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On the following day, which was the anniversary of the king's birthday, the Irish prelates, headed by the Archbishop of Armagh, presented an address to his Majesty, complaining of the attacks on the Irish Church, deprecating the threatened innovations, and imploring his protection. The king was greatly moved by this appeal. Breaking through the usual restraints, he delivered an extemporaneous answer, in which, among other things, he said, "I now remember you have a right to require of me to be resolute in defence of the Church." He assured the bishops that their rights should be preserved unimpaired, and that if the interior arrangements of the Irish Church required any amendmentwhich, however, he greatly doubtedhe hoped it would be left to the bishops to correct them, without the interference of other parties. He was now completing his 69th year, and he must prepare to leave the world with a conscience clear in regard to the maintenance of the Church. Tears ran down his cheeks while, in conclusion, he said, "I have spoken more strongly than usual, because of the unhappy circumstances that have forced themselves upon the observation of all. The threats of those who are the enemies of the Church make it the more necessary for those who feel their duty to that Church to speak out. The words which you hear from me are, indeed, spoken by my mouth, but they flow from my heart." After these transactions there could no longer remain even the name of peace between France and England. Mr. Thompson, the British Resident at Paris, made the most indignant complaints of the hostile proceedings of the French fleets and of the encouragement of the Young Pretender. The reply to this was a formal declaration of war, couched in the most offensive terms, in the month of March, to which George replied in a counter-declaration equally strong.

"THE POLLING."

Agrarian outrage had thus been effectually put down by the special commission; but a much more formidable difficulty was now to be encountered by the Government, which was called upon to suppress a rebellion. In order that its origin may be understood, it will be necessary to sketch briefly the rise and progress of the Young Ireland party. It had its origin in the establishment of the Nation newspaper in 1842, by Thomas Davis, Charles Gavan Duffy, and John Mitchel. Davis was a native of the county of Cork, a member of the Church of England, and a barrister who had devoted himself to literature. He was a man of genius and enthusiastic temperament, combined with habits of study and a love of system. As a member of the Repeal Association, and as a writer in the Nation, he constantly advocated national independence. He was a vigorous writer, and also a poet. He was much respected personally by all classes, and would have exerted a powerful influence, but he was cut off by fever in the midst of his career. His memory received the honour of a public funeral, which was one of the largest and most respectable that had for some time taken place in Dublin. Mr. Duffy, the proprietor and editor of the Nation, a Roman Catholic and a native of Monaghan, had been connected with the press in Dublin. Mr. Mitchel, also a northerner and a solicitor by profession, was the son of a Unitarian minister in Newry. These men were all animated by the same burning love of Ireland, and unmitigated hatred of English domination. The Nation soon attained a vast circulation; its leading articles were distinguished by an earnestness, a fire, a power, an originality and boldness, till then unknown in the Irish press. Its columns were filled with the most brilliant productions in literature and poetry, all designed to glorify Ireland at the expense of England, and all breathing the spirit of war and defiance against the Government. In addition to the Nation, they prepared a number of small books, which they issued in a cheap form as an Irish library, devoted chiefly to the history of their country, and its struggles for independence. By their exertions, reading-rooms were established throughout the country, and a native literature was extensively cultivated. The orator of the party was Thomas Meagher, at a later period general in the American army, son of a Waterford merchant, who was afterwards member of Parliament. He was a brilliant, fluent, ardent, daring speaker; his appearance and manners were those of a gay, reckless, dashing cavalier; and his warlike harangues had won for him the designation, "Meagher of the Sword." His speeches fired his audience with wild enthusiasm. Since 1844, as we have seen, Mr. William Smith O'Brien had become the leader of this party, which differed in spirit and purpose from the Old Ireland party, of which O'Connell had been so long the leader. O'Connell's agitation even for Repeal was essentially religious. Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church were indissolubly associated in his mind. His habits as a nisi prius barrister made him an advocate more than a statesman; and having pleaded the cause of his Church for forty years, having been rewarded and retained for so doing by an annual "tribute" collected in the chapels of the kingdom, and having won his unparalleled popularity and almost kingly power by his services in this cause, he could not help regarding himself as the special champion of the Irish priests and their people. For them he courted Whig alliances, for them he abused the Tories, for them he sought Repeal, and for their sakes he deprecated war. He knew that the Protestants of Ireland would never sufficiently trust him or his ecclesiastical clients, to join them in a war against English supremacy, which they disliked far less than Roman Catholic ascendency. He knew that a war for Repeal must be a civil and religious war; and he too well remembered the horrors of 1798, and was too well aware of the[564] power of England, seriously to encourage anything of the kind. He talked indeed about fighting at the monster meetings, but he did so merely to intimidate the Government, confident of his power to hold the masses in check, and to prevent breaches of the peace. The State prosecutions and the proceedings of the Young Ireland party worked in him the painful and almost heart-breaking conviction that he had gone too far. Another essential difference existed between the two parties regarding religion. The Young Irelanders wanted to ignore religion in the national struggle. Their object was to unite all Irishmen in the great cause, to exorcise the spirit of bigotry, and to cultivate the spirit of religious toleration. But neither the Protestants nor the Catholics were prepared for this. The peasantry of the South especially would not enter into a contest in which their priests refused to lead and bless them; and these would neither lead nor bless except in the interest of their Church. This truth was discovered too late by Mr. Smith O'Brien and Mr. Meagher. The latter gentleman is said to have remarked in his prison, "We made a fatal mistake in not conciliating the Catholic priesthood. The agitation must be baptised in the old Holy Well."

Parliament met on the 17th of January, 1727. The Royal Speech breathed a decidedly warlike tone. The king informed Parliament that he had received information, on which he could rely, that a secret article of the treaty between Spain and the Emperor bound those parties to place the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain, and that the surrender of Gibraltar and Port Mahon was the price to be paid for this service. He asked whether the public would not regard with indignation the imposition of a Popish Pretender on the nation at such a cost. He added that the King of Spain had ordered his Ambassador to quit the kingdom, leaving behind him a formal demand for the surrender of the above-named places. There was a great ferment in the House. Palm, the Emperor's envoy, wrote to his Imperial master, advising him to disavow any such secret agreement in the treaty at Vienna, and thus allay the excitement in England. But Charles, who owed his throne to the victories of Marlborough, and whose claims on Spain had been prosecuted by Britain at serious cost of men and money, performed this disavowal with as much arrogance as stupidity. He was not contented to say that the King of England was mistaken, but he declared that his speech was false. This gross insult to the head of the nation roused the indignation of all parties, even of the Opposition; and Wyndham, Pulteney, and Shippen denounced it as loudly as any, and supported a motion of Walpole, declaring it an insolent affront. Palm was ordered to quit the kingdom immediately.

The case of Spain was the most perplexing of all. The British Cabinet expressed the opinion that no foreign Power had any right whatever to interfere with any form of government which she had established for herself, and that her king and people were to be left to settle their own differences as best they could. The representative of Great Britain was directed to urge this point with all his influence upon the Allies, and especially upon France. But the case of her revolted colonies was different. It was evident, from the course of events, that their recognition as independent States was become a mere question of time. Over by far the greater portion of them Spain had lost all hold, and it had been found necessary, in order to admit their merchant vessels into British ports, to alter the navigation laws both of Britain and Spain. The letter of instructions accordingly directed the British plenipotentiary to advocate a removal of the difficulty on this principle: that every province which had actually established its independence should be recognised; that with provinces in which the war still went on no relation should be established; there was to be no concert with France, or Russia, or any extraneous power, in establishing relations with the new States. "The policy projected was exclusively English and Spanish, and between England and Spain alone its course was to be settled. Other nations might or might not come into the views which England entertained; but upon their approval or disapproval of her views England was not in any way to shape her conduct."

The coasting trade carried on by means of steamers underwent an astounding development during the twenty years now under review. In 1820 there were but nine steamers engaged in it, with a tonnage of 500. The next year there were 188 steamers, and thenceforth they went on doubling for several years. In 1830 the number of vessels was nearly 7,000, with a tonnage of more than a million; in 1840 it was upwards of 15,000, with a tonnage of nearly three millions; and in 1849 it was 18,343, with a tonnage of upwards of four millions and a quarter. This account does not include vessels arriving and departing in ballast or with passengers only, which are not required to enter the Custom House. Steam-vessels were not employed in this kingdom for conveying goods coastwise before 1820, nor in foreign trade, except for the conveyance of passengers, earlier than 1822. In the foreign trade the number of steamers increased gradually from that year till they reached the number of 4,000, with an aggregate tonnage of 800,000.