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In this utter desertion, the king prevailed on Lord North, who was already Chancellor of the Exchequer, to accept Grafton's post of First Lord of the Treasury, with the Premiership. Lord North, eldest son of the Earl of Guildford, was a man of a remarkably mild and pleasant temper, of sound sense, and highly honourable character. He was ungainly in his person and plain of countenance, but he was well versed in the business of Parliament, and particularly dexterous in tagging to motions of the Opposition some paragraph or other which neutralised the whole, or turned it even against them. He was exceedingly near-sighted, so much so, that he once carried off the wig of the old Secretary of the Navy, who sat near him in the House. For the rest, he was of so somnolent a nature that he was frequently seen nodding in the House when Opposition members were pouring out all the vials of their wrath on his head. He thought himself a Whig, but if we are to class him by his principles and his acts of administration, we must pronounce him a Tory.

It is said that Sir Robert had, some time before, addressed a letter to the Pretender with the object of softening the asperity of his partisans in England, and that this had so raised the hopes of James, that Walpole was actually intending to come round, that he had ordered his followers to avoid anything which should shake his power. Whatever the cause, the fact was striking, and the Opposition having concluded its onslaught upon him, he rose to make his reply. It was an occasion which demanded the utmost exertion of his powers, and he put them forth. Walpole's speech on this day has justly been deemed his masterpiece. It was four o'clock in the morning when he concluded his masterly defence, and the motion was instantly rejected by two hundred and ninety votes against one hundred and six. The immediate effect of the attack appeared to be to strengthen the Minister, and that considerably; his leve the next morning was more crowded than had ever been known, and he seemed to sway the Cabinet with uncontrolled power. But thinking men predicted that the blow would tell in the end, when the momentary enthusiasm had gone off; and Walpole himself seemed to be of the same opinion. The attack, in truth, was but the first outbreak of the storm which, kept up by the implacable spirit of a powerful Opposition, was sure to bear him down at last.

When Buonaparte heard that Ferdinand had arrived, he is said to have exclaimed"What! is the fool really come?" He received him, however, with courtesy, invited him to dinner, and treated him with all the deference of a crowned head; but the same evening he sent Savary to inform him that he had determined that the Bourbons should cease to reign, and the crown should be transferred to his own family. Possessed of the Prince of Asturias, Buonaparte proceeded to complete his kidnapping, and make himself master of the king and queen. He was sure that if he brought Godoy to Bayonne he should draw the infatuated queen after him, and that she would[553] bring the king with her. He therefore ordered Murat to send on Godoy under a strong guard. This was executed with such rapidity that he was conveyed from Aranjuez to the banks of the Bidassoa in a couple of days. Buonaparte received Godoy in the most flattering manner, told him that he regarded the abdication of Charles as most unjustifiable, and that he would be glad to see the king and queen at Bayonne, to arrange the best mode of securing them on the throne. Godoy communicated this intelligence with alacrity, and Napoleon very soon had the two remaining royal fools in his safe keeping. On the 30th of April a train of old, lumbering carriages, the first drawn by eight Biscayan mules, was seen crossing the drawbridge at Bayonne. The arrival consisted of the King and Queen of Spain, with three or four unimportant grandees. Godoy welcomed Charles and his queen, and assured them of the friendly disposition and intentions of Buonaparte. Having the family in his clutches, Napoleon had little difficulty in compelling Ferdinand to restore the crown to his father, who abdicated a second time, and placed his crown in the hands of the Emperor. It might have been supposed that Europe, or at least the southern portion of it, was likely to enjoy a considerable term of peace. France, under a minor and a Regent, appeared to require rest to recruit its population and finances more than any part of the Continent. The King of Spain was too imbecile to have any martial ambition; and though his wife was anxious to secure the succession to the French throne in case of the death of the infant Louis XV., yet Alberoni, the Prime Minister, was desirous to remain at peace. This able Churchman, who had risen from the lowest position, being the son of a working gardener, and had made his way to his present eminence partly by his abilities and partly by his readiness to forget the gravity of the clerical character for the pleasure of his patrons, was now zealously exerting himself to restore the condition of Spain. He was thus brought into collision with Austria and France, and eventually with this country to which at first he was well disposed. England was under engagement both to France and the Empire, which must, on the first rupture with either of those Powers and Spain, precipitate her into war. The treaty with the Emperoras it guaranteed the retention of the Italian provinces, which Spain beheld with unappeasable jealousy, in Austrian handswas the first thing to change the policy of Alberoni towards Britain. This change was still further accelerated by the news of the Triple Alliance, which equally guaranteed the status quo of France. The Spanish Minister displayed his anger by suspending the Treaty of Commerce, and by conniving at the petty vexations practised by the Spaniards on the English merchants in Spain, and by decidedly rejecting a proposal of the King of England to bring about an accommodation between the Emperor and the Court of Spain.

Mr. Villiers's motion was again brought forward on the 9th of May. The debate lasted for five nights, and ended in a division which, though it showed a majority of 256 against inquiry, was encouraging as evidencing an increase in the number of the Free Traders. The minority numbered 125. The debate was chiefly remarkable for the violence of the monopolist party. Sir Robert Peel said that the subject was exhausted, and nothing new could be adduced. "The motion of Mr. Villiers was fairly stated and proposedthere was no subterfuge involved in it. But he thought that the principle must be applied generally and universally to every article on which a duty was levied. They could not stand on the single article of corn. By the adoption of the motion they would sound the knell of Protection, and they must immediately proceed to apply the principle to practice. This would at once upset the commercial arrangements of the last year. The whole of our colonial system must be swept away without favour and without consideration." A contemporary writer describes the uproar which took place on this occasion as exceeding anything that had been witnessed since the night of the memorable division on the Corn Bill. The minority, it is said, were aware that the remaining speeches, even if delivered, could not be reported, and for that and other reasons were in their resolves so resolute, that although outvoted in some divisions, the question was just as often removed and seconded. At length Mr. Ross told Lord Dungannon, that if he were contented to sit till eight o'clock, he himself, and those who acted with him, would willingly sit till nine; and it was at this stage that Sir Charles Napier slyly suggested that they should divide themselves into three watches, after the fashion of a ship's crew. This arrangement would afford ease to all, excepting the Speaker, to whom he was sorry he could not afford the slightest relief. Worn out at length by the violence of their exertions, and despairing of victory, the majority yielded. [See larger version] The Queen reached the western entrance of Westminster Abbey at half-past eleven o'clock, and was there met by the great officers of State, the noblemen bearing the regalia, and the bishops carrying the paten, the chalice, and the Bible. The arrangements in the interior of the Abbey were nearly the same as at the previous coronation, but the decorations were in better taste. Galleries had been erected for the accommodation of spectators, to which about 1,000 persons were admitted. There was also a gallery for the members of the House of Commons, and another for foreign ambassadors. Soon after twelve o'clock the grand procession began to enter the choir, in the order observed on former occasions. The Queen was received with the most hearty plaudits[452] from all parts of the building, and when she was proclaimed in the formula"Sirs, I here present unto you Queen Victoriathe undoubted Queen of this realm. Wherefore, all you who are come this day to do your homage, are you willing to do the same?"there was a loud and universal burst of cheering, with cries of "God save the Queen." When the crown was placed on her Majesty's head there was again an enthusiastic cry of "God save the Queen," accompanied by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. At this moment the peers and peeresses put on their coronets, the bishops their caps, and the kings-of-arms their crowns, the trumpets sounding, the drums beating, the Tower and park guns firing by signal. The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex removing their coronets, did homage in these words:"I do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship and faith and truth I will bear unto you to live and die against all manner of folk, so help me God." They touched the crown on the Queen's head, kissed her left cheek, and then retired. It was observed that her Majesty's bearing towards her uncles was very affectionate. The dukes and other peers then performed their homage, the senior of each rank pronouncing the words. As they retired, each peer kissed her Majesty's hand. The Duke of Wellington, Earl Grey, and Lord Melbourne were loudly cheered as they ascended the steps to the throne. Lord Rolle, who was upwards of eighty, stumbled and fell on the steps. The Queen immediately stepped forward, and held out her hand to assist the aged peer. This touching incident called forth the loudly expressed admiration of the entire assembly. While the ceremony of doing homage was being performed, the Earl of Surrey, Treasurer of the Household, was scattering silver medals of the coronation about the choir and the lower galleries, which were scrambled for with great eagerness. The ceremonials did not conclude till past four o'clock.

Thus the entente cordiale was broken, and the two Powers were left isolated in Europe, for the efforts of Louis Philippe to form an alliance with the Austrian Court were without success. In the circumstances Lord Palmerston's foreign policy during these eventful years was inevitably somewhat unsatisfactory. When Austria, in defiance of pledges, annexed the Republic of Cracow, he could only issue a solitary protest, which was completely disregarded. In Portugal affairs were once more in complete confusion, the Conservative party, headed by the Queen, being in arms against the so-called Liberals led by Das Antas. Palmerston left them to fight it out until foreign intervention appeared inevitable from Spain, if not from France; then he made an offer of help to the Queen Donna Maria, on condition that she would grant a general amnesty and appoint a neutral Administration. The terms were accepted by the Conservatives. The Liberal Junta submitted on hearing that its fleet had been captured by the British, and the civil war came to an end. Meanwhile, in Switzerland Lord Palmerston was upholding the cause of the Diet against the secessionist cantons known as the Sonderbund, by refusing to countenance the intervention of the Powers in Swiss affairs, which was advocated by Prince Metternich and also by Guizot. For a moment his position was dangerous, as Guizot declared that the opportunity had come for France to take vengeance upon England by forming another Quadruple Treaty, from which Great Britain should be excluded. But the prompt victory of the Diet's general, Dufour, over the forces of the Sonderbund saved the situation, and owing to Palmerston's representations the victorious party abstained from vindictive measures. Thus revolution was postponed in Europe for another year, and Palmerston attempted similar results in Italy, whither he sent Lord Minto, the First Lord of the Admiralty, on a special mission to support constitutional reforms in Sardinia and at Rome, where the new Pope, Pius IX. by title, was supposed to be the friend of progress. But the blind hostility[550] of Metternich prevailed. The reforms granted by his puppet princes were wholly insufficient in extent, and events in Italy were evidently hastening towards an upheaval, when the train of the European explosion was fired in France.

LORD NELSON. (After the Portrait by Sir William Beechey, R.A.)

Home we have none!

The Duke of Wellington wrote to the British Government to inform them of this event, and that the Allied sovereigns were this time resolved to make sure of the fugitive; that the Emperor of Austria had agreed to bring into the field three hundred thousand men; the Czar, two hundred and twenty-five thousand; Prussia, two hundred and thirty-six thousand; the other States of Germany, one hundred and fifty thousand; and that it was expected Holland would furnish fifty thousand. Thus nine hundred and sixty thousand men were promised, independently of Sweden and Great Britain; so that a million of men might be calculated upon to crush Buonaparte, provided that the latter Power were ready to furnish the necessary millions of money to put this mighty host in motion.

The trial of Sir Charles Wolseley and Dr. Harrison for their speeches at the meeting for Reform at Stockport in June, 1819, terminated also in their conviction and imprisonment for eighteen months, as well as the giving of security for their future good behaviour on liberation.

Both Pitt and Fox died in 1806, and a circumstance occurred in the following year which showed the inveterate obstinacy of the king regarding the Catholics. Lord Howick, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, obtained leave to bring in a Bill to enable Catholics to hold the higher offices in the army and navy; but the king soon let him know that he should not ratify any such Bill, and he agreed to withdraw it. But this did not satisfy George; he demanded from the Ministers a written engagement to propose no further concessions to the Catholics, and as they declined to do this, he dismissed them, and placed the Duke of Portland at the head of a new Cabinet.