聚焦丨这是你不知道的雪域高原练兵场

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. The Guards at the gates stood with tricolour cockades on their hats, and the great ladies of the Court came driving in, for they were not far off. The Duchess of St. Leu had been permitted to remain in Paris, and her house had been the focus of all the Buonapartist adherents and conspiracies. From that centre had been sent summonses to every branch of the Buonaparte family to be in readiness, and all had responded except Cardinal Fesch, Louis Buonaparte, and Eugene Beauharnais, who had too much sense to quit Munich with his wife, the daughter of the Bavarian king. Even Murat, to his ruin, had been induced to declare for Buonaparte once more.

On the 29th of November Flood moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the more equal representation of the people. This was the scheme of the Volunteer Parliament, and all the delegates to the Convention who were members of the House, or had procured admittance as spectators, appeared in uniform. The tempest that arose is described as something terrific. The orders of the House, the rules of debate, the very rules of ordinary conduct amongst gentlemen, were utterly disregarded. The fury on both sides was uncontrollable. The motion was indignantly rejected by one hundred and fifty-seven votes against seventy-seven; and the House immediately voted a cordial Address to his Majesty, declaring their perfect satisfaction with the blessings enjoyed[311] under his auspicious reign, and the present happy Constitution, and their determination to support him with their lives and fortunes. On the 13th of March Mr. Flood introduced his Bill once more, for equalising the representation of the people in Parliament. It proposed to abolish the right of boroughs altogether to send members, and to place the franchise in the people at large. Sir John Fitzgibbon, the Attorney-General, stoutly opposed it; Grattan dissented from it, and it was thrown out on the motion to commit it.

Notwithstanding the hopes which might have been fairly entertained that the measure of Reform would have been rendered complete throughout the kingdom, a considerable time elapsed before its benefits were extended to the sister country; and a large amount of persevering exertion was required before a measure for the purpose was carried through Parliament, although its necessity was unquestionable. This arose from certain difficulties which it was not found easy to overcome, so as to meet the views, or, at least, to secure the acquiescence, of the various parties in the House. And hence it happened that it was not until 1840 that an Act was passed for the regulation of municipal corporations in Ireland, after repeated struggles which had to be renewed from year to year, and the question was at length only settled by a sort of compromise. On the 7th of February, 1837, Lord John Russell moved for leave to bring in the Irish Municipal Bill, which was passed by a majority of 55; but the consideration of it was adjourned in the Peers till it was seen what course Ministers were to adopt with regard to the Irish Tithe Bill. Early in 1838 the Bill was again introduced, when Sir Robert Peel, admitting the principle by not opposing the second reading, moved that the qualification should be 10. The motion was lost, but a similar one was made in the Upper House, and carried by a majority of 60. Other alterations were made, which induced Lord John Russell to relinquish his efforts for another year. In 1839 he resumed his task, and the second reading was carried by a majority of 26. Once more Sir Robert Peel proposed the 10 qualification for the franchise, which was rejected in the Commons, but adopted in the Lords by nearly the same majorities as before. Thus baffled again, the noble lord gave up the measure for the Session. In February, 1840, the Bill was introduced by Lord Morpeth with a qualification of 8. Sir Robert Peel now admitted that a settlement of the question was indispensable. With his support the Bill passed the Commons by a majority of 148. It also passed the Lords, and on the 18th of August received the Royal Assent.

It might have been supposed that Europe, or at least the southern portion of it, was likely to enjoy a considerable term of peace. France, under a minor and a Regent, appeared to require rest to recruit its population and finances more than any part of the Continent. The King of Spain was too imbecile to have any martial ambition; and though his wife was anxious to secure the succession to the French throne in case of the death of the infant Louis XV., yet Alberoni, the Prime Minister, was desirous to remain at peace. This able Churchman, who had risen from the lowest position, being the son of a working gardener, and had made his way to his present eminence partly by his abilities and partly by his readiness to forget the gravity of the clerical character for the pleasure of his patrons, was now zealously exerting himself to restore the condition of Spain. He was thus brought into collision with Austria and France, and eventually with this country to which at first he was well disposed. England was under engagement both to France and the Empire, which must, on the first rupture with either of those Powers and Spain, precipitate her into war. The treaty with the Emperoras it guaranteed the retention of the Italian provinces, which Spain beheld with unappeasable jealousy, in Austrian handswas the first thing to change the policy of Alberoni towards Britain. This change was still further accelerated by the news of the Triple Alliance, which equally guaranteed the status quo of France. The Spanish Minister displayed his anger by suspending the Treaty of Commerce, and by conniving at the petty vexations practised by the Spaniards on the English merchants in Spain, and by decidedly rejecting a proposal of the King of England to bring about an accommodation between the Emperor and the Court of Spain. Sanguine though the Dissenters had been respecting the growth of the principles of civil and religious liberty, of which the seeds had been sown in tears by the early Puritan confessors, they did not anticipate that the harvest was at hand. As their claims were not embarrassed by any question of divided allegiance or party politics, many members of Parliament who had not supported the relief of the Roman Catholics found themselves at liberty to advocate the cause of the Protestant Nonconformists; while almost all who had supported the greater measure of Emancipation felt themselves bound by consistency to vote for the abolition of the sacramental test. Yet the victory was not achieved without a struggle. Lord John Russell said:"The Government took a clear, open, and decided part against us. They summoned their followers from every part of the empire. Nay, they issued a sort of 'hatti-sheriff' for the purpose; they called upon every one within their influence who possessed the faith of a true Mussulman to follow them in opposing the measure. But, notwithstanding their opposition in the debate, their arguments were found so weak, and in the division their numbers were found so deficient, that nothing could be more decided than our triumph."

Meanwhile the war had continued, and with the commencement of 1841 fortune began to favour the British. The Chinese position at the mouth of the Canton river was forced, and the Emperor was compelled to send a Commissioner, Keshin by name, to treat with the "outer barbarians." Keshin cunningly transferred the scene of negotiations to Canton, in order to secure time to strengthen the forts and prepare for defence. He accordingly employed the interval busily in erecting new batteries at the Bogue, barricading the bars in the river by sinking boats laden with stones, throwing up breastworks near Canton, and levying troops. The British Commissioner, wearied and irritated by these proceedings, gave directions to Commodore Bremer to proceed at once to compulsory methods of bringing the Chinese to reason. On the 7th of January, therefore, he opened fire on the Bogue forts, on two of which the British flag very soon floated. Next morning, when everything was ready to attack the principal fort, Annughoy, a flag of truce was sent by the Chinese, and hostilities were suspended. Keshin offered to adjust matters immediately, and on the 20th a circular appeared, signed by Captain Elliot, and dated Macao, addressed to "Her Britannic Majesty's subjects," stating that her Majesty's plenipotentiary had to announce the conclusion of preliminary arrangements between the Imperial Commissioner and himself, involving the following conditions:1st. The cession of the harbour and island of Hong Kong to the British Crown. 2nd. An indemnity to the British Government of 6,000,000 dollars, to be paid in annual instalments in six years. 3rd. Direct official intercourse between the two countries upon equal footing. It was quite evident that her Majesty's plenipotentiary did not understand the sort of people he had to deal with; otherwise, he would not have arrested the operations of Commodore Bremer till he had all the principal forts in his possession. In fact he was completely duped by Keshin.