树立大健康理念 培养防治结合型人才

The sense of the House was so completely with the Government, that Mr. Brougham, who led the Opposition, declined to go to a division. A division having been called for, however, on the part of Ministers, the whole assembly poured into the lobby, till it could hold no more; and then the remaining members who were shut in were compelled to pass for an opposition, though there were Ministerialists among them. They amounted to twenty, in a House of three hundred and seventy-two.

On hearing this, Burgoyne dispatched Colonel Baum with two pieces of artillery and eight hundred mendismounted German dragoons and British marksmen. They were to surprise Bennington, a place about twenty miles to the east of the Hudson, where the Americans had collected their stores from New England, and, having secured these, to return and carry them to St. Leger. Baum, however, found himself surrounded by Generals Starke and Warner at St. Corick's Mill, on Walloon Creek, six miles from Bennington, before help came up. For two hours a fierce attack was kept up on Baum's entrenchments on all sides by the Americans with muskets and rifles. Baum made a most gallant defence, and three times drove them from some high ground which they occupied above his camp. At last he was picked off by a rifleman and fell mortally wounded. His German troops retreated into the woods, in the direction of Fort Edward, and were there met by Breyman, who was slowly advancing with reinforcements. He reorganised the fugitives, and commenced his retreat, hotly pursued by Starke and Warner; he made his way back to Burgoyne, but not until he had fired nearly his last cartridge. Thus was destroyed in Egypt all the prestige of the battles of Alexandria and Aboukir Bay. The consequence of these two badly-planned and worse-executed expeditions was the declaration of war against Britain by the Porte, the seizure of all British property in the Turkish dominions, and the formation of a close alliance between Turkey and France. But the triumph over the British had not relieved the Turks of the Russians. Admiral Siniavin still blockaded the Dardanelles, and another Russian squadron, issuing from the Black Sea, blockaded the mouth of the Bosphorus. The Turks came boldly out of the Dardanelles and attacked Siniavin on the 22nd of May and on the 22nd of June; but on both occasions they lost several ships, and were expecting heavier inflictions from the Russians, when they were suddenly relieved of their presence by the news of the Treaty of Tilsit, which had been contracted between Alexander of Russia and Buonaparte. Alexander, by this, ceased to be the ally, and became the enemy of Britain. It was necessary, therefore, for Siniavin to make all speed for the Baltic before war could be declared between the two nations, after which his return would be hopeless. The Russian admiral, however, before quitting the Mediterranean, had the pleasure of taking possession of Corfu, which Buonaparte had made over to Alexander. The court-house on the day of nomination presented a striking scene. On the left hand of the sheriff stood a Cabinet Minister, attended by the whole body of the aristocracy and gentry, Protestant and Catholic, of the county Clare. On the right stood Mr. O'Connell, with scarcely a single gentleman by his side. But he was "the man of the people" and of the priests, and so he was master of the situation. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald was proposed by Sir Edward O'Brien, and seconded by Sir A. Fitzgerald. The Ministerial candidate first addressed the freeholders. He was an accomplished gentleman and an excellent speaker. Mr. Sheil, who was present, remarked that he delivered one of the most effective and dexterous speeches it had ever been his fortune to hear. His venerable father, who had voted against the union in the Irish Parliament, was now on his death-bed, and the knowledge of the[274] contest had been kept from him, lest the excitement should hasten his departure. In alluding to him, and to his own services to the county, Mr. Fitzgerald's eyes filled with tears, and there were few amongst his opponents, excited as they were against him, who did not give the same evidence of emotion; and when he sat down, although the great majority of the audience were strongly opposed to him, and were enthusiasts in favour of the rival candidate, a loud and unanimous burst of acclamation shook the court-house.

Such were the difficulties which Ministers had to contend with for commencing the war at sea. In one particular, however, there was more liberality; money was ungrudgingly voted; the land-tax was raised from two to four shillings in the pound, and the Sinking Fund was so freely resorted to, that the supplies altogether amounted to upwards of four millions. During these discussions, news came on the 13th of March, that on the 21st of November, 1739, Admiral Vernon had taken Porto Bello from the Spaniards. This was good news for the Opposition, for Vernon was one of their party, and a personal enemy of Walpole. There were great rejoicings and the Lords sent down an address of congratulation to the king, for the concurrence of the Commons. Yet in this they could not avoid making a party matter of it, the address stating that this glorious action had been performed with only six ships, and thus to mark[73] the contrast with the doings of Admiral Hosier in those seas, and so to blacken his memory. The address was carried in a thin House, but only by thirty-six against thirty-one, so that along with the news went the comment to Vernon, that the Ministry begrudged him his glory. Parliament was prorogued on the 29th of April, 1740, and the king set off on his summer visit to Hanover.

While affairs were in this state, the Prince of Wales died (March 20, 1751). He had been in indifferent health for some time, and had injured his constitution by dissipated habits. He was forty-four years of age, of a weak character, which had led him into excesses, and the consequences of these were made worse by great neglect of his health. The same weakness of character had made him very much the tool of political faction, and placed him in an unnatural opposition to his father. An attempt was made by Lord Egmont to keep together the prince's party. He assembled a meeting of the Opposition at his house on the morning of the prince's death, and hinted at taking the princess and her family under their protection; and he recommended harmony among themselves; but some one said, "Very likely, indeed, that there should be harmony, when the prince could never bring it about;" and so every one hastened away to look after themselves. It was no sooner seen that there was an understanding between the Princess of Wales and the king than numbers of the late prince's friends offered their adhesion to the Pelhams, equally out of dread of the Duke of Cumberland and dislike of the Duke of Bedford, who was opposed to the Pelhams, and, it was feared, likely to support Cumberland, and thus place him at the head of affairs.

The condition of the Irish poor, and the expediency of a State provision for their support, had long been a subject of anxious consideration with the Imperial Government and the legislature, and also with public men of every party who took an interest in the state of the country. It was at length resolved that something should be done for their regular relief. At the close of 1835 there had been a Poor Law Commission in existence for more than two years, consisting of men specially selected on account of their fitness for the task, and standing high in public estimation, including the Protestant and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin. They were appointed, in September, 1833, "to inquire into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland, and into the various institutions at present established by law for their relief, and also whether any and what further remedial measures appear to be requisite to ameliorate the condition of the Irish poor or any portion of them." In July, 1835, they made their first report, in which they refer to the various theories with which they were assailed in the course of their inquiries. "One party attributed all the poverty and wretchedness of the country to an asserted extreme use of ardent spirits, and proposed a system for repressing illicit distillation, for preventing smuggling, and for substituting beer and coffee. Another party found the cause in the combinations among workmen, and proposed rigorous laws against trades unions. Others, again, were equally confident that the reclamation of the bogs and waste lands was the only practical remedy. A fourth party declared the nature of the existing connection between landlord and tenant to be the root of all the evil. Pawn-broking, redundant population, absence of capital, peculiar religious tenets and religious differences, political excitement, want of education, the maladministration of justice, the state of prison discipline, want of manufactures and of inland navigation, with a variety of other circumstances, were each supported by their various advocates with earnestness and ability, as being either alone, or conjointly with some other, the primary cause of all the evils of society; and loan-funds, emigration, the repression of political excitement, the introduction of manufactures, and the extension of inland navigation, were accordingly proposed each as the principal means by which the improvement of the country could be promoted."

On the 30th of August they reached Blair Castle. The Duke of Athol, the proprietor, fled at their approach, and old Tullibardine resumed his ancestral mansion, and gave a splendid banquet there to Charles and his officers. On the third day they resumed their march, and reached Perth on the 4th of September, which the prince entered on horseback, amid loud acclamations. Whilst at Perth he received two valuable accessions to his partythe titular Duke of Perth, who brought with him two hundred men, and Lord George Murray, the brother of the Duke of Athol, and a man of considerable military experience.

Sir George Prevost now put himself at the head of the brave troops that had so lately advanced from conquest to conquest under Wellington. He had eleven thousand of these brave fellows, including a fine regiment of cavalry, and a numerous train of artillery. With such an army, an able general would not only have cleared the whole frontier of Canada, but would have inflicted a severe chastisement on the Americans in their own territory. The great object to be accomplished was the destruction of Sacketts Harbour, with which must fall at once the whole naval power of America on Lake Ontario. Every military man expected that this would be done; but Sir George, after waiting in a camp at Chamblay, advanced to Plattsburg Harbour, on Lake Champlain. But there he would do nothing till the American flotilla, which lay in the harbour, was also attacked. For this purpose Captain Downie was sent by Sir James Yeo from the Ontario squadron suddenly to take command of a squadron of a few ships and a miscellaneous naval force, as hastily mustered and knowing little of each otherDownie knowing only one of his officers. The ship which he commanded was just launched, was unfinished, and everything was in confusion: yet in this condition, Sir George Prevost insisted on their going into action against a superior and well-prepared American squadron, promising to make a simultaneous attack on the harbour and defences on land. Downie commenced the attack on the water, but found no co-operation from Sir George on shore, who stood still till he had seen Downie killed, and the unequal British vessels, three in number, fairly battered to pieces, and compelled to strike. And, after all, Sir George never did commence the attack on the fort with that fine army, which would have carried it in ten minutes, but marched back again, amid the inconceivable indignation of officers and men, who could not comprehend why they should be condemned to obey the orders of so disgraceful a poltroon. On their march, or rather retreat, they were insulted by the wondering Americans, and abandoned vast quantities of stores, ammunition, and provisions. The loss of men during this scandalous expedition was not more than two hundred; but eight hundred veteranswho had been accustomed to very different scenes, under a very different commanderin their resentment at his indignity went over to the enemy. In fact, had this unhappy general continued longer in command, the whole British force would have become thoroughly demoralised.

The growth of material wealth during this reign had in no degree improved the condition of the working class in any proportion to that of other classes. Landlords had greatly raised their rents, and farmers, by the high price of corn and other provisions, had grown comparatively rich, many very rich. The merchants and master manufacturers had shared liberally in the benefits of a vastly increased commerce, and the wonderful spread of manufactures; but the working manufacturers, between the high price of corn and meat, and the lowness of their wages, were in a miserable condition, and frequently, as we have seen, were driven to riot and insurrection. The handloom weavers were swamped by machinery, and those working the machinery were living in wretched houses, and in a most neglected and insanitary condition. Before the first Sir Robert Peel introduced his Bill for reforming the hours and other regulations of cotton mills, many of these worked night and day, one gang, as it was called, succeeding another at the spinning-jenny, in hot, ill-ventilated rooms. Apprentices were purchased of parishes, either children of paupers, or orphans of such, and these were kept by mill-owners, and worked long hours, one gang having to quit their beds in the morning for another gang of these poor unfortunates to turn into them. The agricultural labourers were little better off. Their habitations were of the worst description, though squires' kennels on the same estates were equal, in all sanitary conditions, to tolerable mansions. Their wages remained only some eight or ten shillings a weekwhen the wheat which they had raised was one hundred and thirty shillings per quarter, and a stone of flour of fourteen pounds cost a gold seven-shilling piece. This drove them in shoals to the workhouse, and produced a state of things that is hardly credible. Their mental and moral condition was equally deplorable. Education, either in town or country, was scarcely known. There was not a school in all the swarming region[158] of Whitechapel, and many another equally poor and populous region of London, much less in country towns and agricultural parishes. It was a settled maxim amongst the landed gentry, that education, even of the most elementary kind, would totally destroy the supply of servants; and it was gravely stated in Parliament that the plot of Thistlewood was owing to the working classes being able to read.

George had much difficulty in restraining his indignation, but he kept it down, and only bowed the duke silently out of his presence. No sooner had he departed than he flew to Cumberland, and declared he would bear this no longer. Again overtures were made to Pitt, again Pitt expressed himself willing to take office, but again declined, because Temple still refused. Foiled in these attempts to engage Pitt, and equally foiled in an endeavour to engage some of the heads of the leading Whig houses, who would enter no administration without Pitt, a heterogeneous cabinet was at length cobbled up, through the management of the old Duke of Newcastle, who was hankering after office. The Marquis of Rockingham was put forward as First Lord of the Treasury and Premier. Grafton and Conway were to be Secretaries of State; and the latter, lately dismissed with ignominy from the army, was to lead the Commons. The Earl of Northington was made Chancellor, the old Duke of Newcastle Privy Seal; another old and almost superannuated nobleman, Lord Winchelsea, President of the Council. Charles Townshend retained his post of Paymaster of the Forces. Such materials, it was clear, could never long hold together. "It is a mere lute-string administration," said Townshend himself; "it is pretty summer wear, but it will never stand the winter!"

But a month only elapsed when fresh differences arose in the Cabinet leading to further[373] resignations, and ending in the retirement of Lord Grey from public life. Again Ireland was the rock on which the Cabinet struck and went to pieces. The Irish Coercion Act, which had been passed for one year only, was to be renewed, with modifications, for which purpose a Bill was introduced into the Lords about the middle of June. A large number of the Liberal members of England and Scotland, as well as Ireland, required the omission of the clauses enabling the Lord-Lieutenant to suppress public meetings by proclamationa power which Lord Wellesley was induced by his meddlesome advisers, Mr. Littleton and Lord Brougham, to declare he did not require. His opinion, however, was overruled in the Cabinet, and they agreed to support the Bill as it stood. Lord Althorp had very reluctantly yielded the point, more especially as the necessity for the extra-constitutional powers was denied by the Irish executive and by the Lord Chancellor. Mr. Littleton, the Irish Secretary, having indiscreetly made O'Connell aware of the division in the Cabinet, and of the fact that several of its members were supporting the clause contrary to their convictions, the Irish leader used the knowledge thus obtained with tremendous effect. While sitting under the fierce invectives of his opponent, Lord Althorp felt his position to be intolerable. On quitting the House, after a long and harassing discussion, on the 7th of July, he wrote to the Prime Minister, announcing this fact. Next morning there was a conference, after which Lord Grey transmitted to the king his resignation, with that of Lord Althorp; and on the recommendation of Lord Grey, Lord Melbourne was appointed to the office of Prime Minister, being succeeded in the Home Office by Lord Duncannon; while Lord Althorp, relieved from his obligation with regard to the Coercion Bill, consented to resume the post he had just resigned.