Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XLIII.

Parliament called Holy AllianceMarriage of the Princess Charlotte to Prince

LeopoldDistressed State of the Country--Riots and TumulisExpedition against Algiers-East India Affairs-Meeting of Parliament, The Prince-Regent attacked by the Populace-Message as to Ilegal Meetings-Relinquishment of Income by Prince-Regent and MinistersMeeting in Spa-fields and Palace-yardCommitments to the Tower— Loan of Exchequer-Bills for Public WorksCatholic Claims rejected— Lord Sidmouth's CircularMessages from the Prince-Regent-Disturbances at Manchester-State TrialsDeath of Princess Charlotte, Foreign Affairs

- Meeting and Proceedings of Parliament Royal Marriages-Education of the Poor and Charitable Institutions-Army of Occupation withdrawn from FranceDisturbances at Manchester, &c.—Death of Queen Charlotte.

PARLIAMENT CALLED.-HOLY ALLI.

FINANCE
ANCE.

From an abstract of the net produce of 1816.-Parliament assembled on the first the revenue, in the years ending the fifth of February, 1816. Brougham moved for of January, 1815, and the fifth of January, a copy of a treaty concluded at Paris, on 1816, it appeared that, in the former, it the twenty-sixth of September, between amounted to sixty-five million four hunRussia, Austria, and Prussia, and which dred and twenty-nine thousand nine hunhad received the name of the Holy Alliance. dred and eighty-one pounds; and, in the By this singular document, which was latter, to sixty-six million four hundred couched in the most devout and solemn and forty-three thousand eight hundred and language, and consisted of three articles, two pounds. Notwithstanding this enorthe three potentates, members of different mous produce, the chancellor of the excheChristian churches, declared their resolu- quer acknowledged, on the very first day tion, both in their domestic administration of the session, that it was his intention to and foreign relations, to take for their guide propose a reduced income tax of five pounds the precepts of the holy religion taught by per cent. This intention was, however, our Savior. They bound themselves in a frustrated by the persevering opposition of fraternity of mutual assistance, regarding the people. On the fifth of March, Vansitthemselves as delegated by Providence to tart, with the view of gaining over the govern three branches of one and the same poorer classes, announced, amongst his proChristian nation, of which the Divine Being posed modifications, that incomes of less was the sole 'real Sovereign; and they de- than one hundred and fifty pounds, and clared that all such powers as should sol- farms of less rent than one hundred and emnly avow the sacred principles which fifty pounds, were to be exempt from the had actuated them, would be received with operation of the tax; and that, upon farms ardor into this “holy alliance.” Brougham of higher rent, the assessment was to be observed, that there was something so sin- upon one-third instead of three-fourths of gular in the language of the treaty, as to the rent. On that reduced scale, he estiwarrant no little jealousy. He could not mated the tax to produce six million pounds think that it referred to objects merely annually. It had been proved, however, spiritual: the partition of Poland had been that, according to the original plan, more prefaced by language very similar to that than half of the tax had been paid by in. now used; and the proclamation of the em- comes of one hundred and fifty pounds press Catherine, which wound up that fatal a-year and under. Estimating the net protragedy, was couched in almost the same duce of the tax at ten per cent. to be twelve words. Lord Castlereagh vindicated the million pounds, at five per cent. it would motives of the emperor of Russia, and stated indeed be six million pounds; but, by takthat the prince-regent, whose accession to ing away, at one stroke, half of the sources this alliance had been solicited, had ex- of production-incomes of one hundred and pressed his satisfaction in its tendency. He fifty pounds a-year and under—the produce opposed the production of the document of the remaining half could not exceed three itself, on the ground that it was contrary to million pounds. On the final discussion of the practice of parliament to call for copies the subject, on the eighteenth of March, the of treaties to which this country was no motion for the continuance of the income party.

tax was negatived by two hundred and

thirty-eight against two hundred and one. extent and nature of those evils which reme This important defeat having exempted the dered it necessary to maintain there, during opulent from a heavy assessment, a boon peace, an army of twenty-five thousand was granted to the mass of the people, by men. This motion was superseded by an the repeal of the war tax on malt, which amendment, proposed by Peel, who asserted had been estimated to produce two million that the disturbances in that country seemed pounds per annum. In bringing forward to be the effect of a systematic opposition the budget, on the twenty-seventh of May, to all laws. The debates on the Catholic the chancellor of the exchequer announced question were attended with the same rethe highly gratifying fact, that the surplus sults as on former occasions; but an expecof the preceding year's grants in hand tation-was entertained that they would be amounted to five million six hundred and renewed in the ensuing session with greater sixty-three thousand seven hundred and success. A bill relative to the registry and fifty-five pounds. In their favorite object regulation of slaves, which had been introof maintaining a large standing army, min- duced by Wilberforce towards the close of isters were successful—the situation of the the last session, became the subject of warm continent rendering it in some measure debates, in consequence of a calamitous innecessary.

surrection which had taken place at Bar. Among the additional ways and means, badoes. A petition from the merchants of the sum of three million pounds was ad- Bristol deprecated the measure, as disclo vanced by the bank, at three per cent. in- sing a spirit of interference with the local terest, on condition of being permitted to legislation of the colonies; and, on the sug. increase their capital by one-fourth.-The gestion of lord Castlereagh, Wilberforce restriction on cash payments was subse- postponed his intended motion, and moved quently extended until July, 1818; the for papers on the subject. Palmer, who English and Irish exchequers were consoli- argued that the information arose from ex. dated; and a bill was passed for a new sil- pectations, among the slaves, of entire emanver coinage, in which the denomination of cipation, fostered by the proposed registry the coin was raised by a small seignorage, bill, moved an amendment, which was carsixty-six instead of sixty-two shillings being ried, recommending the colonial authoriallowed to the pound Troy.

ties to promote the moral and religious imMARRIAGE OF PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.-provement, as well as the comfort and hap

PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS. piness, of the negroes. A MESSAGE from the prince-regent to Parliament was prorogued on the second both houses of parliament, on the fourteenth of July, when the prince-regent expressed of March, announced the marriage contract his deep regret at the distresses sustained of his daughter, the princess Charlotte by many classes of his majesty's subjects, Augusta, with his serene highness the which he hoped would be found to have prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg; and, on the arisen from causes of a temporary nature. motion of the chancellor of the exchequer, STATE OF THE COUNTRY.-RIOTS. an annual sum of sixty thousand pounds The period had now arrived in which the was voted to the illustrious pair during their consequences of so long and expensive a joint lives; of which ten thousand pounds war were to be most severely felt. The was to form a sort of privy-purse for her system of borrowing could no longer be conroyal highness. If the prince should die tinued, and the supplies must now be raised first, the whole sum was to be continued to within the year. The pressure of agriculher royal highness; if he should be the tural and commercial distress was very sesurvivor, the sum of fifty thousand pounds verely felt; and, in the counties of Suffolk, was to be continued to him: the sum of Norfolk, Cambridge, and various other parts sixty thousand pounds was also granted of the kingdom, tumults of a very serious by way of outfit. The marriage ceremony nature took place. In the Isle of Ely, a was performed on the second of May, at kind of organized insurrection burst forth, the queen's palace; and the event called which was not suppressed without considforth the sincere congratulations of the erable difficulty, and between seventy and nation. In July, another royal marriage eighty rioters were tried by a special comtook place between the princess Mary, mission, when twenty-four were found fourth daughter of his majesty, and her cou- guilty, of whom five suffered the final exesin, the duke of Gloucester. Their estab- cution of the law. lishments were framed on a scale which Later in the year, the inferior produce rendered an application to the public purse of the harvest, the consequent advance in unnecessary

the price of provisions, and the continued The state of Ireland was brought under depression of trade and commerce, operated discussion in April, by Sir John Newport, most severely upon the poorer classes who moved for documents to explain the throughout the kingdom. Numerous meet

ings were holden to consider the means of Christian slaves, and that such prisoners as alleviating the general distress, and large might be taken in war should be treated subscriptions were raised; but at several according to the practice of civilized Euof the assemblies ostensibly convened for rope. These stipulations were readily agreed the most benevolent purposes, persons of se- to: treaties were signed, and the fleet reditious principles came forward to inflame turned to Algiers, where lord Exmouth the minds of the people, by asserting that proposed to the dey a similar treaty, against the abolition of places and pensions, and a which, however, he made a firm and resoreform in parliament, would prove a remedy lute stand. Lord Exmouth, therefore, defor every evil. Of the meetings of this na-parted from the interview with a determiture, those which were holden in Spa-fields, nation to commence hostilities; on which near London, are the most remarkable. the dey ordered the British consul, M'DonOn the fifteenth of November, many thou- ald, to be confined, and all the English vessand artisans and others, assembled for the sels at Oran to be seized. Negotiations, alleged purpose of petitioning for relief un- however, were resumed, which ended in an der their distress, were addressed by a per- agreement that three months should be alson named Hunt, in a long and violent ha- lowed for obtaining the sanction of the rangue, and it was del rmined that a peti- Grand Seignior to the proposed treaty; and tion to the prince-regent should be pre- the Tagus frigate was appointed to take sented by him, accompanied by Sir Fran- the dey's ambassador to Constantinople. cis Burdett; but the latter did not choose Scarcely, however, had lord Exmouth to appear in the business, and Hunt was in- reached England, when intelligence arrived formed that it could only be presented at a of a new and horrible outrage, between levee, or through the medium of the home three and four hundred Corsican, Neapolisecretary. On the second of December, tan, and Sicilian fishing-boats, employed in another meeting was convened to receive the coral fishery, near Tunis, having been the answer to the petition, when an alarm- attacked by an Algerine frigate, the fortress ing breach of the peace took place. A young of Bona also firing upon them. At the same man, named Watson, after uttering an in- time a corps of cavalry from Bona charged flammatory harangue, seized a flag from them furiously, and the slaughter amongst one of the by-standers, and, heading a party these poor defenceless creatures was most of the populace, led them into the city, and dreadful. attempted to plunder the shop of a gun- Finding it impracticable to bind the barsmith on Snow-hill. He fired a pistol at a barians by treaties, it was at length resolved gentleman named Platt, who was remon- to take severe vengeance for their cruelty strating with him, and for this offence was and perfidy; and lord Exmouth accordingly apprehended, but in the confusion that en- sailed from Plymouth, on the twenty-eighth sued he escaped ; and the riot, which might of July, in the Queen Charlotte, of a hunhave produced incalculable mischief, was dred and ten guns, with four other ships of checked by the spirited conduct of the the line, five frigates, and several sloops, magistrates, and entirely quelled by the ap- bombs, &c. Having rendezvoused at Gibpearance of a military force. During this raltar, where he was joined by a Dutch disturbance, the principal part of the assem- squadron, his lordship proceeded on his voyblage remained in Spa-fields, where another age on the fourteenth of August. The Alpetition was determined upon, and another gerines, it appeared, had, ever since the end meeting appointed.

of May, been preparing for the expected EXPEDITION AGAINST ALGIERS. attack of our fleet, by removing every artiFor a series of years, the pirates on the cle of value from the town, which was well coast of Barbary had committed great de- defended by about one thousand pieces of predations on almost every civilized state, ordnance." Algiers, rising abruptly from and at length ventured to attack the Eng- the water's edge, to a great height, was lish flag. Sir Thomas Maitland, the gover- surrounded by a high wall, the southern nor of Malta, proceeded, in consequence, to side of which was adorned with men's Tripoli, the government of which acceded heads. The batteries were one above another, to all that he proposed; and at Tunis every strongly constructed and fortified; and along thing was amicably settled by negotiation. a tongue of land, which defends the entrance These arrangements, however, proving in- into the inner part of the harbor, and also effectual, admiral lord Exmouth, with a por- the approach to it, was a range of strong tion of the Mediterranean fleet, proceeded, batteries, which our ships were obliged to in the early part of the present year, first to pass, to take their station near the town, Tunis, and then to Tripoli. At both these for the purpose of bombarding it. Lord places the deys appeared disposed to accede Exmouth arrived on the twenty-seventh of to any terms; and his lordship proposed a August; and, all proposals for conciliation treaty, for ever prohibiting the making of having proved ineffectual, the fleet passed the batteries, and at three o'clock in the in custody, on pretence that they were afternoon, the firing commenced. The prisoners for debt. His lordship immediQueen Charlotte took her station off the ately insisted on their unconditional reextreme point of the tongue, by which she lease, and prepared for the recommenceenfiladed the whole line of batteries along ment of hostilities; in consequence of which it; and so near was she, that every part they were set at liberty, and not one Chrisof the mole, and what was called the Ma- tian prisoner remained in Algiers. Our rine, was visible from her quarter-deck. gallant squadron quitted on the third of Both were crowded with spectators, and lord September; and lord Exmouth, who was Exmouth waved his hat to them to retire, twice slightly wounded during the action, and signified that he was about to begin was raised from the dignity of baron to that hostilities; but they did not attend to, or of viscount, for his services on this occaperhaps did not comprehend the meaning siɔn. A considerable promotion also took of his humanely intended warning, and the place amongst the officers who had so noconsequence was, that our first broadside bly participated in the chastisement of an swept off from five hundred to one thou- unprincipled tyrant. sand of them. The most advanced of the

EAST INDIA AFFAIRS. Algerine navy was a brig, to which the In the East Indies the irritable state of queen Charlotte lashed herself: closer in the popular mind, on all subjects connected with the shore, in the bosom of the harbor, with their customs, occasioned some diswere two frigates, and the rest of the Alge- turbances, which were not quelled without rine vessels behind them. The fury and bloodshed; and disputes with several of the tremendous nature of the bombardment native powers in the course of the year also will never be forgotten. It continued till occupied the British forces. The Pindarees nearly eleven; the Algerines fighting all made an inroad into Guntoer, laid waste the time with the utmost fury, but yet that rich district, and committed many acts with great skill and effect. About ten, the of wanton barbarity, whilst their movements land-breeze came on, and it was deemed were so skilfully conducted that they esadvisable to take a larger offing during the caped with most of their booty. The refunight. It was extremely dark; but the sal of the rajah of Nepaul to ratify the darkness was illuminated by a violent storm treaty which had been concluded occasionof lightning, with thunder, and by the in- ed a severe contest between the British and

cessant fire of the batteries. Next morning, this formidable enemy, which was termi* the city and harbor exhibited a terrible scene nated on the fourth of March, by his ac

of desolation; four large Algerine frigates, ceding to the former terms, after being defive corvettes, a great number of smaller feated in a decisive action, and losing an vessels of all descriptions, the-magazines, important fortress. For these successes the arsenals, and a large quantity of marine thanks of parliament were voted to the gorstores, being destroyed, whilst their loss in ernor-general and the army, and the earl men was between six and seven thousand : of Moira was created marquis of Hastings. the assailants had also to lament a loss in That most desirable but laborious work, killed and wounded of more than eight the arrangement of the statute law under hundred. Lord Exmouth now repeated with distinct and proper heads, had been long effect the proposals which had before been studied by lord Stanhope, whose life had rejected ; and the result of this splendid been devoted to scientific pursuits; during achievement was, that the dey agreed to-the last session he had moved for a committally to abolish Christian slavery ; to deliver tee to consider the best means of accomup all the slaves in his dominions, to what-plishing the object; but death unfortunately ever nation they might belong; to return deprived the country of his services before all the money he had received for the re- the development of his plans: and it is demption of slaves since the commence- much to be feared that a considerable time ment of the year; and to make reparation will elapse before any person equally qualified and a public apology to the British consul for the task will be induced to undertake it. for all the indignities to which he had We must not quit the year 1816

without been subjected.

recording the death of Richard Brinsley After the treaties had been negotiated, Sheridan, the last of that great constellaand the dey had refunded three hundred tion of talent which adorned the latter part and eighty-two thousand five hundred dol- of the eighteenth century. As an orator lars to the governments of Naples and Sar- he yielded not even to Pitt in flow of dicdinia, and had released ten hundred and tion; whilst in force and acuteness he may eighty-three Christian slaves, it came to the be compared with Fox, and in splendor of knowledge of lord Exmouth that two Span- imagination with Burke. At the early age iards, the one a merchant, and the other the of twenty-four he wrote a comedy, which vice-consul of that nation, were still held is admitted to be one of the best in the

English language The School for Scan- and probable duration of the pressure on dal; and, had he employed his matchless the resources of the country, which was endowments with ordinary judgment, no- declared to be much more extensive in its thing could have obstructed his progress to operations, more severe in its effects, more the highest point of fame: but, attached to deep and general in its causes, and more convivial pleasures, crusted over with indo- difficult to be removed, than that which had lence, and depressed by fortune, mischiev- prevailed at the termination of any former ous habits obscured those transcendent pow. war. To this declaration was added a proers which might have placed him in the fession of regret that his royal highness foremost rank of statesmen. He was the should not sooner have been advised to adopt consistent advocate of public liberty; and, measures of the most rigid economy and could he have been roused to more frequent retrenchment, particularly with respect to exertion, would doubtless have enjoyed a our military establishments; and a resolustill larger share of popularity.

tion that the house should go immediately MEETING OF PARLIAMENT.-PRINCE-RE. into a committee on the state of the nation. GENT ATTACKED.

The amendment was negatived without a 1817.—On the twenty-eighth of January, division; and a similar one, moved in the 1817, parliament was opened by the prince commons on the preceding day, was rejectregent in person, when the chief topics of ed by two hundred and sixty-four against the speech were, the continued assurances one hundred and twelve. Yet facts ere long of amity received from foreign powers; the proved the necessity of making large and splendid success of the bombardment of Al- general retrenchments, and of reducing giers, with the consequent renunciation of taxation. the practice of Christian slavery; and the

ILLEGAL MEETINGS. successful termination of the campaign in On the third of February a message was India. The annual estimates had been communicated to both houses, announcing formed under an anxious desire to make that the prince-regent had ordered to be every reduction in the public establishments laid before parliament papers containing an which the safety of the empire and true account of certain meetings and combinapolicy would allow; but his royal highness tions held in different parts of the country, regretted to state that there had been a de- tending to the disturbance of the public ficiency in the produce of the last year's tranquillity, the alienation of the affections revenue: he trusted, however, that it was of the people from his majesty's person and to be ascribed to temporary causes; and he government, and the overthrow of the whole had the consolation to believe that it would frame and system of the law and constitube found practicable to provide for the ser- tion: his royal highness recommended the vice without making any additions to the papers to immediate consideration, and they burdens of the people.

were referred by each house to a secret The riotous spirit which had lately dis- committee. played itself again broke out on this occa- RELINQUISHMENT OF INCOME BY THE sion; and the prince-regent, on his way to PRINCE-REGENT AND MINISTERS. the house, was assailed by tumultuous ex- ANOTHER communication, of a different pressions of disapprobation from an un- nature, was made to the house of commons usually large concourse of people, whose by lord Castlereagh, on the seventh of the conduct, on the return of the procession, same month, previously to his moving for became more violent, the royal carriage be- the appointment of a committee of inquiry ing attacked with stones and other missiles respecting the income and expenditure of in an alarming manner. This outrage was the state. His lordship said that he had it communicated to the house of peers by lord in command from the prince-regent to anSidmouth, when the consideration of the nounce, that, sympathizing with the sufferusual address in answer to the speech was ings of a generous people, he had deter. postponed till the following day, and a con- mined upon a cession of fifty thousand ference was held with the house of com- pounds per annum of that part of his inmons, at which a joint address, congratu- come which related to his personal exlating his royal highness on his escape, was penses, during the continuance of the presagreed upon. A proclamation was issued, of- ent difficulties. At the same time, his lordfering a reward of one thousand pounds for ship communicated the intention of ministhe apprehension of the offenders, but they ters voluntarily to dispense with one-tenth were never discovered.

of their official incomes, while the necessiOn the ensuing evening earl Grey moved ties of the state should require such a conan amendment on the address in answer to cession. Lord Camden, one of the tellers the speech, chiefly for the purpose of ex- of the exchequer, also relinquished, pro pressing an opinion that the prince-regent tempore, the whole of the enormous profits was under a delusion respecting the degree of that sinecure office, with the exception

« PreviousContinue »