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secede; and Tierney support the Address, abuse O'Connor, and attack Government only on this last event in Ireland. Pray write to me by return of post. I presume I may depend on Mr. Fisher, and therefore that I am secure in waiting for him. No news yet of the 'Melpomene.'
God bless you, my dearest brother.
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Cleveland Row, Dec. 11th, 1798. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
I have this morning received your letter; and to the first paragraph of it I will only say that I am too much accustomed to your kindness to be surprised at this fresh instance of it. Be assured that I feel it as I ought.
Tom will, I think, set out to-morrow, though it is in truth useless for him to leave town while this east wind blows in the teeth of all our projects. He will have a more difficult task to acccomplish than I once thought, particularly on account of a new intrigue that has just sprung up at Berlin, as if on purpose to cross or thwart our plans. Still, however, I persuade myself that all will ultimately go right, and I am confident that he will do whatever can be done.
If no more solid arguments are opposed to the Union than those of Mr. Wild, we shall have at least the victory in disputation, though in point of violence and inflammation he will, to be sure, not be easily surpassed. The part which you say the Catholics are disposed to take is undoubtedly very important; but does this mean only their leaders, who do not lead them, or has this opinion been spread among the parish priests and lower orders ? Certainly, if they knew their interest, those descriptions ought to be peculiarly favourable to it, for they will come under the especial protection of the mildest and most equitable government upon the earth. But do they see and feel this, and are any pains taken to impress them with it? Forster's language continues to be very hostile, and I imagine he thinks the Government will be frightened out of the measure. The appointment of Commissioners seems, on the whole, to be unavoidable, and the Acts for that purpose should, I think, be proposed on the same day to both Parliaments.
Much objection seems to be taken to any Committee or other body of that sort resident in Ireland; and perhaps the novelty in our Constitution of Members of Parliament who cannot attend Parliament is a solid objection to it. Would it not be easier to make the representation consist of thirty county members, eight or ten city members chosen from Dublin, Cork, &c., and the remainder elected by alternate choice from classes of four boroughs each ? What I mean is not that the four in each class should choose altogether by delegates, &c., but that the choice should be in one of them for each Parliament, and this rotation settled at first by lot, and then to continue unalterable. If this will not do, we must then class them and choose by delegates, as in the Scotch precedent. But who shall regulate this classing? and how conciliate the jarring interests of great men ?
By the way, you got me into something of a scrape by giving Cooke a copy of the queries in the margin of the paper I sent you. I omitted to give you any caution on this subject, because I thought it was quite safe that you would not communicate it, and you probably thought that the communication was very unimportant and indifferent. It happened otherwise, but do not say anything to Cooke about it.
You see the French papers confirm our hopes of Minorca. The Russians and Turks have begun their operations against the department of the Egean Sea, and have taken Cephalonia, and I believe Zante. I expect to hear very soon of the attack of Alexandria by the Turks.
Dec. 12. By a mistake this was omitted to be sent to you yesterday. No mails in to-day, nor anything new of any kind. By the newspaper accounts, Canning seems to have made an admirable speech yesterday.
ENGLAND ENTERS INTO A TREATY WITH RUSSIA AGAINST FRANCE-MR.
THOMAS GRENVILLE'S MISSION TO THE CONTINENT—THE UNION BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND-SUSPENSE RESPECTING THE FATE OF MR. GRENVILLE-PROGRESS OF EVENTS ON THE CONTINENT-AUSTRIA JOINS THE COALITION—VACILLATIONS AND INACTIVITY OF PRUSSIAEXPEDITION TO HOLLAND-FURTHER AUGMENTATION OF THE MILITIAPROJECTS FOR THE ENSUING YEAR.
ABOUT the middle of December, 1798, a provisional treaty had been entered into between Russia and England, by which the Emperor bound himself, on condition of a monthly subsidy from Great Britain, to have a contingent of forty-five thousand men ready for the field, whenever the common cause should require their services. The original object of this treaty was to induce Prussia to join the confederacy of European powers which England was now endeavouring to form against France, with a view to bring the war to a conclusion by an overwhelming military combination ; but Prussia, guarded and timid, declined to embark in the coalition; and, failing that result, Russia accepted the alternative of a subsidy proposed and guaranteed by the treaty. The value of her co-operation was
not limited merely to the force she brought to bear against the enemy. England hoped that the influence of her example would stimulate the other Powers to concur in a general movement to repel the aggressions of the French, who were rapidly extending the scene of hostilities, and who, in the course of this year, carried their arms over the whole surface of Italy, swept the banks of the Rhine, penetrated Holland, and ravaged the valleys of Switzerland.
When Mr. Thomas Grenville set out upon his mission to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, intelligence had arrived of the disasters that had recently befallen the King of Naples, who, alarmed at the approach of the French, had taken the field with twenty thousand men, and was driven back by Championet with a much inferior force, and compelled to act upon the defensive. The last news was that Naples had surrendered to the French after a gallant resistance, chiefly sustained by the Lazzaroni, who have an insuperable aversion to all changes in their government.
The first incident that befell Mr. Grenville on his departure from England was inauspicious and discouraging. The weather was unusually severe. On the night of Christmas Eve, the thermometer was 14° below freezing point ; and for many weeks afterwards the snow lay so thickly on the ground that the service of the ordinary coaches was arrested, and the mails were forwarded on horseback. This delay and suspension of communication occasioned serious anxiety at a time when every item of intelligence was of importance to the country. The effect of the inclement state of the season was to force Mr. Grenville back to