鲁史古镇文章中国国家地理网

This Bill made it obvious that a great light had broken on the British Government from the American Revolution; it was discovered that the best way to govern and retain our colonies was to allow them to govern themselves. This knowledge was worth all the loss and annoyance of the American Revolution. Fox expressed his approbation of the principle, and all appeared favourable to the passing of the measure. It was allowed to proceed without opposition through its first and second reading, and through the committee; but when it was reported, then came a scene of violent contention, arising not so much from the Bill itself as from the state of parties, and the making a peg of this question on which to hang the conflicting opinions of different members on a very different questionthat of the French Revolution. Not only had Fox and Burke and Sheridan broken up their old friendship on this question, Sheridan being as enthusiastic about the Revolution as Fox, but it had split up the whole Whig party. Burke had published his eloquent "Reflections on the French Revolution," and subsequently, in February of this year, a "Letter to a Member of the National Assembly," in which he had repeated and extended his opinions upon it. The Duke of Portland and Mr. Windham took Burke's view of the nature of the French principles. However, it was not merely in Parliament, but also throughout the country that opinions were divided on the subject. Societies were formed to recommend the introduction of French Revolutionary principles into Great Britain, and many eminent men, especially among the Dissenters, took the lead in them, as we shall presently see. The tendency to despotic government in Britain, and a spreading conviction that Parliament was not truly elected by the people, rendered large numbers favourable to these views. In Parliament, however, the great shock of battle took place between the so long united friends and fellow-labourers in reform, Fox and Burke, and because the Canada Bill affected a French people,[379] it was thought a proper occasion by these statesmen to indulge in a lengthy and violent discussion of their clashing views, in which the proper question before Parliament, the Quebec Bill, was soon lost sight of. Thus baffled, he returned to Dublin, where he met with an enthusiastic reception. A meeting was held the next day to make arrangements for insuring his return for Clare. On the 1st of June O'Connell started for Ennis. All the towns he passed through turned out to cheer him on, with green boughs and banners suspended from the windows. He arrived at Nenagh in the night, and the town was quickly illuminated. Having travelled all night, he retired to rest at Limerick; and while he slept the streets were thronged with people anxious to get a glance at their "Liberator." A large tree of Liberty was planted before the hotel, with musicians perched on the branches playing national airs. The Limerick trades accompanied him in his progress towards Ennis, where his arrival was hailed with boundless enthusiasm, and where a triumphal car was prepared for him. Thus terminated a progress, during which he made twenty speeches, to nearly a million of persons. On the 30th of July O'Connell was a second time returned for Clare, on this occasion without opposition, and the event was celebrated with the usual demonstrations of joy and triumph.

The king, who had set out on his long-premeditated visit to Ireland, leaving his wife on her death-bed, was already at Holyhead when he received the tidings of her decease. From that port Lord Londonderry wrote a note to the Lord Chancellor, in which he said, "I add this private note to the letter which the king has directed me to write, to say that his Majesty is quite well, and has evinced, since the intelligence of the queen's death was received, every disposition to conform to such arrangements and observances as might be deemed most becoming upon an occasion which cannot be regarded in any other light than as the greatest of all possible deliverances, both to his Majesty and to the country. The king feels assured that the events to which my letters refer, once in your hands, will be sifted to the bottom and wisely decided; and to the advice he may receive there will be every disposition on his Majesty's part to conform; but where papers[217] connected with his daughter, as well as other branches of his family, are in question, your lordship will estimate the deep interest the king takes in your giving the whole your best consideration."

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