湖南市州“微光大义·致敬白衣天使”公益行动纪实

On the 18th of April Lord John Russell moved that the House should go into committee on the Bill, stating that he proposed to make certain alterations in the details of the measure, but none affecting its principles. General Gascoigne then moved that it should be an instruction to the committee that the number of members composing the House of Commons ought not to be reduced. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sadler, and resisted by Lord Althorp, who declared that the object of the motion was to destroy the Bill. It was nevertheless carried, after an animated debate, by a majority of eight against the Government. Ministers had been placed in a position of peculiar difficultythey had to humour the king's vanity and love of popular applause, in order to prevent his becoming sulky, and refusing to consent to a dissolution, which they felt to be inevitable. They had also to proceed with great caution in dealing with the Opposition, lest, irritated by the threat of dissolution, they should resolve to stop the supplies, it being impossible to dissolve Parliament in the present state of the estimates. They had been fortunate enough, however, to guard against this danger. On the 23rd of March supply had been moved, and a large portion of the army estimates voted. On the 25th Sir James Graham moved portions of the navy estimates, and on the same night the Civil List was provided for. Further supplies of various kinds having luckily been granted, on the 30th the House was adjourned for the Easter holidays, till the 12th of April.

Lord Howe arrived from England, and cast anchor off Sandy Hook, a few hours after the Declaration of Independence had been read to the army by Washington. He had been expected by his brother, General Howe, who had arrived at the same point on the 29th of June, supposing he should find the admiral there. General Howe found Washington already in New York, and actively engaged in throwing up entrenchments, both there and on Long Island, to close the Hudson against the British fleet. Washington's headquarters were at New York; those of General Sullivan, at the western extremity of Long Island, opposite to New York; and Governor's Island, Paulus Hook, New Rochelle, and other points, were strongly defended to protect the rear of the city. At the time of Admiral Howe's arrival, the army of Washington did not amount to more than seventeen thousand men, of whom three[228] thousand were sick, and but about ten thousand men fit for duty. From his letters to Congress, it is clear that he entertained very little hope of maintaining his ground in case of attack, for the fresh forces brought by Howe from England, being joined by the shattered remains of Sir Peter Parker's squadron, amounted to twenty thousand men. A few days afterwards, however, he was joined by two regiments from Philadelphia, and by large bodies of New York and New England Militia, raising his army to twenty-seven thousand men, but of these a large number were sick. He now posted strong reinforcements in Brooklyn. On this General Howe quitted Sandy Hook, and advanced to Staten Island, where he could watch the operations of the enemy. The Americans abandoned Staten Island, on his approach, without firing a gun.

On the morning of the 26th the conflict was confined chiefly to the Faubourg St. Antoine and the greatest stronghold of the insurgents, the Clos St. Lazare. The barriers were built of paving stones of large size, and blocks of building-stone. All the houses commanding them were occupied by the insurgents. The city wall was perforated for a mile in length with loopholes, and from behind it a deadly fire upon the troops was kept up for two days by invisible enemies, who ran from loophole to loophole with the agility of monkeys. General Lamoricire commanded here, and having ordered cannon and mortars, he made breaches in the barricades, and reduced many of the fortified houses to heaps of ruins. The Faubourg St. Antoine was surrounded by troops on all sides. The insurgents were summoned to surrender, and after some parleying, a flag of truce was sent forward, and they finally submitted, permitting the troops to take quiet possession of the district. General Cavaignac at once announced the result to the President of the Assembly, stating that the revolt was suppressed, that the struggle had completely ceased, and that he was ready to resign his dictatorship the moment the powers confided to him were found to be no longer necessary for the salvation of the public. He resigned accordingly, but he was placed at the head of the Ministry, as President of the Council. During this tremendous conflict between the Red Republicans and the guardians of society more than 300 barricades had been erected, 16,000 persons were killed and wounded, 8,000 prisoners were taken, and the loss to the nation by the insurrection was estimated at 30,000,000 francs.

But there was no time for festivities. The English army was approaching, and it was necessary for Charles to assert his right by hard blows as well as by proclamations. The citizens stood aloof from his standard; but Lord Nairn arrived most opportunely from the Highlands with five[96] hundred of the clan Maclachlan, headed by their chief, and accompanied by a number of men from Athol. These swelled his little army to upwards of two thousand five hundred, and Charles declared that he would immediately lead them against Cope. The chiefs applauded this resolution, and on the morning of the 19th he marched out to Duddingston, where the troops lay upon their arms, and then he summoned a council of war. He proposed to continue the march the next morning, and meet Cope upon the way. In the highest spirits the clans marched on through Musselburgh and over the heights at Carberry, where Mary Queen of Scots made her last unfortunate fight, nor did they stop till they came in sight of the English army.

The same fate befell the troops of Ney, who had been sent to dislodge Bernadotte and Bülow before Berlin. He was beaten at Dennewitz on the 6th of September, with a loss of eighteen thousand men and eighty guns. Macdonald had lost on the Katzbach many thousands slain or dispersed, eighteen thousand prisoners, and a hundred and three guns. His army was nearly annihilated. Between this period and the end of September the French generals were defeated in every quarter: Davoust by Walmoden; another body of French by Platoff, on the 29th; Jerome by Czernicheff, on the 30th; and Lefebvre by Thielemann and Platoff, at Altenburg.

George III. expired on the 29th of January, 1820. Although it was Sunday, both Houses of Parliament met according to the requisition of the statute, 6 Anne c. 7. Lord Eldon merely appeared on the woolsack; and, as soon as prayers were read, the House of Peers was adjourned. The same day a council was held at Carlton House, when the usual ceremonies were observed, as upon the commencement of a new reign, although George IV. had been virtually king during the period of the Regency. On this occasion the Ministers delivered up the emblems of their different offices, and were all graciously reappointed. Lord Eldon, in a letter to his daughter, felicitates himself on having been thus placed "in the very singular situation, that of a third Chancellorship." But Lord Campbell remarks that he was probably not aware that one of his predecessors had been Chancellor five times. His immediate successor had been four times Chancellor, and Lord Cottenham three times. "It is amusing," says Lord Campbell, "to observe how he enhances the delight he felt at the commencement of this third Chancellorship by protestations that he was reluctantly induced again to accept the worthless bauble, lest, by declining it, he should be chargeable with ingratitude." The Chancellor made similar protestations of reluctance and humility when George IV., grateful for his services in connection with the prosecution of the queen, pressed upon him accumulated honours; giving him, at the same time, two additional steps in the peerage, as Viscount Encombe and Earl of Eldonhonours which, he said, he had repeatedly declined to accept when offered by George III.

The coarse manners of the gentlemen were gradually yielding to refining influences, but the society of ladies amongst the upper classes was generally neglected. Husbands spent their days in hunting or other masculine occupations, and their evenings in dining and drinking; the dinner party, which commenced at seven, not breaking up before one in the morning. Four- or five-, or even six-bottle men were not uncommon among the nobility. Lord Eldon and his brother Lord Stowell used to say that they had drunk more bad port than any two men in England. The Italian Opera was then the greatest attraction. It became[441] less exclusive in its arrangements when the Opera House was under the management of Mr. Waters; but the strictest etiquette was still kept up with regard to the dress of gentlemen, who were only admitted with knee-buckles, ruffles, and chapeaux bras. If there happened to be a Drawing Room, the ladies as well as the gentlemen would come to the opera in their Court dresses.

Reproduced by Andr & Sleigh, Ltd., Bushey, Herts.

Notwithstanding the real outbreak of the war, Congress yet professed to entertain hopes of ultimate reconciliation. When the reinforcements had arrived from England, and it was supposed that part of them were destined for New York, it issued orders that, so long as the forces remained quiet in their barracks, they should not be molested; but if they attempted to raise fortifications, or to cut off the town from the country, they should be stoutly opposed. When the news of the surprise of the forts on the Lake Champlain arrived, Congress endeavoured to excuse so direct a breach of the peace by feigning a belief in a design of an invasion of the colonies from Canada, of which there was notoriously no intention, and they gave orders that an exact inventory of the cannon and military stores there captured should be made, in order to their restoration, "when the former harmony between Great Britain and her colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, should render it consistent with the overruling law of self-preservation." After the battle of Bunker's Hill, Congress still maintained this tone. On the 8th of July they signed a petition to the king, drawn up by John Dickinson, in the mildest terms, who, when to his own surprise the petition was adopted by the Congress, rose, and said that there was not a word in the whole petition that he did not approve of, except the word "Congress." This, however, was far from the feeling of many members; and Benjamin Harrison immediately rose and declared that there was but one word in the whole petition that he did approve of, and that was the word "Congress." The petition to the king expressed an earnest desire for a speedy and permanent reconciliation, declaring that, notwithstanding their sufferings, they retained in their hearts "too tender a regard for the kingdom from which they derived their origin to request such a reconciliation as might be inconsistent with her dignity or welfare." At the[220] same time, they resolved that this appeal, which they called "The Olive Branch," should, if unsuccessful, be their last. They could hardly have expected it to be successful.