Xi stresses coordinating epidemic control, economic work, achieving development goals

The attention of the public was now again drawn to those unnatural feuds which disturbed the Royal Family. The exhibition of domestic discord and hatred in the House of Hanover had, from its first ascension of the throne, been most odious and revolting. The quarrels of the king and his son, like those of the first two Georges, had begun in Hanover, and had been imported along with them only to assume greater malignancy in foreign and richer soil. The Prince of Wales, whilst still in Germany, had formed a strong attachment to the Princess Royal of Prussia. George forbade the connection. The prince was instantly summoned to England, where he duly arrived in 1728. Parliament met on the 16th of November, when the king told them that he had augmented the British forces in the Low Countries with sixteen thousand Hanoverians and six thousand Hessians. In fact, it had been his design, accompanied by his son, the Duke of Cumberland, to go over and take the command of the combined army of English, Hanoverians, Austrians, and Dutch; but the arrival of the Earl of Stair, who had been the nominal commander of these troops, and the return of Lord Carteret from the Hague, with the news that the Dutch could not be moved, had caused him to give up the idea and order his baggage on shore again. He assured Parliament, however, that the spirit and magnanimity of the Queen of Hungary, and the resolute conduct of the King of Sardinia in Italy, had produced the most beneficial effect. The usual address, proposed by the Marquis of Tweeddale, met with considerable opposition, especially in the Upper House, from the Earl of Chesterfield. Lyttelton again introduced the Place Bill, but it was rejected by the very men who had formerly advocated it. There was another motion made for inquiry into the administration of Walpole, on the plea that inquiry had been shamefully stifled on the former occasion; but it met with the same fate. But on the 10th of December the Opposition mustered all its strength on the motion of Sir William Yonge, the new Secretary at War, that we should pay for the sixteen thousand Hanoverians and the six thousand Hessians, and that a grant of six hundred and fifty-seven thousand pounds should be made for their maintenance from August, 1742, to December, 1743. It was the hard task of Sandys, as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, to defend this monstrous grant and the interests of Hanover, after so many years of attack on these topics in opposition. Pitt answered Sandys in the most caustic style of his eloquence, and Sir John Aubyn and others followed as indignantly; but the Ministers carried the motion by two hundred and sixty votes against one hundred and ninety-three. Their ablest supporter on this occasion was Murray, afterwards Lord Mansfield, who made his first parliamentary speech on the occasion, and showed the delighted Cabinet that the man whom they had just made their Solicitor-General was capable of contending with that "terrible comet of horse," Pitt.

[398] This royal denunciation of the Repeal movement greatly exasperated O'Connell. He had recently submitted a plan to the Repeal Association, recommended by a committee of which he was chairman, for the restoration of the Irish Parliament. In the document containing this plan it was declared that the people of Ireland finally insisted upon the restoration of the Irish House of Commons, consisting of 300 representatives, and claimed, in "the presence of the Creator," the right of the Irish people to such restoration, stating that they submitted to the union as being binding in law, but solemnly denied that it was founded on right, or on constitutional principle, or that it was obligatory on conscience. The franchise was to be household suffrage, and the voting by ballot. It was also provided that the monarch or regent de jure in England should be the monarch or regent de facto in Ireland. This revolutionary scheme was to be carried into effect, "according to recognised law and strict constitutional principle." The arbitration courts which O'Connell had threatened to set up, in consequence of the superseding of magistrates connected with the Repeal Association, had actually been established; and the Roman Catholic peasantry, forsaking the regular tribunals, had recourse to them for the settlement of their disputes.

Imagining that the crowd would now disperse, the soldiers were dismissed, and the magistrates returned home. But this was premature. There were shoals of hot-headed fanatics, who were not willing to depart without some damage inflicted on the Catholics. One division of these attacked the Bavarian chapel in Warwick Lane, Golden Square, and another attacked the Sardinian chapel in Duke Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, destroyed their interiors, and set them on fire. The engines arrived only in time to see a huge bonfire before the Sardinian chapel made of its seats, and both chapels too far in flames to be stopped; indeed, the mob would not allow the engines to play. The soldiers, too, arrived when it was too late to do anything, but seized thirteen of the rioters.

The year 1812 opened, in England, by the assembling of Parliament on the 7th of January. The speech of the Regent was again delivered by commission. The great topic was the success of the war in Spain under Lord Wellington, whose military talents were highly praised. There was a reference also to the disagreements with America, and the difficulty of coming to any amicable arrangement with the United States. Lords Grey and Grenville, in the Peers, pronounced sweeping censures on the continuance of the war with France, and on the policy of Ministers towards America, from which source they prognosticated many disasters. In the Commons, the Opposition used similar language; and Sir Francis Burdett took a very gloomy view of our relations both with France and North America, and declared that we could anticipate no better policy until we had reformed our representative system.

Pitt, on the day mentioned, announced these facts, and declared that his Majesty had demanded satisfaction from the Court of Spain for the insult to our flag and for the usurpation of our settlement; but that considerable armaments were making in the ports of Spain. He called upon the House to address his Majesty, imploring him to take all necessary measures for the vindication of our honour and our rights. Fox naturally expressed his surprise at this announcement, after the high assurances of such profound prospects of peace little more than a fortnight before. He moreover asserted that not only were the Ministers fully aware of all these circumstances at the very moment when the Premier made these statements, but that he had himself been aware of them a considerable time before that. Pitt endeavoured to explain that all the circumstances were not known when he professed such confidence in peace; but these assertions were clearly as little true as the former, for the British Government had received information from the Spanish Government itself, as early as the 10th of the previous February. Notwithstanding, the House supported the Government warmly in its determination to resist the enormous claims of Spain and to compel her to make satisfaction. Lord Howe was desired to have a fleet in readiness, and the Spanish Court having taken a high tone to Mr. Merry, our Minister at Madrid, Mr. Fitzherbert was dispatched thither as our plenipotentiary. He arrived at Madrid in the beginning of June. At first the Spanish Court were very high, and applied to France for co-operation, according to treaty; but France, in the throes of the Revolution, had no money to spend in such armaments and, on second thoughts, Spain dreaded introducing French revolutionary sailors amongst their own. They soon, therefore, lowered their tone, agreed to surrender Nootka Sound, make full compensation for all damages, and consented that British subjects should continue their fisheries in the South Seas, and make settlements on any coasts not already occupied. Captain Vancouver, who had been with Cook as a midshipman in his last two voyages, being present at his tragical death, was sent out in the following year to see that the settlement of Nootka Sound was duly surrendered to England. He saw this done, the Spanish commander, Quadra, behaving in a very friendly manner; and he proceeded then, during the years 1792 and 1793, to make many accurate surveys of the western coasts of North and South America, in which the Spaniards gave him every assistance. The British took formal possession not only of Nootka Sound, but of the fine island called after Vancouver. Pitt was highly complimented for his firmness and ability in the management of this business.

In the south-east of Spain the motley army of British and Sicilians had done sufficient to keep the attention of Suchet engaged, so that he could not quit that post to follow and assist Soult against the main British army. Lord Wellington had instructed Sir George Murray to embark his troops at Alicante, and, sailing to Tarragona, endeavour to make himself master of it; if he found the French too strong in that quarter to enable him to effect his purpose, he was to re-embark, return to Valencia, and then attack the French lines on the Xucar before Suchet could make the long march which would be necessary to support them. Murray had had his army weakened by the withdrawal of two thousand troops by Lord William Bentinck, very unnecessarily, to Sicily; but he undertook these man?uvres, and might have succeeded in capturing Tarragona, but, alarmed at a rumour of Suchet and General Mathieu having combined their forces, and being in march against him, he abandoned the place panic-stricken, and, in spite of the indignant remonstrances of Admiral Hallowell, embarked his troops in the utmost precipitation. Lord William Bentinck arrived on the 17th of June, immediately after the embarkation, but not in time to save nineteen pieces of artillery, which Murray had abandoned in the trenches. Lord Bentinck battered down Fort Balaguer, and then sailed away to Alicante, leaving the Spanish general exposed to the enemy, but he saved himself by escaping into the mountains. For this conduct, Sir George Murray on his return to England was tried by court-martial, and gently reprimanded, but nothing more.

While these matters were going on in Ireland, Mr. Peel was applying his mind, in the most earnest manner, to the removal of the difficulties that stood in the way of Emancipation.

But De Tolly was only remaining to defend the town whilst the inhabitants carried off with them their movable property. Whilst on the side of Smolensk, when Buonaparte arrived, all was silent, and the fields were empty, on the other side it was one vast crowd of people moving away with their effects. Buonaparte hoped that the Russians would deploy before the gates, and give him battle; but they did nothing of the sort, and he determined to storm the place. Its walls were old but very thick, and it might hold out some time, and the assault must cost many lives; but Buonaparte determined to make it. The French, however, learned that the Russians were already in retreat; and Murat observed that to waste these lives was worse than useless, as the city would be theirs without a blow immediately. Buonaparte replied in an insulting manner to Murat, and ordered the assault the next morning. On this, Murat, driven to fury, spurred his horse to the banks of the Dnieper, in the face of the enemy, between batteries, and stood there as voluntarily courting death. Belliard called out to him not to sacrifice himselfhe only pushed on still nearer to the fire of the Russian guns, and was forced from the scene by the soldiers. The storming commenced, and Tolly defended the place vigorously, killing four or five thousand of the French as they advanced to the attack.