta Conventa the Dissidents had been admitted to an equality of rights,
this was totally disregarded by the overbearing Roman Catholics; and in 1736 the Pacta Conventa was formally abolished. Every Dissident was, by this measure, for ever excluded from government, and from all interest in it.
Thus the whole country was torn by religious animosity; the nobles were insolent to the Crown, and the people were nothing. Such was the divided condition of Poland which led to its dismemberment. All nobility of mind was destroyed; pride and oppression were the inseparable consequences of such a system. There was no middle class, no popular class; it was a country of lords and slaves—of one class domineering over the other. The Greek Catholics were the Dissidents, and the Dissidents sought aid from Russia—which was also Greek in religion—and, to insure this aid, condescended to the lowest arts of solicitation, to the practice of fawning, stooping, and cringing
to the great barbarous power of Russia on one side, and to the equally barbarous power of Turkey on the other. The nobles could bring large bodies of cavalry into the field, as many, at times, as a hundred thousand; but as they had no free people, and dreaded to arm their slaves, they had little or no infantry, except such as they hired, and even this was in no condition to withstand the heavy masses of Russian infantry, much less such armies as Prussia or Austria might be tempted to bring against them.
From the moment that Russia was called in, under the pretext of maintaining order, she became, or aimed to become, the dominant power there. She pressed on the whole line of the Polish frontier with her armies, inundated the kingdom with her troops, and levied contributions for their support as if she had been in a conquered country. From that hour, too, the kings were elected rather by foreign armies than by the Poles themselves. Stanislaus Poniatowski, the present king, was the nominee of Catherine of Russia, whose lover he had been till superseded by Orloff. She had placed him on the throne by force of arms, and he was incapable of doing anything except through her power.
Some faint endeavours were made to shake off the yoke. Encouraged by France, they summoned the Turks to their aid and cut to pieces several detachments of the Russians. They proclaimed Poniatowski deposed, and called on the people to aid them to drive out the invaders. But the people, long used to oppression from their own lords, did not answer to the call. In France, Choiseul had been hurled from power, and France left the Poles to their fate. It was now that Frederick of Prussia proposed to Austria to combine with Russia and share Poland between them. At this robber proposition, so in character with Frederick, who had all his life been creating a kingdom by plundering his neighbours, Maria Theresa at first exclaimed in horror. But she was now old and failing, and she gave way, declaring that, long after she was dead and gone, people would see what would happen from their having broken through everything which had, till then, been deemed just and holy. Frederick of Prussia took the surest way to compel the Austrians to come in for a share of the spoils of Poland. He marched a body of soldiers out of Silesia—the territory which he had rent from Austria—into Posen, and Austria, not to be behind, had marched another army into the Carpathian Mountains.
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.
The treaty between Russia, Prussia, and Austria for the first division of Poland was signed at St. Petersburg on the 5th of August, 1772. The three robber powers now promised to rest satisfied with their booty; to respect the rights and remaining territories of Poland—words hollow and worthless as they who used them. The invaders divided at this time about one-third of Poland between them. Prussia appropriated the whole of Pomerania, part of Great Poland, the bishopric of Warmia, and the palatinates of Marienburg and Culm; with complete command of the lower part of the Vistula. The whole of this territory did not exceed eight hundred square miles, but it was a territory of vast importance to Prussia, as it united Pomerania with the rest of that kingdom. Russia and Austria acquired immensely more in extent. Russia took nearly the whole of Lithuania, with the vast country between the rivers Dwina and Dniester. Austria secured the country along the left bank of the Vistula from Wieliczka to the confluence of the Vistula and the Viroz. But Russia had Galicia, the palatinate of Belz, and a part of Volhynia. Unsupported by France, England had no course but to acquiesce in the arrangement.
The year 1773 opened with an inquiry in Parliament into the abuses of the administration of affairs in India. There were great complaints of the wholesale rapacity and 杭州洗浴会所 oppression perpetrated on the natives by the Company’s servants. Before the close of the preceding year, a secret committee had been appointed to inquire into these abuses, and to take the matter out of the hands of Government, the Company proposed to appoint a number of supervisors to go out to India and settle the causes of complaint. The secret committee proposed a Bill to prevent this, as a scheme for merely evading a thorough inquiry and continuing the atrocities. Burke, who was a holder of India stock, defended the Company, and declared that such a Bill would annihilate the Company, and make the House of Commons the Company itself and the Speaker its chairman. He reminded them that the Company paid to Government four hundred thousand pounds a year, and that Government had connived at the maladministration which had been 杭州油压会所全部查封 carried on. This certainly was, so far from a reason against the Bill, a reason why they should connive no longer; and the Bill was carried by a large majority.