Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

REIGN OF GEORGE I.
FROM 1714 to 1727--12 YEARS, 10 MONTHS, 10 DAYS.

THE MARR REBELLION. This memorable attempt to overthrow the government, and esta. blish the pretender, was projected by tìe Earl of Marr in the year 1715, the rebels being led by the earl in person. On the same day that the insurgents surrendered at Preston was fought the battle of Dumblaine, between the Duke of Argyle and the Earl of Marr. On the 12th day of the month Argyle passed the Forth at Airling, and encamped with his left at Dumblaine, and his right towards Meritfmoor. The Earl of Marr advanced within two miles of his camp, and remained till day-break in order of battle, his army consisting of nine thousand effective men, cavalry as well as infantry. In the morning the duke drew up his forces, which did not exceed three thousand five hundred men, on the heights to the north-east of Dumblaine ; but he was out-flanked both on the right and left. The clans that formed part of the right and centre of the enemy, with Glengary and Clonronald at their head, charged the left of the king's army sword in hand, with such impetuosity, that in seven minutes both horse and foot were totally routed with great slaughter. In the mean time the Duke of Argyle, who commanded in person on the right, attacked the left of the enemy at the head of Siairs' and Evans's dragoons, and drove them two miles before him, as far as the water of Allon; yet in that space they wheeled about, and attempted to rally ten times, so that he was obliged to press them hard that they might not recover from their contusion. The Duke of Argyle, returning from the pursuit, joined Brigadier Wightman, who had taken possession of some enclosures and mud walls, in expectation of being attacked. In this posture both armies fronted each other till the evening, when the duke drew off towards Dumblaine, and the rebels retired to Ardoch without mutual molestation. Next day the dukc, marching back to the field of battle, carried off the woundud wih four pieces of cannon left by the enemy, and retreated to Stirling: Few prisoners were taken on either side ; the number of slain night be about five hundred of each army, and both generals claimed the victory.

After this undecisive battle the rebels dispersed, and the rebel. lion was entirely subdued. Seven of the rebel lords were impeached by the Commons at the bar of the house of lords, and sentenced to be beheaded. The Countess of Nithisdale and Lady Nairnu threw themselves at the king's feet as he passed through the apartments of the palace, and implored his mercy in behalf of their husbands; but their tears and entreaties produced no effect. The council resolved that the sentence should be executed, and orders were given for that purpose to the lieutenant of the Tower, and the sheriffs of London and Middlesex. Derwentwater and Kenmuir were beheaded on the 24th of February; the others were respited to the 7th of March. Nithisdale made his escape in woman's apparel, furnished and conveyed to him by his own mother. The conduct of the two unfortunate lords excited a very general sympathy, and their execution tended to increase the general spirit of disaffection to the government. Derwentwater was an amiable youth, brave, open, generous, hospitable, and humane; his fate drew tears from the spectators, and was a great misfortune to the country where he lived. He gave bread to multitudes of people whom he employed on his estates ; the poor, the widow, and the orphan rejoiced in his bounty. Kenmuir was a virtuous nobleman, calm, sensible, resolute, and resigned. Both adhered to their political principles.

Kings of England, p. 196.

SOUTH SEA BUBBLE.

The scheme was first projected by Sir John Blunt, who had been bred a scrivener, and was possessed of all the cunning, boldness, and plausibility requisite for such an undertaking. He communicated his plan to Mr. Aislabie, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as to one of the Secretaries of State. He an. swered all their objections, and the project was adopted. The pretence for the scheme was to discharge the national debt by reducing all the funds into one. An act passed for this purpose. At first the South Sea Stock did not rise according to the expectation of the projector. To remedy this Blunt caused a report to be circulated that Gibraltar and Port-Mahon would be exchanged for some places in Peru, by which means the English trade to the South sea would be protected and enlarged. This rumour, diffused by his emissaries, acted like a contagion. In five days the directors opened their books for a subscription of one million, at the rate of three hundred pounds for every hundred pounds capi. tal. Persons of all ranks crowded to the house in such a manner, that the first subscription exceeded two millions of original stock. In a few days the stock advanced to three hundred and forty pounds; and the subscriptions were sold for double the price of the first payment. Without detailing the various scandalous artifices to enhance the price of stock, and decoy, the unwary, we shall only observe that, by the promise of prodigious dividends, and other infamous arts, the stock was raised to one thousand, and the whole nation infected with the spirit of stock-jobbing to an astonishing degree. All distinctions of party, religion, sex, character, and circumstances, were swallowed up in this universal concern, or in some such pecuniary project. Exchange-alley was filled with a strange concourse of statesmen and clergymen, churchmen and dissenters, whigs and tories, physicians, lawyers, tradesmen, and a multitude of women of all ranks and degrees. All other professions and employments were utterly neglected,

and the people's attention engrossed by this and other ehimerical schemes, which were known by the denomination of bubbles. New companies started up every day under the countenance of the prince and nobility. The Prinee of Wales was constituted governor of the Welsh Copper Company; the Duke of Chandos appeared at the head of the York buildings; the Duke of Bridgewater formed a third for building houses in London and Westminster. About a hundred such schemes were projected and put in execution, to the ruin of many thousands. The nation was so intoxicated with the spirit of adventure, that people became a prey to the grossest delusions. An obscure projector, pretending to have formed a very advantageous scheme, which, however, he did not explain, published proposals for a subscription, in which he promised that in one month the particulars of his projects should be disclosed. In the mean time he declared that every person paying two guineas should be entitled to a subscription of £100, which would produce that sum yearly. In one forenoon this adventurer received a thousand of these subscriptions, amounting to two thousand guineas, and in the evening left the kingdom.

The infatuation prevailed till the eighth day of September, when the stock began to fall. Then some of the adventurers began to awake from their delirium. The number of sellers daily increased. On the twenty-ninth day in the month the stock had sunk to one hundred and fifty ; several eminent goldsmiths and bankers, who had lent great sums upon it, were obliged to stop payment and abscond. The ebb of this portentuous tide was so violent that it bore down every thing in its way, and an infinite number of families overwhelmed with ruin. Publie credit sustained a terrible shock, the nation was thrown into a dangerous ferment, and nothing heard but the ravings of grief, disappointment, and despair. *

Smollett's Continu, v. ii., p. 402.

DEATH OF GEORGE I. The king not having visited his German dominions for two years, declared in council his intention of proceeding there. He landed at Vaert, in Holland, on the 7th June, 1727, and went from thence to Utrecht, by land, being attended by the Dutch guards through the territories of the States. He arrived at Delder, on Friday, the 9th inst., about eleven o'clock at night, to all appearance in perfect health. He ate his supper, and, among other things, part of a melon (some say an orange). Setting out about three the next morning, he had not travelled two hours before he felt some griping pains, and being come to Linden, where his dinner was provided, could eat nothing. He was let blood, and such remedies as were proper given him. Being desirous to reach Hanover, he bid his people drive on with all speed ; and falling into a lethargic paralysis, he said to a gentleman in the carriage, “c'est fait de moi”-it is all over with me. At ten at night he arrived at the palace of his brother, the Duke of York, at Osnaburg; but his lethargy increasing, he expired about midnight, on the 11th June, 1727, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. He was buried at Hanover.

* A secret committee was appointed by the House of Commons to discover the parties implicated in this nefarious transaction. On the first report of the committee they informed the house that they had already discovered a train of the deepest villainy and fraud that hell ever contrived to ruin a nation, and the meanwhile they recommended the seizure of the persons of some of the principal officers and directors of the South Sea Company, as well as their papers. An order was made to secure the books and papers of Knight, Surman, and Turner. The persons of Sir John Blant, Sir George Caswell, Sir John Lambert, Sir John Fellows, and Mr. Grigsby, were taken into eustody. Five members were expelled the House and apprehended. Mr. Aslabie resigned his employment of Chancellor of Exchequer, and Lord of the Treasury, and orders were given to remove all directors of the South Sea Company from the places they possessed under government. The directors were then ordered to deliver in inventories of their estates, which, after deducting a certain suu for each, according to his circumstances and conduct, were confiscated for the benefit of the sufferers by the South Sea seheme. The elo their estates given in upon oath amounted to about £2,014,000, of which £334,000 was left to the proprietors.

Kings of England, p. 189. PERSON AND CHARACTER. George I. was plain and simple in his person and address; grave and composed in his deportment, though easy, familiar, and facetious in his hours of relaxation. Before he ascended the throne of Great Britain he had acquired the character of a cir. cumspect general, a just and merciful prince, a wise politician, who perfectly understood and steadily pursued his own interest. With these qualities it cannot be doubted that he came to England extremely well disposed to govern his subjects according to the maxims of the constitution, and the genius of the people; and if ever he seemed to deviate from these principles, we may take it for granted that he was misled by the venal suggestions of a ministry, whose power and influence were founded on corruption.

Smollett, vol. ii., p. 459.

CHRONICLE. 1714, August 1. George I., Duke of Brunswick, Lunenburg, and Elector of Hanover (son of Sophia, grand-daughter of James I.), succeeded to the crown on the demise of Queen Anne, by virtue of acts of parliament for securing the Protestant succession; he was at the time in his 55th year. Oct. 20. King George crowned at Westminster. 1715, Sept. 1. Louis XIV. died in the 77th year of his age. Sept. 3. The Earl of Mar assembled his forces at Aboyne, in Aberdeenshire, proclaiming the pretender by the name of James VIII. Nov. 13. Battle of Dumblaine. Dec. 25. The Pretender landed at Peterhead, near Aberdeen. 1716, Jan. 1. Mr. Wycherley, the dramatic poet, died, aged 81. Jan. 4. The Pretender arrived at Glamis, and the next morning made his entrance into Dundee. Feb. 24. The Earl of Derwentwater and Viscount Kenmure executed on Tower Hill. 1719, June 17. Addison died. 1721, August. In the beginning of this month the experiment of inoculating, or as it was first called

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"engrafting,” for the small pox was tried on several condemned criminals with success. It was introduced from Constantinople by the celebrated Lady Wortley Montague, who, it appears from her Letters," had her own son inoculated in that capital, May 23, 1718. Sept. 1. Mathew Prior, the distinguished poet, died. 1722, June 16. The great Duke of Marlborough died, aged 73. 1723, Feb. 25. Sir Christopher Wren died, in the 91st year of 1727. SIR ISAAC NEWTON DIED IN THE EIGHTY

10th June. The king died. London was greatly enlarged during this reign, almost all the streets north of Oxford-street, as far as it at that time extended; namely, to Marylebone, being then in progress, as also Berkeley-square.

his age.

FIFTH YEAR OF HIS AGE.

REIGN OF GEORGE I I.
FROM 1727 to 1760—33 YEARS, 4 MONTHS, 14 DAYS.

LANDING OF CHARLES EDWARD. The hopes of the Jacobites having gained strength from the disaster of Fontenoy, it was determined, while the country was still. smarting under the disgrace of defeat, to make a bold push to re-instate the Stuarts. The old pretender, the “Cavalier," as he was called, being considered, from his age and infirmities, incapable of leading the expedition in person, the command was entrusted to his son, the Prince Charles Edward, then in his twentysixth year. Undismayed by the dangers of the attempt, and in opposition to the urgent entreaties of the more cautious and wiss partizans of his house, who pointed out the rashness and folly of the enterprise, he crossed the sea, and landed, with a very small escort, on the main land of Scotland, in Borrodaile, in Invernessshire, on the 25th of July, 1745, where he was joined by a few mfluential chiefs; but the main body of the clans kept aloof, which, even at that early stage of his unfortunate career, struck his heart with fears of his success. Still he prudently endeavoured to shake off the dark foreboding, and strenuously applied himself to gain popularity, a task for which he was pre-eminently qualified by his accomplishments, handsome person, and insinuating address. He adopted the Highland costume, learnt familiar sentences in Gaelic, which he addressed to the wild clansmen while sharing their athletic sports, in all of which he was a proficient, till, at length, so complete was the hold he had gained on their affection, that “Bonnie Prince Charlie" became their idol, and the righting his cause the sole object of their lives. Indeed, so great was his power of persuasion, that many of the chiefs, who at first were but coldly inclined towards him, fascinated by the brilliancy of his conversation, his courtly manners, and energetic appeals to their

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »