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The convention, which did not contain a word about the opium trade, gave great dissatisfaction at home, and Lord John Russell declared in the House of Commons, on the 6th of May, that it had been disapproved of by the Government; that Captain Elliot had been recalled, and Sir Henry Pottinger appointed plenipotentiary in his stead. The Chinese, meanwhile, soon violated their engagements. On the 19th of February an English boat was fired upon from North Wang-ton, in consequence of which the squadron under Captain Sir H. Flemming Senhouse attacked the forts on the 26th of February, and in a very short time the British colours were flying on the whole chain of these celebrated fortifications, and the British became masters of the islands without the loss of a single man. Proceeding up the river towards the Whampoa Reach they found it fortified with upwards of forty war junks, and the Cambridge, an old East Indiaman. But they were all silenced in an hour, when the marines and small-arm men were landed and stormed the works, driving before them upwards of 3,000 Chinese troops, and killing nearly 300. Next day Sir Gordon Bremer joined the advanced squadron, and the boats were pushed forward within gunshot of Howgua's fort; and thus, for the first time, were foreign ships seen from the walls of Canton. On the 2nd of May the Cruiser came up, having on board Major-General Sir Hugh Gough, who took command of the land forces. On approaching the fort it was found to be abandoned, as well as those higher up the river, the Chinese having fired all their guns and fled. The Prefect or Governor of Canton then made his appearance, accompanied by the Hong merchants, announcing that Keshin having been recalled and degraded, and the new Commissioner not having arrived, there was no authority to treat for peace. Captain Elliot again hesitating, requested the naval and military commanders to make no further movement towards the city until it was seen what was the disposition of the provincial authorities at Canton, and admitted the[475] city to a ransom of 锟1,250,000. But Sir G. Bremer observed in a despatch that he feared the forbearance was misunderstood, and that a further punishment must be inflicted before that arrogant and perfidious Government was brought to reason. He was right; for on the 17th of March a flag of truce, with a message sent by Captain Elliot to the Imperial Commissioner, was fired upon by the Chinese. In consequence of this, a force under Captain Herbert, who was in advance of the rest of the armament, carried in succession all the forts up to Canton, taking, sinking, burning, and otherwise destroying the flotilla of the enemy, and hoisted the union Jack the same day on the walls of the British factory..
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The year 1759 is one of the most glorious in our annals. Pitt, by his own spirit, and by selecting brave and able men, had infused such ardour into our service, that our officers no longer seemed the same men. Still, France, stung by the reverses and insults which we had heaped on her, but especially by our ravages of her coast, contemplated a retaliatory descent on ours. Gunboats were accumulated at Le Havre and other ports, and fleets were kept ready at Toulon and Brest, as well as a squadron at Dunkirk, under Admiral Thurot, a brave seaman. The king sent a message to the Commons, demanding the calling out of the militia; and[132] the twenty-four thousand French prisoners who had been left in great destitution by their own Government on our hands, were marched into the interior of the country. In July Admiral Rodney anchored in the roads of Le Havre, bombarded the town, set it on fire in several places, and destroyed many of the gunboats. In August the Toulon fleet, commanded by Admiral De la Clue, on its way to operate against our coast, was pursued by Boscawen, who had recently returned from America, and overtaken off Lagos, in Algarve. De la Clue was mortally wounded, and his ship鈥攔eckoned the finest in the French navy鈥攁nd three others were taken, whilst a fifth was run aground and burnt. At the same time the blockades of Dunkirk and Brest were vigorously kept up.?
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The Hanoverian Tories now again joined the Whigs, and their demands compelled the Government to issue a proclamation offering a reward of five thousand pounds for the apprehension of the Pretender should he attempt to land anywhere in Great Britain. Wharton proposed that the words "Alive or Dead" should be inserted in the proclamation, but the queen rejected them with horror. The House of Lords passed a resolution increasing the reward to one hundred thousand pounds. It was made high treason, too, to enlist or be enlisted for the Pretender. Bolingbroke, however, assured Iberville, a French agent, that "it would make no difference;" and that the queen regarded the whole as a mere sop to the public was evinced by her immediately afterwards receiving the Earl of Mar, a most determined Jacobite, at Court on his marriage with Lady Francis Pierrepoint, sister of the celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and soon after making this man one of her Ministers of State, who, in the very next year, headed the Jacobite rebellion.!
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The demoralisation appeared further in the abuses connected with the distribution of relief. The reports of the Commissioners have stated that, in those districts where the relief committees worked together with zeal and in good faith, the administration was excellent, checking fraud and imposture, while it relieved the really distressed. But in some districts this was unhappily not the case. Abuses existed, varying from apathy and neglect to connivance at frauds and misappropriation of the funds. Gross impositions were daily practised by the poor. The dead or absent were personated; children were lent for a few days in order to give the appearance of large families, and thus entitle the borrowers to a greater number of rations. Almost the whole population, in many cases, alleged poverty and looked for relief; and then, conceiving the receipt of cooked food a degradation, they endeavoured to compel the issue of raw meal. One universal spirit of mendicancy pervaded the people, to which in several places the committees offered no opposition. Yielding to intimidation, or seeking for popularity, they were willing to place the whole population indiscriminately on the lists to be supported by public charity.
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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