《人民冰雪·冰雪故事汇》:让孩子们在校门口"打滑呲溜"

MARSHAL BERESFORD. (From the Portrait by Sir W. Beechey, R.A.)

Napoleon was at Vervins, on the 12th of June, with his Guard, and on the 14th he had joined five divisions of infantry and four of cavalry at Beaumont. The triple line of strong fortresses on the Belgian frontiers enabled him to assemble his forces unobserved by the Allies, whilst he was perfectly informed by spies of their arrangements. Wellington had arrived at Brussels, and had thrown strong garrisons into Ostend, Antwerp, Nieuwport, Ypres, Tournay, Mons, and Ath. He had about thirty thousand British, but not his famous Peninsular troops, who had been sent to America. Yet he had the celebrated German legion, eight thousand strong, which had won so many laurels in Spain; fifteen thousand Hanoverians; five thousand Brunswickers, under their brave duke, the hereditary mortal foe of Napoleon; and seventeen thousand men, Belgians, Dutch, and troops of Nassau, under the Prince of Orange. Doubts were entertained of the trustworthiness of the Belgians, who had fought under Napoleon, and who had shown much discontent of late; and Napoleon confidently calculated on them, and had Belgian officers with him to lead them when they should come over to him. But, on the whole, the Belgians behaved well; for, like all others, their country had felt severely the tyranny of Napoleon. Altogether, Wellington's army amounted to about seventy-five thousand men. He occupied with his advanced division, under the Prince of Orange, Enghien, Braine-le-Comte, and Nivelles; with his second, under Lord Hill, Hal, Oudenarde, and Grammont; and with his reserve, under Picton, Brussels and Ghent. What he had most to complain of was the very defective manner in which he had been supplied with cannon on so momentous an occasion, being able to muster only eighty-four pieces of artillery, though he had applied for a hundred and fifty, and though there were cannons enough at Woolwich to have supplied the whole of the Allied armies.

Some of the offenders in this "Bottle Riot," as it was called, were prosecuted. Bills against them were sent up to the grand jury of the city of Dublin. But as this body had a strong Orange animus, the bills were thrown out. Mr. Plunket then proceeded by ex-officio informations, which raised a great outcry against the Government, as having violated the Constitution, and a resolution to that effect was moved by Mr. Brownlow in the House of Commons. It turned out, however, that his predecessor, Mr. Saurin, one of his most vehement accusers, who alleged that the course was altogether unprecedented, had himself established the precedent ten or twelve years before. Forgetting this fact, he denounced the conduct of Mr. Plunket as "the most flagrant violation of constitutional principle that had ever been attempted." The trial in the Court of Queen's Bench, which commenced on February 3rd, 1823, produced the greatest possible excitement. The ordinary occupations of life appeared to be laid aside in the agitating expectation of the event. As soon as the doors were opened, one tremendous rush of the waiting multitude filled in an instant the galleries, and every avenue of the court. The result of the trial was, that the jury disagreed, the traversers were let out on bail, the Attorney-General threatening to prosecute again; but the proceedings were never revived. To these, in 1785, the Rev. Dr. Edmund Cartwright introduced a loom for weaving by water or steam power, which soon superseded hand-loom weaving. In 1803 Mr. H. Horrocks greatly improved this, and from this germ has grown up the system of weaving cottons, silks, and woollens by machinery. Add to this the application of similar machinery to calico-printing, and the like to weaving of lace, invented by Robert Frost, of Nottingham, or by a working mechanic of that town named Holmes, which afterwards received many improvements, and we have the varied means by which the manufacturing power of England was raised far above that of all the world; and which, reaching other countries in spite of legislative impediments, soon established similar manufactures in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and America. In Great Britain alone the importation of raw cotton was increased from 4,764,589 lbs. in 1771 to 151,000,000 lbs. in 1818; and such was the spread of trade of all kinds from the use of machinery, that our exports of manufactured goods in 1800, when the European nations were incapacitated for manufacturing by Napoleon's general embargo, amounted to 116,000,000.

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All Europe was astonished by the news of the French Revolution. The successful insurrection of the working classes in Paristhe flight of the kingthe abolition of monarchythe establishment of a Republic, all the work of two or three days, were events so startling that the occupants of thrones might well stand aghast at their recital, and tremble for their own possessions. It would not have been surprising if the revolutionary spirit emanating from Paris had, to a large extent, invaded Great Britain and Ireland. The country had just passed through a fearful crisis; heavy sacrifices had been made by all classes to save the people from starvation; many families had been utterly ruined by gigantic failures, and there was still very general privation prevailing in all parts of the United Kingdom. In such circumstances the masses are peculiarly liable to be excited against the Government by ignorant or unprincipled agitators, who could easily persuade[555] them that their sufferings arose from misgovernment, and that matters could never go right till the people established their own sovereigntytill they abolished monarchy and aristocracy, and proclaimed a republic. The Chartist agitation, though not formally proposing any such issue of the movement, had, nevertheless, familiarised the minds of the working classes with the idea of such a revolution. The points of their charter comprised vote by ballot, universal suffrage, annual parliaments, payment of the members, and the abolition of the property qualification. Besides, the Chartist leaders had been in the habit of holding what was called a National Convention, which was a kind of parliament of their own, in which the leaders practised the art of government. The train was thus laid, and it seemed to require only a spark to ignite it; but a thick shower of sparks came from Paris, as if a furnace had been emptied by a hurricane. It would have been almost miraculous if there had been no explosions of disaffection in Great Britain in such circumstances as these.

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Each union of parishes, or each parish, if large and populous enough, was placed under the management of a board of guardians, elected annually by the ratepayers; but where under previous Acts an organisation existed similar to that of unions or boards of guardians, under the Poor Law Amendment Act these were retained. The following table exhibits the local divisions of England and Wales made under that Act:

ARREST OF O'CONNELL. (See p. 327.)

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In the session of 1719 Stanhope and his colleagues tried to undo the arbitrary measures of 1711 and 1714the Occasional Conformity Bill and the Schism Bill. Stanhope would have made a strenuous effort to abolish not only these laws, but the Test Act itself; but Sunderland, though equally liberal, was more prudent, and showed that, to attempt too much was to ruin all; and when they came to introduce their greatly modified measurethat of annulling only some of the less prominent clauses of the Test Act under the name of a Bill for strengthening the Protestant interestthey found so much opposition that Sunderland's discernment was fully justified. Not only the two archbishops and some of the bishops opposed the measure, but the great Whigs, the Duke of Devonshire and Earl Cowper. Cowper, though he expressed himself willing to abolish the Schism Bill, stood stoutly for the Test and Corporation Acts as the very bulwarks of our constitution in Church and State; whilst the Earl of Islay declared even this moderate measure a violation of the union with Scotland. On the other hand, the Bishops Hoadley, Willis, Gibson, and Kennett supported the Bill, which, however, was not carried without considerable mutilation; and had Stanhope introduced such a measure as he proposed, including even considerable relief to Catholics, the whole would have been lost.

Thus was another glorious chance for the utter dispersion of the American army thrown away by this most incompetent commander; and, as Washington saw that he had nothing to fear during the winter, except from the elements, he determined to encamp himself, so as to keep the British in constant anxiety about him. He selected a strong piece of ground at a place called Valley Forge, covered with wood. He set his soldiers to fell trees and make log-huts, the interstices of which they stopped with moss, and daubed up with clay. As they had plenty of fuel, they could thus pass the winter in some degree of comfort. A great number of his men were on the verge of the expiration of their term, and were impatient to return home; but he persuaded many to remain, and he employed them in throwing up entrenchments on the right of his camp, which was open towards the plain. His left was defended by the Schuylkill, and his rear by a steep precipice[240] descending to the Valley Creek. He began two redoubts, but he soon saw that there was no fear of Howe moving so long as the winter lasted, and he left them unfinished. And thus the winter went over, Howe lying snugly at Philadelphia, enjoying his wine and his cards, and apparently forgetful that there was any such place as Valley Forge within five-and-twenty miles of him.