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类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-29 04:49:39

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Marriage is one of the fundamental principles of the social system. The law of marriage, therefore, ought to be plain and simple, intelligible to all, and guarded in every possible way against fraud and abuse. Yet the marriage laws of the United Kingdom were long in the most confused, unintelligible, and unsettled state, leading often to ruinous and almost endless litigation. A new Marriage Act was passed in the Session now under review, which, like many Acts of the kind, originated in personal interests affecting the aristocracy. It was said to have mainly arisen out of the marriage of the Marquis of Donegal with Miss May, who was the daughter of a gentleman celebrated for assisting persons of fashion with loans of money. The brother of the marquis sought to set this marriage aside, and to render the children illegitimate, in order that he might himself, should the marquis die without lawful issue, be heir to his title and estates. In law the marriage was invalid; but it was now protected by a retrospective clause in the new Act. By the Marriage Act of 1754 all marriages of minors certified without the assent of certain specified persons were declared null. A Bill was passed by the Commons giving validity to marriages which, according to the existing law, were null, and providing that the marriages of minors, celebrated without due notice, should not be void, but merely voidable, and liable to be annulled only during the minority[226] of the parties, and at the suit of the parents or guardians.The success of the Duke of Wellington in carrying Emancipation was fatal to his Government. Almost to a man the Tories fell from him, and he found no compensation in the adhesion of the Whigs. The latter were glad that their opponents had been induced to settle the question, a result which they had long desired, but had not the power to accomplish. Their gratitude, however, for this great service to the public was not sufficiently warm to induce them to enlist under the banner of the Duke of Wellington, though they were ready to come to his assistance, to protect his Government for a time against the violent assaults of the party whose feelings and prejudices he had so grievously outraged. All parties seem, indeed, to have been exhausted by the violence of the struggle, and there was no desire to attempt anything important in the way of legislation during the remainder of the Session. There was nothing extraordinary in the Budget, and it was accepted without much objection. The subject of distress among the operatives gave rise to a debate which occupied two days, and a motion for inquiry into its causes was rejected. The trade which suffered most at the time was the silk trade. It was stated that, in 1824, there were 17,000 looms employed in Spitalfields; now there were only 9,000. At the former period wages averaged seventeen shillings a week, now the average was reduced to nine shillings. By the manufacturers this depression was ascribed to the relaxation of the prohibitory system, and the admission of foreign silks into the home market. On the other hand, Ministers, and the advocates of Free Trade, ascribed the depression to the increase of production, and the rivalry of the provincial towns of Congleton, Macclesfield, and Manchester. That the general trade had increased was shown by the vast increase in the quantity of raw silk imported, and in the number of spindles employed in the silk manufacture. The Government was firm in its hostility to the prohibitory system, and would not listen to any suggestion for relief, except a reduction in the duties on the importation of raw silk, by which the demand for the manufactured article might be augmented. While these discussions were going on in Parliament the silk-weavers were in a state of violent agitation, and their discontent broke forth in acts of lawlessness and destructive outrage. They were undoubtedly in a very miserable condition. It was ascertained that there were at Huddersfield 13,000 persons, occupied in a fancy trade, whose average earnings did not exceed twopence-halfpenny a day, out of which they had to meet the wear and tear of looms, etc. The artisans ascribed this reduction to the avarice of their employers, and they avenged themselves, as was usual in those times, by combination, strikes, and destruction of property. In Spitalfields bands of weavers entered the workshops and cut up the materials belonging to refractory masters. The webs in thirty or forty looms were sometimes thus destroyed in a single night. The same course was pursued at Macclesfield, Coventry, Nuneaton, and Bedworth, in which towns power-looms had been introduced which enabled one man to do the work of four. The reign of terror extended to Yorkshire, and in several places the masters were compelled to succumb, and to accept a list of prices imposed by the operatives. In this way the distress was greatly aggravated by their ignorance. What they demanded was a restrictive system, which it was impossible to restore. The result obtained was simply a reduction of the duties on raw silk.

Such a calamity could not but be attended with the most mischievous consequences. Chatham was obliged to leave town, and seek retirement and[192] a purer air at North End, near Hampstead. Townshend, who in a few days would have ceased to be Chancellor of the Exchequer, still retained office, and now showed more freely the wild and erratic character of his genius. He had lost half a million from the revenue by the reduction of the land-tax, and he pledged himself to the House to recover it from the Americans. He declared that he fully agreed with George Grenville, even in the principle of the Stamp Act, and ridiculed the distinction set up by Chatham, and admitted by Franklin, of the difference between internal and external taxation. This was language calculated to fire the already heated minds of the colonists, who, the more they reflected on Chatham's lofty language on the supreme authority of the mother country in the declaratory Act, the more firmly they repudiated it.Munster 2,396,161 3,777,103 1,013,826 671,554

In the same field was to be found the poet Ebenezer Elliott, the "Corn Law Rhymer." By his addresses to his fellow-townsmen of Sheffield, his remonstrances with the infatuated followers of O'Connor, who fancied that their own cause was opposed to that of the Manchester League, and by his powerful "Corn Law Rhymes," Elliott rendered services to the movement of the highest value. A good specimen of Elliott's powers of versification is afforded by the following song:On the 22nd of January, 1801, the first Imperial Parliament met, and Addington was re-elected Speaker. The king did not meet this Parliament till the whole of its members had been sworn; his opening of it for business took place on the 2nd of February, and his speech had no cheering topics to give spirit to its first proceedings; on the Continent there had been nothing but defeat on the part of the Allies, of triumph on that of France. Our late ally, Paul, had not only seized our merchant vessels in the ports of the Baltic, and the property of our merchants in the Russian towns, but he had entered into a league with Sweden and Denmark to close the Baltic altogether to us, and to compel us to relinquish the right of search. This confederacy, by stopping the supplies of corn from the North, threatened us with great aggravation of the distresses at home; and some members advocated the surrender of the right of search, or the acceptance of the principles of an armed neutrality, such as Catherine of Russia had endeavoured to establish. But Pitt plainly showed that to allow neutral vessels to carry arms, ammunition, and commodities of life into the ports of our enemies would render all blockades of their forts useless, and enormously increase our difficulties during war. Orders were immediately issued to send a powerful fleet into the Baltic to chastise the insane Czar.

During the whole of these scenes the attitude of Government was not merely indifferent, but absolutely repulsive. At no time had so cold and narrow-spirited a Ministry existed. The names of Castlereagh, Liverpool, Sidmouth, and Lord Eldon as Lord Chancellor, recall the memory of a callous Cabinet. They were still dreaming of additional taxation when, on the 17th of March, they were thunderstruck by seeing the property-tax repealed by a majority of forty. The Prince Regent had become utterly odious by his reckless extravagance and sensual life. The abolition of the property-tax was immediately followed by other resistance. On the 20th of March a motion of disapprobation of the advance of the salary of the Secretary to the Admiralty, at such a time, from three to four thousand pounds a-year was made, but lost. On this occasion Henry Brougham pronounced a most terrible philippic against the Prince Regent, describing him as devoted, in the secret recesses of his palace, to the most vicious pleasures, and callous to the distresses and sufferings of others! Mr. Wellesley Pole described it as "language such as he had never heard in that House before."CHAPTER XVII. THE REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).This note contained much that was not true. It implied that Buonaparte had come voluntarily and without necessity on board the Bellerophon, whilst it was well known that perhaps another hour would have been too late to secure him from seizure by the officers of Louis, king of France. He affected to claim the protection of British laws, when he was a notoriously proclaimed outlaw, so proclaimed by the whole of the Allied Powers for the breach of his solemn engagement to renounce all claims on the throne of France. There was, therefore, no answer whatever to that note from the Prince Regent, who was under engagement to his Allies, as they to him, to hold no communication with a man who had so shamefully broken his word, and had, moreover, thereby sacrificed so many valuable lives. The reply was from Lord Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty, announcing to him that the British Government, with the approbation of its Allies, had determined that, to prevent any further opportunity for the disturbance of the peace of Europe by General Buonaparte, he should be sent to St. Helena; that they had been guided in this choice, not only by the desire of his security, but also by the consideration that the island was extremely healthy, and would afford him much greater liberty than he could enjoy in a nearer locality; and that he might select three officers, with his surgeon, and twelve domestics to attend him. From the number of the officers Savary and Lallemand were expressly excepted. It also added that the persons permitted to accompany him would be subject to a certain degree of restraint, and would not be permitted to leave the island without the sanction of the British Government. It was finally added that General Buonaparte should make no delay in the selection of his suite, as Rear-Admiral Sir George Cockburn, appointed to the command of the Cape of Good Hope, would convey him in the Northumberland to St. Helena, and would be presently ready to sail. Napoleon left Plymouth Sound on the 5th of August, and died at St. Helena on May 5th, 1821, having spent his last years in quarrelling with his gaoler, Sir Hudson Lowe, and in an elaborate attempt to falsify history.

On arriving in Paris, the Emperor Alexander took up his quarters at the house of Talleyrand, and there the King of Prussia, Prince Schwarzenberg and others came to consult. Talleyrand now spoke out, and declared that it would be madness to treat with Buonaparte; the only course was to restore the Bourbons, under certain limits. As early as the 12th of March the Duke of Angoulme had entered Bourdeaux, and had there proclaimed, amid acclamations, Louis XVIII. The Comte d'Artois came along in the rear of the Allied army, and had everywhere issued printed circulars, calling on the people to unite under their ancient family, and have no more tyranny, no more war, no more conscriptions. This paper had also been extensively circulated in Paris. On the 1st of April the walls of Paris were everywhere placarded by two proclamations, side by side, one from the Emperor Alexander, declaring that the Allied sovereigns would no longer negotiate with Napoleon nor any of his family, and the other from the municipality of Paris, declaring that, in consequence of the tyranny of Napoleon, they had renounced the allegiance of the usurper, and returned to that of their legitimate sovereign. On the same day the Senate, under the guidance of Talleyrand, decreed that he had violated and suppressed the constitution which he had sworn to maintain; had chained up the press, and employed it to disseminate his own false statements; drained the nation, and exhausted its people and resources in wars of mere personal ambition; and, finally, had refused to treat on honourable conditions: for these and other plentifully-supplied causes, he had ceased to reign, and the nation was therefore absolved from all oaths sworn to him. This decree, on the 2nd and 3rd of April, was subscribed by the public bodies in and around Paris. A Provisional Government was appointed.

Having reported to Mr. Canning the result of his diplomatic efforts at Paris, the Duke set out on his journey to Vienna, where he arrived on the 29th of September, and where he expected the Congress to be held. But there again England's plenipotentiary, the great conqueror of Napoleon, who had restored the legitimate despots to their thrones, was treated with as little consideration as at Paris. Not till his arrival did he learn that the Congress which he was invited to attend was not to be held at Vienna at all, but at Verona. Meanwhile, in the interval between the adjournment from one city to another, the Allied Sovereigns were paying a visit of friendship to the King of Bavaria, whose system of government no doubt met with their unqualified approval. As the Duke's instructions forbade him to meddle with Italian affairs, he tarried at Vienna till he should receive further instructions from his own Government. While awaiting an answer he had opportunities of conferring personally with the Czar, who had obtained an ascendency in the councils of the Holy Alliance which rendered him the virtual master of every situation. With regard to the affairs of Turkey, the Duke succeeded in obtaining from his Imperial Majesty an assurance that, unless driven to it by some unforeseen and irresistible necessity, he would not come to an open rupture with the Sultan. He was not so successful in his exertions with regard to the Spanish question, on which the Czar was in an irritable mood. He said that Spain was the very centre and focus of revolutionary principles, and he felt it to be the duty not less than the policy of the Allied Sovereigns to trample them out at their source, and for this purpose he had proposed to contribute 150,000 men, whom he intended to march into Spain through French territory. In reply to the Duke's earnest remonstrances against this course, the Czar put a question which betrays the aggressive policy of military despots. He asked what he was to do with his army. It insisted upon being led against Turkey, and was only restrained because he had expressed his determination of employing it in putting down what he called Jacobinism in the west.

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Serious differences between Great Britain and the United States of America occupied the attention of both Governments during the years 1841 and 1842, and were brought to a satisfactory[492] termination by the Ashburton Treaty, referred to in the Royal Speech at the opening of Parliament in 1843. The questions at issue, which were keenly debated on both sides, related to the right of search, the Canadian boundary, and the McLeod affair. The Government of Great Britain regarding the slave-trade as an enormous evil and a scandal to the civilised world, entered into arrangements with other nations for its suppression. For that purpose treaties were concluded, securing to each of the contracting parties the mutual right of search under certain limitations. The United States Government declined to be a party to these treaties, and refused to have their vessels searched or interfered with in time of peace upon the high seas under any pretence whatever. Notwithstanding these treaties, however, and the costly measures which Great Britain had recourse to for suppressing the nefarious traffic in human beings, the slave trade was carried on even by some of the nations that had agreed to the treaties; and in order to do this more effectually, they adopted the flag of the United States. For the purpose of preventing this abuse, Great Britain claimed the right of search or of visitation to ascertain the national character of the vessels navigating the African seas, and detaining their papers to see if they were legally provided with documents entitling them to the protection of any country, and especially of the country whose flag they might have hoisted at the time. Lord Palmerston, as Foreign Secretary, argued that while his Government did not claim the right to search American merchantmen in times of peace, a merchantman could not exempt itself from search by merely hoisting a piece of bunting with the United States emblems and colours upon it. It should be shown by the papers that the vessel was entitled to bear the flagthat she was United States property, and navigated according to law. Mr. Stevenson, the American Minister, protested strongly against this doctrine, denying that there was any ground of public right or justice in the claim put forth, since the right of search was, according to the law of nations, a strictly belligerent right. If other nations sought to cover their infamous traffic by the fraudulent use of the American flag, the Government of the United States was not responsible; and in any case it was for that Government to take such steps as might be required to protect its flag from abuse.Invasion of Holland by DumouriezHe is defeated at Neerwinden and goes over to the EnemySecond Partition of PolandThe Campaign in the NetherlandsAnd on the RhineThe English Fleets in the Channel and West IndiesSiege of ToulonFirst appearance of Napoleon BuonaparteFall of LyonsThe Reign of TerrorInsurrection in La VendeIts brutal SuppressionWorship of the Goddess of ReasonOpposition to the War in EnglandProsecutions for SeditionTrials in ScotlandDiscussions on the subject in ParliamentArrests of Horne Tooke, Thelwall, Hardy, and othersBattle of the First of JuneThe War in the West IndiesAnnexation of CorsicaThe Campaign of 1794The Prussian SubsidySuccesses of Pichegru against the AustriansThe Struggle for the SambreLoss of BelgiumDanger of HollandThe War in the SouthThe Reign of Terror continuesThe Festival of the Supreme BeingDeath of Robespierre and his AssociatesThe ThermidoriansFinal extinction of PolandThe Portland Whigs join the MinistryTrials of Hardy, Horne Tooke, and their AssociatesOpening of ParliamentThe BudgetAttempts at ReformMarriage of the Prince of WalesHis AllowanceThe French occupy HollandIt becomes a RepublicPrussia and Spain leave the Coalition, but the War continuesCampaigns on the Rhine and in ItalyThe War in La Vende and in BrittanyThe Expedition from England plannedDestruction of the Expedition at QuiberonExtinction of the War in La VendeEstablishment of the DirectoryAttack on George the ThirdThe BudgetPitt's first Negotiations for PeaceFailure of Lord Malmesbury's MissionSuccesses in the West Indies and AfricaExpedition to Bantry BayThe Campaign of 1796Retreat of the FrenchNapoleon's Italian CampaignThe Battles of ArcoleA new British LoanSuspension of Cash PaymentsGrievances of the SeamenMutiny at PortsmouthIts PacificationMutiny at the NoreDescent on the Welsh CoastCampaign of 1797Preliminaries of LeobenTreaty of Campo FormioLord Malmesbury's Mission to Lille.

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