国家安全日:重庆网警走进西政开展网络安全宣传

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION: COSTUME OF 1790.

If the French had been by no means successful in Germany, they had been much less so in other quarters of the globe. In the East Indies we had taken Pondicherry, their chief settlement, from them, and thus remained masters of the whole coast of Coromandel, and of the entire trade with India. In the West Indies, the French had been fortifying Dominica, contrary to treaty, and Lord Rollo and Sir James Douglas were sent thither, and speedily reduced it. France, indeed, was now fast sinking in exhaustion. Louis XV. was a man of no mark or ability, inclined to peace, and leaving all affairs to his Ministers, and still more to his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Choiseul was a man of talent, but of immense vanity, and little persistent firmness. He was now anxious for peace, but, too proud to make the proposal directly, he induced the Courts of Russia and Austria to do it. It was suggested that a congress should be held at Augsburg for settling the peace of Europe. England and Prussia readily consented. But the Duke of Choiseul, anxious to have a clear understanding of the terms on which England and France were likely to treat, proposed a previous exchange of views, and dispatched M. Bussy to London, whilst Mr. Pitt sent to Paris Mr. Hans Stanley.

On the 28th of March the Ministry, as completed, was announced in the House, and the writs for the re-elections having been issued, the House adjourned for the Easter holidays, and on the 8th of April met for business. The first affairs which engaged the attention of the new Administration were those of Ireland. We have already seen that, in 1778, the Irish, encouraged by the events in North America, and by Lord North's conciliatory proposals to Congress, appealed to the British Government for the removal of unjust restrictions from themselves, and how free trade was granted them in 1780. These concessions were received in Ireland with testimonies of loud approbation and professions of loyalty; but they only encouraged the patriot party to fresh demands. These were for the repeal of the two obnoxious Acts which conferred the legislative supremacy regarding Irish affairs on England. These Acts werefirst, Poynings' Act, so called from Sir Edward Poynings, and passed in the reign of Henry VII., which gave to the English Privy Council the right to see, alter, or suppress any Bill before the Irish Parliament, money Bills excepted; the second was an Act of George I., which asserted in the strongest terms the right of the king, Lords, and Commons of England to legislate for Ireland. Lord Grey declared that when he entered office in November, 1830, he found the counties round London in open insurrection, and that no measures had been taken by the late Government to put down these disturbances. This was true so far as incendiary fires were concerned. A system of outrage commenced in Kent before the harvest was fully gathered in. The disturbers of the peace did not generally assume the form of mobs, nor did they seek any political object. Threatening letters were circulated very freely, demanding higher wages and denouncing machinery, and the attacks of the rioters were directed entirely against private property. In the day armed bands went forth, wrecking mills and destroying machinery, especially threshing-machines. At night, corn-stacks, hayricks, barns, and farm buildings were seen blazing in different parts of the county. Even live stock were cruelly burned[326] to death. In addition to this wholesale destruction the rioters plundered the houses of the farmers as they went along. These disorders extended into Hants, Wilts, Bucks, Sussex, and Surrey, and they continued during the months of October, November, and December. In fact, life and property in those counties were, to a great extent, at the mercy of lawless men. Lord Melbourne lost no time in announcing his determination to punish sternly those disturbers of the peace, and to restore at every cost the dominion of law and order. He would give his most anxious attention to measures for the relief of distress, but it was his determined resolution, wherever outrages were perpetrated or excesses committed, to suppress them with vigour. In pursuance of this determination, two special commissions were issued to try the offenders. They finished their painful duties early in January. On the 9th of that month judgment of death was recorded against twenty-three persons for the destruction of machinery in Buckinghamshire. In Dorset, at Norwich, at Ipswich, at Petworth, at Gloucester, at Oxford, at Winchester, and at Salisbury, large numbers were convicted of various outrages; altogether, upwards of 800 offenders were tried, and a large proportion of them capitally convicted. Only four, however, were executed; the rest were all sentenced to various terms of transportation or imprisonment. The prosecutions were conducted with firmness, but with moderation, and they were decidedly successful in restoring public tranquillity.