京广铁路列车脱轨事故调查组成立

In the month of April arrived the permission for Sir William Howe to retire, and, although he was one of the five Commissioners named for carrying into effect the proposals in Lord North's Bill, he determined to leave at the earliest day for England. Lord Howe, the Admiral, was equally impatient to return, but Lord Sandwich had informed him that it would be considered a great misfortune for him to quit his command in the present circumstances. This was, in fact, an order for his remaining, which the breaking out of the war with France, and the expected arrival of a French fleet, rendered doubly imperative.[256] Sir Henry Clinton was appointed to succeed Sir William Howe, and, the former having arrived in Philadelphia, Howe departed. Scarcely had Clinton assumed the command, when an order arrived from the Government at home to abandon Philadelphia, and concentrate his forces at New York. The French fleet under D'Estaing was on its way, and it was considered that we had not a fleet of sufficient strength to beat them back from the mouth of the Delaware.

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During this year the Americans continued to hope for relief to themselves from the progress of the Armed Neutrality, but derived little good from it, though, through their exertions, they beheld Holland added to the open enemies of England. The Dutch Government, flattering themselves that, with nearly all the world against her, England must succumb, had long been secretly in negotiation with the insurgent subjects of England, and their treachery was now suddenly, by a singular circumstance, brought to light. Captain Keppel, cruising in the Vestal frigate off the banks of Newfoundland, in the month of September, captured one of the American packets. On the approach of the British boats to the packet, it was observed that something was hastily flung overboard. A sailor leaped from one of the boats into the sea, and succeeded in securing this something before it had sunk beyond reach. It turned out to be a box, which had been weighted with lead, but not sufficiently to render it so rapid in its descent as to prevent its seizure by the British tar. On being opened, it revealed a mass of papers belonging to an American emissary to the Court of Holland, and opened up a long course of negotiations, and an eventual treaty of peace and commerce between Holland and our American colonies. The bearer of these papers was discovered on board the packet, in the person of Henry Laurens, late president of the American Congress. These most important papers, together with their bearer, were sent with all speed to England. Copies were forwarded to Sir Joseph Yorke, our Ambassador at the Hague, who was instructed to demand from the States General the disavowal of the negotiations. The States General, confounded by the discovery of their clandestine negotiations, remained silent for a week, and then only replied by advancing complaints of violence committed by the British navy on their traders, and of its having insulted the Dutch flag by seizing some American privateers in the port of the island of St. Martin, under the very guns of the fort. Sir Joseph did not allow himself to be diverted from his demand, but again, on the 12th of December, a month after the presentation of his memorial, demanded an answer. No answer was returned. England was thus compelled to declare war against Holland on the 20th of December, Sir Joseph Yorke being recalled by the king, and Count Welderen receiving his passports in London.

When Parliament opened on the 20th of January, 1778, the Opposition fell, as it were, in a mass upon the Ministry on this question. There was much dissatisfaction expressed at the Government allowing Liverpool, Manchester, and other places, to raise troops without consulting Parliament. It was declared to be a practice contrary to the Constitution and to the Coronation Oath. Sir Philip Jennings Clerke, on the 22nd of January, moved for an account of the numbers of troops so raised, with the names of the commanding officers. Lord North, whilst observing that this mode of raising troops showed the[249] popularity of the war, and that the country was by no means in that helpless condition which a jealous and impatient faction represented it to be, readily granted the return. In the House of Lords the Earl of Abingdon moved to consult the judges on the legality of raising troops without authority of Parliament; but this motion was not pressed to a division. But, on the 4th of February, Sir Philip Jennings Clerke returned to his charge in the Commons. Lord North replied that this now hotly-decried practice was one which had been not only adopted, but highly approved of, in 1745, and again in 1759, when Lord Chatham was Minister, and that he had then thanked publicly those who had raised the troops for the honour and glory of their country. A motion was negatived by the Lords on the same day, to declare this practice unconstitutional, and a similar one later in the Session, introduced by Wilkes and supported by Burke. On the 18th of February, however, Fox moved a string of resolutions condemnatory of war with France. They declared that that country was only doing what every country had a right to doreorganise its internal Constitution; that, as we had allowed Russia, Prussia, and Austria to dismember Poland, we had no right to check the aggressions of France on these countries; as we had remained quiescent in the one case, we were bound to do so in the other, and not to make ourselves confederates of the invasion of Poland; and his final resolution went to entreat his Majesty not to enter into any engagements with other Powers which should prevent us from making a separate peace with France. Burke did not lose the opportunity of rebuking Fox for his long advocacy of the Empress Catherine, whose unprincipled share in the partition of Poland he was now compelled to reprobate. The resolutions of Fox were negatived by two hundred and seventy votes against forty-four. Not daunted by this overwhelming majority, Fox again, on the 21st of February, brought forward his resolution in another form, declaring that there were no sufficient causes for war. The motion was negatived without a division. [See larger version]

The State prosecutions commenced in January, 1844, in the Court of Queen's Bench, before the Lord Chief Justice Penefather, and Justices Burton, Crampton, and Perrin. Besides the Attorney and Solicitor-General, there were ten counsel employed for the Crown, and there was an equal number on the side of the traversers, including Mr. Sheil, Mr. Hatchel, Mr. Moore, Mr. Whiteside, Mr. Monaghan, afterwards Chief Justice, Mr. O'Hagan, and Mr. Macdonogh. This monster trial was remarkable in many respects. It excited great public interest, which pervaded all classes, from the highest to the lowest. It lasted from the 16th of January to the 12th of February; the speech of the Attorney-General occupied two days; the jury list was found to be defective, a number of names having been secretly abstracted; newspaper articles were admitted as evidence against men who never saw them; the Lord Chief Justice betrayed his partiality in charging the jury, by speaking of the traversers as "the other side." The principal witnesses were shorthand writers from London, avowedly employed by the Government to report the proceedings of the monster meetings. Mr. Jackson, reporter for the Morning Herald, also placed his notes at the service of the Government. Mr. O'Connell defended himself in a long argument for Repeal, and an attack on the Government. The most brilliant orations delivered on the occasion were those of Sheil and Whiteside. Mr. Fitzgibbon, one of the counsel for the traversers, made a remark offensive to the Attorney-General, Mr. T. C. B. Smith, who immediately handed him a challenge, in the presence of his wife, while the judges had retired for refreshment. The matter was brought before the court, and, after mutual explanations, was allowed to drop.