贡嘎县开展“践行核心价值观 争做‘四讲四爱’好少年”活动

The Ministry were now involved in a transaction which produced them a plentiful crop of unpopularity. The country was already highly disappointed by the character of the financial measures, and now saw them engaged in an attempt to gratify the domestic resentments of the Prince of Wales. We have already alluded to the[520] disreputable circumstances attending his marriage with the Princess Caroline of Brunswick. After little more than a year's cohabitation they separated, but not before a daughter was born. So long as the Pitt Administration continued, all offensive measures of a public nature were warded from the unfortunate princess. The king had always been her decided protector; but now the Whigs came in, who had ever been in alliance with the Prince of Wales, and that exemplary gentleman conceived hopes that he might rid himself of her. The public had been for some time scandalised by disputes between the prince and princess as to a proper separate allowance for her, and concerning the prince's endeavours to deprive her of the company of her own child; but, as he had not succeeded in taking away the infant, rumours were soon industriously spread that the princess, at Blackheath, was leading a very disreputable life. All that they could gather up or construe to the princess's disadvantage was duly communicated to the Duke of Sussex, and by the duke to his brother, the prince. In 1805 they had supplied their employer or employers with a most startling story of the princess's having been delivered of a son, whom she was openly keeping in her house, under pretence that it was the child of a poor woman of the name of Austin, which she had adopted. Immediate steps were taken privately to get up a case. On the 24th of May Lord Chancellor Erskine read the written statements to the king, who decided that a private inquiry should take place; that the house of Lord Grenville should be selected as the proper scene, and that Lords Erskine, Spencer, Grenville, and Ellenborough should undertake the inquiry and report to him upon it. This meeting and inquiry took place, accordingly, on the 1st of June. Romilly attended. The servants were examined, and appear, according to Romilly's diary, to have uniformly given the most favourable testimony to the conduct of the princess. Further: the reputed mother of the child, Sophia Austin, was examined, and proved that the child was veritably her own; had been born at the Brownlow Street Hospital on the 11th of July, 1802, and had been taken to the princess's house on the 15th of November, adopted by her, and had remained there ever since. "The result," says Romilly, "was a perfect conviction on my mind, and, I believe, on the minds of the four lords, that the child was the child of Sophia Austin." This affair of the Princess of Wales was not terminated till the end of January, 1807. When the report was laid before the king, he referred it to the Cabinet, and they advised him to send a written message to the princess, acquitting her of the main charge, but observing that he saw in the depositions of the witnesses, and even in her own letter to him, defending her conduct, evidence of a deportment unbecoming her station. The odium excited against the Ministry by these un-English proceedings was intense, especially amongst women, all over the country.

MUSTER OF THE IRISH AT MULLINAHONE. (See p. 568.) Of all the expectants of office in the Wellington Administration, the most bitterly disappointed was the ex-Chancellor, Lord Eldon, to whom official life had from long habit become almost a necessity. He had enjoyed power long enough in reason to admit of his retirement with a contented mind; but the passion for it was never stronger than at the present moment. He hastened to London a few days after Christmas on account of rumours of a dissolution of the Cabinet. Having so often done this when there was a talk of a Ministerial crisis, he was called the "stormy petrel." Believing that he had mainly contributed to bring about the Ministerial catastrophe, he was dreadfully mortified when he saw in the newspapers the list of the new Ministers beginning thus: "Chancellor, Lord Lyndhurst." He had not set his heart this time on the office of Lord Chancellor, he would have been content with the Presidentship of the Council or Privy Seal; but his name was not found in the list at all, nor had he been consulted in any way, or informed about what was going forward during the fortnight that passed before the Ministerial arrangements were completed. This utter neglect of his claims excited his anger and indignation to the utmost, and caused him to indulge in bitter revilings and threats against the new Cabinet. The great Tory lords shared in his resentment, and felt that they were all insulted in his person. Referring to the Ministerial arrangements, he wrote:"You will observe, Dudley, Huskisson, Grant, Palmerston, and Lyndhurst (five) were all Canningites, with whom the rest were three weeks ago in most violent contest and opposition; these things are to me quite marvellous. How they are all to deal with each other's conduct, as to the late treaty with Turkey and the Navarino battle, is impossible to conjecture. As the first-fruits of this arrangement, the Corporation of London have agreed to petition Parliament to repeal the laws which affect Dissenters."

Yet, looking at Spain from a mere momentary point of view, its condition was sad enough. Saragossa had undergone a second siege, in which the inhabitants had again made a brilliant stand, and caused the French much loss and suffering, though compelled at length to surrender. The battle of Oca?a, in November of 1809, had been lost by Areizaga, and left Spain without a single considerable army. During the latter part of the same year, General Reding, the patriotic Swiss general, had been defeated at Valls. Blake had sustained two heavy defeats near Saragossa and Belchite, with the loss of the greater part of his artillery and men. Gerona had withstood a desperate siege, but was compelled to capitulate on the 10th of December. Tarragona and Tortosa had suffered the same fate. In some of these towns the Spaniards had not yielded till they had killed and eaten their horses and mules.

Telford succeeded to Brindley, with all his boldness and skill, and with much extended experience. He executed the Ellesmere canal, which occupied a length of upwards of a hundred miles, connecting the rivers Severn, Dee, and Mersey. In the construction of this canal Telford introduced a bold, but successful, novelty. In aqueducts, instead of puddling their bottoms with clay, which was not proof against the effects of frost, he cased them with iron, and adopted the same means when he had to pass through quicksands or mere bog. Some of Telford's aqueducts were stupendous works. The Chirk aqueduct passed, at seventy feet above the river, on ten arches of forty feet span, and cost twenty thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight pounds. The aqueduct over the Dee passed at a height of one hundred and twenty-one feet above low water, and consisted of a great trough of cast-iron plates, supported on eighteen piers, and having a towing-path of cast-iron, supported on cast-iron pillars. This aqueduct took ten years in building, and cost, with its embankments, forty-seven thousand pounds. Tunnels much larger than that at Harecastle Hill were executed. That at Sapperton, on the Thames and Severn canal, executed by Mr. Whitworth, was nearly two miles and a half long, ran two hundred and fifty feet below the summit of the hill, and was large enough for boats of seventy tons burden. This was completed in 1788. These daring enterprises led to the design of a tunnel under the Thames, from Gravesend to Tilbury; but this was abandoned for want of capital. In 1804 a like attempt was made at Rotherhithe, but stopped from the same cause, and was not completed till 1843 by Sir Mark Isambard Brunel. Between 1758 and 1801 no fewer than sixty-five Acts of Parliament were passed for making or extending canals. At the end of that period canals extended over upwards of three thousand miles, and had cost upwards of thirteen millions sterling. In fact, the bulk of canal work was done by this time, though not some few works of great importance. The Leeds and Liverpool canal, begun in 1770, but not completed till 1816, opened up connection with a vast manufacturing district; and the Rochdale, Huddersfield, and Hull canals gave access for the Baltic traffic into the heart of Lancashire. The Paddington and Regent's Canals wonderfully promoted the intercourse between the interior and the metropolis. In the Highlands, the Caledonian Canal, connecting the[192] string of lakes between Inverness and the Atlantic, gave passage to ships of large burden. At the end of this reign the aggregate length of canals in England and Wales was two thousand one hundred and sixty miles; in Scotland, two hundred and twelve; in Ireland, two hundred and fifty; total, two thousand six hundred and twenty-two miles. The attention paid to roads and canals necessitated the same to bridges; and during this reign many new structures of this kind were erected, and much improvement attained in their formation. In 1776 a totally new kind of bridge was commenced at Coalbrook Dale, and completed in 1779; this was of cast-iron, having a single arch of one hundred feet span, and containing three hundred and seventy-eight and a half tons of metal. Telford greatly improved on this idea, by erecting an iron bridge over the Severn, at Buildwas, in 1796, having an arch of one hundred and thirty feet span. Home we have none!

The Assembly had, on this memorable night of the 4th of August, decreed nothing less thanthe abolition of all serfdom; the right of compounding for the seignorial dues, and the abolition of seignorial jurisdictions; the suppression of exclusive rights of hunting, shooting, keeping warrens, dovecotes, etc.; the abolition of tithes; the equality of taxes; the admission of all citizens to civil and military employments; the abolition of the sale of offices; the suppression of all the privileges of towns and provinces; the reformation of wardenships; and the suppression of pensions obtained without just claims. The Assembly then continued the work of the constitution.

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CORONATION OF WILLIAM IV.: THE ROYAL PROCESSION. (See p. 343.)