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Reign of George III. (Continued.) page 27


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Meantime, the country was feeling the pressure of the war severely in the scarcity of corn. Commerce being deranged by the disturbed state of the continent and the dangers at sea, grain and flour were very high, and, in answer to public complaints, resolutions were passed through both houses, recommending the diminished use of bread, the substitution of brown bread for white, of stale bread for new, and the total disuse of pastry. To such paltry resources was the nation reduced through its fatal indulgence in war! The more rational measures were, to offer bounties on importation of grain, and on the stoppage of the distilleries. The opposition did not fail to upbraid the government with these difficulties as the direct result of their war mania; and Pitt received these remonstrances, charging him with some- thing little short of treason.

In July of the present year the Union of Ireland with Great Britain was carried - an admirable measure, effected by the most detestable means on record. A resolution had passed the British parliament in 1799, recommending this union, and the news of this created a tempest of indignation in Ireland. In January, 1799, the speech on the address to the throne in the Irish parliament was, on this account, vehemently opposed, and only carried by a majority of one; yet, in January, 1800, a motion was carried, at the instigation of lord Castlereagh, in favour of the union, by a majority of forty-two. Whence this magical change in twelve months? On the 5th of February the whole plan of the union was detailed by lord Castlereagh, the principal secretary of state for Ireland, in the Irish commons. He stated that it was intended to give to Ireland in the parliament of the United Kingdom four lords spiritual, by rotation of sessions, and twenty-eight lords temporal, elected for life as peers of Ireland, and that the Irish representatives in the united house of commons should be a hundred. The motion for this plan was carried in the Irish commons by a hundred and fifty-eight against a hundred and fifteen, and by a great majority in the house of lords; but this was in the face of the most unmitigated amazement on the part of the opposition, and of the people, who were not in the secret. The rage and indignation were beyond description. On the 13th of March Sir John Parnell declared that this measure had been effected by the most unexampled corruption, and moved for an address to his majesty, imploring him to dissolve this parliament, and present the question to be decided by a new one. But the solicitor-general, who had taken his own ample bribe, declared that this motion was " unfurling the bloody flag of rebellion; " and Mr. Egan replied that the solicitor-general and other members of the administration had already " unfurled the flag of prostitution and corruption." But the measure was now passed, and that by the same parliament which, only a year before, had rejected the proposition in toto. But what were the means employed by the English government to produce this change? O'Connell, in his speech before the Dublin corporation in 1843, declared that he had it on the authority of Burke and Plunket, and on that of the report of the committee of the Irish house of commons in 1798, to inquire into the causes of that event, that not only had the great Irish rebellion been fomented by the English government, as preparatory to their plan of urging a union, but the parliamentary papers published since then, he added, " disclosed the astounding fact, that one million two hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds had been paid in purchase of Irish boroughs, and more than a million pounds expended in mere bribes. Bribery was unconcealed. The terms of the purchase were quite familiar in those days. The price of a single vote was eight thousand pounds in money, or an appointment to an office of two thousand pounds a-year, if the parties did not choose to take ready money. Some got both for their votes; and no less than twenty peerages, ten bishoprics, one chief justiceships, and six puisne judgeships were the price of votes for the union. Add to this, officers who were appointed to the revenue, the army, and the navy, in recompense of union votes. At first, Castlereagh failed, but he then bought up the seats in parliament, and so achieved - a majority."

In a word, Ireland was forced into the union by the same means by which the liberties of England had been undermined - by the public money, and the bribes of elevation to the peerage. Grattan, the great Irish patriot, said lord Castlereagh openly avowed the application of bribery: - " The peerage was sold; the caitiffs of corruption were everywhere - in the lobby, in the streets, on the steps, and at the doors of every parliamentary leader - offering titles to some, offices to others, corruption to all! " It was on this disgraceful occasion that the name of lord Castlereagh first became familiar to English ears.

The names and prices of all the purchased members of the Irish parliament were preserved in the Irish Black and Red lists. A selection of a few of them may be edifying: -

J. Bingham, created lord Clanmorris; £8,000 for two seats, and £15,000 compensation for Tuam. Had first offered himself for sale to the anti-unionists.
Joseph H. Blake, created lord Wallscourt.
Sir J. G. Blackwood, created lord Dufferin.
Sir John Blaquiere, created lord de Blaquiere, with offices and pensions.
Lord Boyle, son of lord Shannon, father and son received each £15,000 for their boroughs.
Charles H. Coote, created lord Castlecoote, with a regiment, patronage in Queen's County, and £7,500 in cash.
James Cuffe; his father made lord Tyrawley.
Lord Fitzgerald, a pension and peerage.
Luke Fox, made judge of Common Pleas.
William Fortescue, a pension of £3,000 a-year.
J. Galbraith, a baronetage.
Richard Hare, made lord Ennismore, with patronage.
Colonel B. Heneker, a regiment, and £3,500 a-year for his seat.
Hon. J. Hutchinson, made lord Hutchinson, and a general.
Hugh Howard, made postmaster-general.
William Handcock, an extraordinary instance. He made and sang songs against the union, in 1799, at a public dinner, and made and sang songs for it in 1800; for which he was made lord Castlemaine - a title of peculiar infamy, having been given by Charles IL to one Palmer, for the debauching of his wife.
"W. G. Joscelyn, promotion in the army, and his brother made bishop of Lismore.
William Johnson, according to his own statement, "returned to parliament by lord Castlereagh, to put an end to it a judgeship.
Rt. Hon. H. Langrishe, £15,000 for his patronage of Knocktopher, and a commissionership of revenue. T. Lingray, £1,500, and a commissionership of stamps. T. Lingray, junior, £1,500, and made usher at the Castle. J. Longfield, made lord Longville.
Lord Loftus, £30,000 for boroughs, and made an English marquis.
H. D. Massey, £4,000 in cash.
Rt. Hon. Lodge Morris, made a peer.
Sir R. Musgrove, made receiver of customs, with £1,200 a-year.
James M'Cleland, made baron of exchequer.
Sir W. G. Newcomen, a peerage for his wife, &c.
H. F. Prittle, made lord Dunally.
Sir Richard Quin, made a peer.
The Hon. H. Skeffington, made clerk of Paper Office at the Castle, with £7,500 for his patronage. H. M. Sandford, made lord Mount Sandford. John Stewart, made attorney-general and a baronet. Hon. B. Stratford, £7,500, as half compensation for Baltinglass. Hon. J. Stratford, £7,500 for the other half of Baltinglass, and paymaster of foreign troops, with £1,300 a-year. Rt. Hon. J. Toler, a peerage and chief justiceship. Hon. R. Trench, made a peer and ambassador.

This is the mere fragment of a list of a hundred and forty persons thus bought up. Amongst the most prominent pickings were those of -

Lord Shannon, for his patronage in the commons £45,000
The marquis of Ely £45,000
Lord Clanmorris £45,000
Lord Belvidere £45,000
Sir Henry Langrishe £45,000

Then follows a long and frightful list of lawyers, who sold their influence in the Irish parliament - a solemn warning against the admission of too many lawyers to parliament. We may select a few of the most lavishly paid: -

Mr. Charles Osborne, made judge of the King's Bench £3,300
Mr. St. John Daly, ditto £3,300
Mr. Williams, made baron of the exchequer £3,300
Mr. M'Leland, ditto £3,300
Mr. Robert Johnson, made judge of Common Pleas £3,300
Mr. William Johnson, ditto £3,300
Mr. Torrens, ditto £3,300
Mr. Vandeleur, made judge of Queen's Bench £3,300
Mr. Charles Ormsby, counsel to commissioners, value £5,000
Mr. Henry Deane Grady, ditto ditto £5,000
Mr. Jemison, as commissioner for distributing a million and a half of this compensation money! £1,200

Besides this, there remains a number of other lawyers, amounting, in the whole, to thirty-four, bought up at from four and five hundred to six and eight hundred a-year.

Such were the means by which the union of Ireland with Great Britain was accomplished. It was but one revelation of the fearful corruption which rioted in every department of the British government at this period, and which continued down to the Reform Bill in 1832, which, in some degree, checked its excesses. They were the same means by which Pitt's majority was maintained, and the career of war and debt made irresistible. Under the influence of lord Castlereagh, and this application of English money, and bestowal of peerages and offices, the Irish parliament sent a joint address to his majesty, declaring what they had done, and that they believed it would prove a very beneficial measure. It was accepted and passed the English house of lords with only three non-contents - lords Derby, King, and Holland. In the commons it was passed by a majority of two hundred and thirty-six against thirty. Pitt, with the knowledge of the dark means by which this great act had been brought about, talked very virtuously of the reform of parliament, which nothing but the malignant influence of French principles rendered it necessary to defer. Mr. Gray moved an amendment, praying his majesty to suspend the question till the sentiments of the Irish people at large could be ascertained regarding this measure. He said that twenty- seven counties had petitioned against the measure; that seven hundred and seven thousand persons had petitioned against it, and only three thousand for it. But his amendment was swept away by a vast majority; the act was passed, and received the royal assent on the 2nd of July. This and the vote of the necessary moneys being the great business of the session, parliament was prorogued on the 29th of the same month.

Napoleon Buonaparte, who had appeared so anxious for peace with England, was, in truth, greatly rejoiced at the rejection of his proposals, for it furnished him with the pleas which he desired, for the still more extended schemes of military ambition which he entertained. He issued a proclamation complaining of the obstinate hostility of England, and called on the people to furnish men and arms to conquer peace by force. He was especially stung at an allusion to the rights of the Bourbons which the British minister had made in the course of the negotiations, and caused a letter to be inserted in the Moniteur, purporting to be from the last of the Stuart line to George III., congratulating him on his recognition of legitimate claims, and expecting him to prove his sincerity by resigning the throne of Great Britain to its rightful heir. Buonaparte had made able arrangements for the civil government. He had selected able men for each department, looking only at their talent, and caring nothing for their principles or past character. He chose Cambaceres - a lawyer of great power - and Lebrun, as second and third consuls; Talleyrand, an astute diplomatist, but of very facile conscience, he made minister of foreign affairs 5 and Fouché, a man of no principle at all but that of self-interest, as minister of police. He had already occupied this post under the reign of terror, and had marked himself out as a man of infinite cunning, prepared to perpetrate any crime or cruelty that his employers required. Cambaceres, besides his consulship, was appointed minister of justice; Carnot, minister at war; Gaudin, of finance; Forfait, of the admiralty; and Laplace, the celebrated geometrician, of the interior. The last appointment was the only mistake. Laplace, great as a geometrician, proved himself below mediocrity as a minister. On the whole, however, the government was in good hands; and, having placed Moreau at the head of the army on the Rhine, Buonaparte prepared for his favourite project of reconquering Italy. He had judged right in sending Moreau to Germany, who, we shall see, took care to prevent the Austrians sending reinforcements to Italy to increase Buonaparte's difficulties; and another circumstance, most auspicious to the chief consul, was the fact, that Paul of Russia, offended at the Austrians not better supporting her generals, Korsakoff and Suvaroff, had withdrawn his army from the campaign.

The Austrians, under Melas, in the north of Italy, amounted 'to one hundred and forty thousand men. They had spent the winter on the plains of Piedmont, and contemplated, in the spring, reducing Genoa, by assistance from the British fleet, and then, penetrating into Provence, to join the royalist s there, ready to take arms under generals Willot and Pichegru. Massena, freed by the retreat of the Russians from his confinement at Zurich, lay, with an army of forty thousand, "betwixt Genoa and the Var; but his troops had suffered great distress from want of provisions, and whole regiments had abandoned their posts, and, with drums beating and colours flying, had marched back into France. Buonaparte first, arrested their desertion by several stirring appeals to the soldiers, and then prepared to march with a strong army of reserve through the Alps, and to take Melas unexpectly in the rear. To effect this, it was necessary to deceive the Austrians as to his intentions; and, for this purpose, he assembled a pretended army of reserve at Dijon, as if meaning to obstruct the march of the Austrians southward. The Austrian spies truly reported that this boasted army of reserve consisted only of about seven thousand men, and those; raw conscripts, or old, decrepit veterans. Yet the Austrians, instead of having their suspicions awakened, contented themselves with caricaturing Buonaparte's army of reserve as consisting of a boy of twelve years old and an invalid with a wooden leg. To favour the delusion, Buonaparte went to Dijon, and reviewed the pretended army of reserve with much display, he then got quietly away to Lausanne, where he had an interview with Necker, who still showed a disposition to assume the management of affairs in France, to which Napoleon did not respond. He then put himself at the head of one of the divisions of the real army of reserve, which was lying at different points, under the nominal command of general Berthier, and amounting to about sixty thousand men.

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