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类型:奇幻地区:϶发布:2020-10-23 15:40:08

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The king attended the theatre one evening, and by his desire the drama of Rob Roy was performed. The theatre was of course crowded to excess, the boxes presenting a dazzling galaxy of rank and beauty. When the approach of the king was announced, there was a pause of deathlike stillness; then an outburst of deep, honest enthusiasm never to be forgotten. "A prolonged and heartfelt shout, which for more than a minute rent the house," a waving of handkerchiefs, tartan scarfs, and plumed bonnets, testified the joy of the assembly and delighted the ears and eyes of the "chief of chiefs." Sir Walter Scott in a letter to his son gives a vivid description of this royal visit. For a fortnight Edinburgh had been a scene of giddy tumult, and considering all that he had to do, he wondered that he had not caught fever in the midst of it. All, however, went off most happily. The Edinburgh populace behaved themselves like so many princes, all in their Sunday clothes; nothing like a mobno jostling or crowding. "They shouted with great emphasis, but without any running or roaring, each standing as still in his place as if the honour of Scotland had depended on the propriety of his behaviour. This made the scene quite new to all who had witnessed the Irish reception." The king's stay in Scotland was protracted till the 29th of August. On the day before his departure, Mr. Peel, who accompanied him as Home Secretary, wrote the following letter to Sir Walter Scott:"My dear sir,The king has commanded me to acquaint you that he cannot bid adieu to Scotland without conveying to you individually his warm personal acknowledgments for the deep interest you have taken in every ceremony and arrangement connected with his Majesty's visit, and for your ample contributions to their complete success. His Majesty well knows how many difficulties have been smoothed, and how much has been effected by your unremitting activity, by your knowledge of your countrymen, and by the just estimation in which they hold you. The king wishes to make you the channel of conveying to the Highland chiefs and their followers, who have given to the varied scenes which we have witnessed so peculiar and romantic a character, his particular thanks for their attendance, and his warm approbation of their uniform deportment. He does justice to the ardent spirit of loyalty by which they are animated, and is convinced that he could offer no recompense for their services so gratifying to them as the assurance which I now convey of the esteem and approbation of their Sovereign."

Shortly after the king arrived, on the 12th of May, pursued to his palace gates by a multitude of his angry and insurgent subjects, he was waited upon by the Duke of Wellington, who remained in conference with him about twenty minutes, and then departed amidst the most astounding yells of the populace. "A week since," said the Sun of that day, "only a short week since, the king was in full possession of the greatest popularity any earthly monarch could enjoy; and now behold the change!" Among the means resorted to for the purpose of coercing the Peers, was a run upon the banks. The cry was raised, "To stop the Duke, go for gold!" The advice was acted upon, and in three days no less than 1,800,000 was drawn out of the Bank of England in specie.[See larger version]

At Calcutta, Francis, Clavering, and Monson were deeply engaged in what appeared to them a certain plan for the ruin of Hastings. The Maharajah Nuncomar, who styled himself the head of the Brahmins, came forward and laid before them papers containing the most awful charges against Hastings. These were that Hastings had encouraged him, at the command of the Secret Committee, to produce charges against Mohammed Rheza Khan and Shitab Roy, when they were in prison, in order to extort money from them; and that Hastings had accepted a heavy bribe to allow Mohammed to escape without punishment. Hastings broke up the Council, declaring that he would not sit to be judged by his own Council. If they had charges to prefer against him, they might form themselves into a committee, and transmit such evidence as they received to the Supreme Court of Justice at Calcutta, or to the Directors at home. But the three declared themselves a majority, voted their own competence to sit and try their own chief, and preferred another huge charge introduced by Nuncomarnamely, that Hastings had appropriated to[327] himself two-thirds of the salary of the Governor of Hooghly, a post formerly held by Nuncomar himself. They determined to introduce Nuncomar to confront Hastings at his own Council board. Hastings declared the Council not sitting; the three declared it sitting and valid, and called in Nuncomar, who proceeded to detail his charges, and ended by producing a letter from the Munny Begum, now Governor of Oude, expressing the gratitude which she felt to the Governor-General for her appointment as guardian of the Nabob, and that in token of this gratitude she had presented him with two lacs of rupees. Immediately on hearing that, Hastings declared the letter a forgery, and that he would prove it so; and he was not long in procuring an absolute denial of the letter from the Begum. Things being driven to this pass, Hastings commenced an action against Nuncomar, Mr. Fowke, one of the most active agents of the trio, and others, as guilty of a conspiracy against him. This was supported by native witnesses, and the Supreme Court of Justice, after a long and careful examination of the case, held Nuncomar and Fowke to bail, and bound the Governor-General to prosecute.

As harmony was restored on the Continent, so harmony characterised, to a wonderful degree, the opening of the British Parliament in January, 1736. The king felicitated the country on the happy turn which affairs had taken on the Continent, and said "that he trusted the same peace and goodwill would manifest themselves in the domestic affairs of the realm." All appeared likely to realise this wish. A congratulatory address was carried without a division, and without a syllable of dissent. But the peace was hollowthe calm only preceded a storm.On the opening of Parliament, in January, 1738, a desperate effort was made by the Opposition at once to reduce the army and to kindle a war with Spain. Walpole proposed to place the army on a footing of seventeen thousand men. The "Patriots," as they were called, voted to reduce the number to twelve thousand. Walpole, exasperated at their factious conduct, launched an indignant sarcasm at them, which produced so much effect that they did not venture to divide on the motion. "No man of common sense," said Walpole, "will now profess himself openly a Jacobite; by so doing he not only may injure his private fortune, but must render himself less able to do any effectual service to the cause he has embraced; therefore there are but few such men in the kingdom. Your right Jacobite, sir, disguises his true sentiments. He roars out for revolutionary principles; he pretends to be a great friend to liberty and a great admirer of our ancient Constitution; and under this pretence there are numbers who every day endeavour to sow discontent among the people."But the alterations were fatal to the measure in Ireland. Instead now of being the resolutions passed in the Irish Parliament, they embraced restrictive ones originating in the British Parliamenta point on which the Irish were most jealous, and determined not to give way. No sooner did Mr. Orde, the original introducer of the resolutions to the Irish Parliament, on the 2nd of August, announce his intention to introduce them as they now stood, than Flood, Grattan, and Dennis Browne declared the thing impossible; that Ireland never would surrender her birthright of legislating for herself. Mr. Orde, however, persisted in demanding leave to introduce a Bill founded on these resolutions, and this he did on the 12th of August. Flood attacked the proposal with the utmost vehemence. Grattan, Curran, and others declared that the Irish Parliament could hear no resolutions but those which they themselves had sanctioned. Accordingly, though Mr. Orde carried his permission to introduce his Bill, it was only by a majority of nineteen, and under such opposition that, on the 15th, he moved to have it printed for the information of the country, but announced that he should proceed no further in it at present. This was considered as a total abandonment of the measure, and there was a general rejoicing as for a national deliverance, and Dublin was illuminated. But in the country the spirit of agitation on the subject remained: the non-importation Associations were renewed, in imitation of the proceedings in Boston, and the most dreadful menaces were uttered against all who should dare to import manufactured goods from England. The consequences were the stoppage of tradeespecially in the seaportsthe increase of distress and of riots, and the soldiers were obliged to be kept under arms in Dublin and other towns to prevent outbreaks.

On the 26th of August Massena arrived before Almeida, a strongly fortified town not thirty miles from Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellington hoped that it would detain him at least a month, for it had a good Portuguese garrison, commanded by Colonel Cox, an English officer: and he himself drew near, to be able to seize any opportunity of damaging the besiegers. But in the night of the 27th there was a terrible explosion of a powder magazine, which threw down part of the wall, and made the place untenable. Treachery was immediately suspected, and what followed was sufficient proof of it; for the Portuguese major, whom Colonel Cox sent to settle the terms of the capitulation, went over to the French, and was followed by a whole Portuguese regiment with the exception of its British officers. This was a great disappointment to Lord Wellington, whose plan was to detain Massena till the rainy season set in, when he would at once find himself embarrassed by bridgeless floods and in intolerable roads, and, as he hoped and had ordered, in a country without people and without provisions.CHAPTER XII. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).The strong towns and fortresses of Prussia were all surrendered with as much rapidity as the army had been dispersed. They were, for the most part, commanded by imbecile or cowardly old villains; nay, there is every reason to believe that, in many instances, they sold the places to the French, and were paid their traitor fees out of the military chests of the respective fortresses. Whilst these events were so rapidly progressing, Louis Buonaparte, the new King of Holland, with an army of French and Dutch, had overrun, with scarcely any opposition, Westphalia, Hanover, Emden, and East Friesland. The unfortunate King of Prussia, who had seen his kingdom vanish like a dream, had fled to K?nigsberg, where he was defended by the gallant Lestog, and awaited the hoped-for junction of the Russians marching to his aid. Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden, forgetting the slighted advice which he had offered to Prussia to unite with Austria, opened Stralsund and Riga to the fugitive Prussians.

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The style of ladies' dresses in the days of George IV. forms a striking contrast to the fashions of the present day. The ordinary walking dresses were made loosely and simplynot high to the throat, as they were afterwards, nor yet low; the waist, with utter disregard to its natural length, was portioned off by a belt coming almost immediately under the arms, from which descended a long, straight, ungraceful skirt, without any undulation or fulness whatever, reaching to the feet, but short enough to leave them visible. The sleeves were plain and close to the arms, and fastened at the wrist with a frill. The same scantiness of material was observed in the evening dresses; they wore low bodices and short sleeves, with long gloves reaching to the elbow. The trimmings varied according to the taste of the wearer, as in our own day. Small flowers at the bottom of the skirt seem to have been the prevailing style. The hair was generally arranged in short curls round the face; but this was also subject to variations, of course, and some wore it plaited. The head-dress was composed of a bouquet of flowers placed on the top of the head. But the ugliest and the most uncouth part of the dress and the most irreconcilable with modern ideas of taste was the bonnet. The crown was in itself large enough for a hat of reasonable proportions; and from it, the leaf grew out, expanding round the face, in shape somewhat like a coal-scuttle, and trimmed elaborately with feathers and flowers.[See larger version]

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The year 1824 is memorable in Ireland for the establishment of the Catholic Association. The Catholic question had lain dormant since the union. Ireland remained in a state of political stupor. There was a Catholic committee, indeed, under the direction of a gentleman of property, Mr. John Keogh, of Mount Jerome, near Dublin. But his voice was feeble, and seldom heard. The councils of the Roman Catholics were much distracted. Many of the bishops, and most of the gentry, recommended prudence and patience as the best policy. Liberal statesmen in England were willing to make concessions, but the conscientious scruples of George III. had presented an insuperable barrier in the way of civil equality. There was an annual motion on the subjectfirst by Grattan, then by Plunket, and lastly by Burdett; but it attracted very little attention, till the formidable power of the Catholic Association excited general alarm for the stability of British institutions. Adverting to the past history of Irelandher geographical position, her social state in respect of the tenure of property, and the numbers of the respective religious denominations of her peoplethe ablest Conservative statesmen considered that it would be extremely difficult to reconcile the perfect equality of civil privilege, or rather the bona fide practical application of that principle, with those objects on the inviolable maintenance of which the friends and opponents of Catholic Emancipation were completely agreednamely, the Legislative union and the Established Church. There was the danger of abolishing tests which had been established for the express purpose of giving to the legislature a Protestant charactertests which had been established not upon vague constitutional theories, but after practical experience of the evils which had been inflicted and the dangers which had been incurred by the struggles for ascendency at periods not remote from the present. There was the danger that the removal of civil disabilities might materially alter the relations in which the Roman Catholics[249] stood to the State. Sir Robert Peel, in his "Memoirs," recites those difficulties at length, and in all their force. He fully admits that "the Protestant interest" had an especial claim upon his devotion and his faithful service, from the part which he had uniformly taken on the Catholic question, from the confidence reposed in him on that account, and from his position in Parliament as the representative of the University of Oxford.[See larger version]

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