[时代楷模发布厅]《一眼千年》献给敦煌研究院文物保护利用群体

[305] But besides nascent war, the Anti-Slavery movement of Wilberforce, Pitt's friend, was decidedly adverse to the expected increase of income. The Abolitionists had now begun to abandon the use of slave-grown sugar, and they proposed to extend this to all the produce of the West India islands, till the slave trade should be extirpated. This alarmed Pitt, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he prevailed on Wilberforce to discourage this project for awhile. The Abolition cause received serious injury from the frightful insurrection which had broken out in St. Domingo, and from the outrages which the insurgent blacks had perpetrated on the whites. Such were held up by the friends of slavery as the natural consequences of novel doctrines of philanthropy. What made[391] the matter more serious was, that Brissot and the worst of the Jacobins were the authors of these bloody tragedies, by their violent advocacy of the universal adoption of the Rights of Man. All these men were enthusiastic applauders of the English Abolitionists. Paine was a prominent Abolitionist; and Clarkson, the right hand of Wilberforce, was an equal admirer of the French Revolution, and gave serious offence by attending a dinner at the "Crown and Anchor," to celebrate the taking of the Bastille. These circumstances had a great effect when Wilberforce, on the 2nd of April, brought in his annual motion for the immediate abolition of the slave trade. Fox and Pitt eloquently supported him; but Dundas, now become Secretary of State, prevailed to introduce into the motion the words "gradual abolition." The Wilberforce party managed to carry a motion in the Commons, for the abolition of the trade to the West Indies, on the 1st of January, 1796; but this was thrown out in the Lords, where it was opposed by the Duke of Clarence, who had been in the West Indies, and thought the descriptions of the condition of the slaves overdrawn. It was also opposed by Thurlow, by Horsley, Bishop of St. Davids, and a considerable majority.

Wilkes entered the Tower in all the elation of spirits which the occasion of acting the political hero inspired. He was soon visited by the Dukes of Bolton and Grafton, and Lord Temple, who, as well as his own friends, his solicitor, and counsel, were refused admittance. His house was entered, and his papers were seized and examined by Wood, the Under-Secretary of State, and Carteret Webb, the Solicitor to the Treasury. On the 3rd of May Wilkes was conveyed to the Court of Common Pleas, before Sir Charles Pratt, where his case was stated by Mr. Serjeant Glynn, and then Wilkes himself made a speech of an hour long. On the 6th of May he was brought up to hear the joint opinion of the judges, which was that, though general warrants might not be strictly illegal, the arrest of Wilkes could not be maintained, on account of his privilege as a member of Parliament; that nothing short of treason felony, and an actual breach of the peace, could interfere with that privilege, and that a libel could not be termed a breach of the peace. The judgment of the Bench, therefore, was that Mr. Wilkes be discharged from his imprisonment. Under the influence of Granville and of Lord Bath, the king refused to admit Pitt, and they determined to resign, but got Lord Harrington to take the first step. He tendered the resignation of the Seals on the 10th of February, 1746, and the king accepted them, but never forgave Harrington. The same day Newcastle and Pelham tendered theirs, and their example was followed by others of their colleagues. The king immediately sent the Seals to Granville, desiring him and Bath to construct a new administration. They found the thing, however, by no means so easy. It was in vain that they made overtures to men of distinction to join them. Sir John Barnard declined the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer; Chief Justice Willes that of Lord Chancellor. After forty-eight hours of abortive endeavours, Lord Bath announced to the king that they were unable to form a Cabinet. It was with extreme chagrin that George was compelled to reinstate the Pelhams. He expressed the most profound mortification that he should have a man like Newcastle thus forced upon hima man, he said, not fit to be a petty chamberlain to a petty prince of Germany. What made it the more galling, the Pelhams would not take back the Seals without authority to name their own terms, and one of them was, that such of the adherents of Bath and Granville as had been retained in the Ministry should be dismissed. The Marquis of Tweeddale was, accordingly, one of these, and his office of Secretary of State for Scotland was abolished. Pitt was introduced to the Cabinet, not as Secretary at War, as he had demanded, but as Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, and subsequently, on the death of Winnington, as Paymaster of the Forces. By this event the Opposition was still further weakened, and the Pelhams for some time seemed to carry everything as they wished, almost without a single ruffle of opposition.

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This was an announcement of the utter overthrow of the Revolution, and the restoration of the ancient condition of France, with its aristocracy and its slaves. The sensation which it produced was intense. The king was immediately accused of secretly favouring this language, though it was far from being the case. It was in vain that he disavowed the sentiments of this haughty and impolitic proclamation to the Assembly; he was not believed, and the exasperation against him was dreadfully aggravated.