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[See larger version] The news had the most instant effect across the Channel. All hesitation on the part of the French Court to enter into the treaty with the United States disappeared. The American Commissioners, Franklin, Deane, and Lee, were informed that the King of France was ready to make a treaty, claiming no advantage whatever, except that of trade with the States. It was intimated that this proceeding would, in all probability, involve France in a war with Great Britain, but that she would claim no indemnity on that score. The only condition for which she positively stipulated was, that America should, under no temptations, give up its independence, or return under the dominion of England. The two kingdoms were to make common cause, and assist each other against the common enemy. The Americans were to endeavour to make themselves masters of all the British territories that they could, and retain them as their rightful acquisition; the French to obtain whatever islands they could in the West Indies, and retain them. France did not venture to seek back the Canadas or Nova Scotia, well knowing that the Americans would not consent to have them there as neighbours. Neither country was to make peace with England without the other. Lee was to continue at Paris as the first American Ambassador there, and the treaty was to continue some weeks a secret, in order to obtain, if possible, the accession of Spain to it, which, however, they could not do then.

JAMES EDWARD STUART, THE "OLD PRETENDER."

Disappointed in their hopes from England, educated Roman Catholic opinion in Ireland began to drift towards the United Irishmen, in spite of the[462] peasants' war that was rife in various parts of the country between the members of the two religions. Suddenly their expectations received an unlooked-for impulse. During the spring of 1794 Pitt determined to send over Lord Fitzwilliam, who was heir to the Marquis of Rockingham and a prominent member of the Portland Whigs, as Lord-Lieutenant. It was clearly understood that Fitzwilliam should be allowed to inaugurate a policy of reform, but Pitt wished that reform to be gradual and cautious. It is plain that he gave Grattan intimation to that effect, and that Grattan thought the stipulation a reasonable one, but it is equally clear that he somehow or other failed to make much impression upon Fitzwilliam. No sooner had the new Lord-Lieutenant arrived in Ireland than he proceeded to dismiss Castle officials before he could possibly have had time to inquire into the rights and wrongs of their cases, and with equal abruptness turned out the Attorney, and Solicitor-General, and Mr. Beresford, the Commissioner of Revenue, the head of the most powerful of the Protestant families. The result was a violent outcry, which was increased when he proceeded, in conjunction with Grattan, to draw up a Bill for the immediate granting of the Catholic claims. The Ascendency party clamoured for his recall, and the Lord Chancellor Fitzgibbon represented to the king that to admit Roman Catholics to Parliament would be to violate his Coronation Oath. Pitt was obliged to give way, and on March 25th, 1794, Fitzwilliam left Ireland, amidst every sign of national mourning. The incident is a melancholy one, but a calm review of the circumstances produces the conclusion that the indiscretion of Lord Fitzwilliam was very much the cause of it. The motion of Fox was negatived by a large majority, and on the 21st of June the king prorogued Parliament.

"The consequence of letting loose the passions at present chained and confined would be to produce a scene of desolation which no man can contemplate without horror, and I would not sleep easy on my couch if I were conscious that I had contributed to accelerate it by a single moment. This is the reason why I dread the recurrence of hostilities in any part of Europe; why I would forbear long on any point which did not taint the national honour, ere I let slip the dogs of war, the leash of which we hold in our hands, not knowing whom they may reach, or how far their ravages may be carried. Such is the love of peace which the British Government acknowledges, and such the necessity for peace which the[256] circumstances of the world inculcate. Let us fly to the aid of Portugal, because it is our duty to do so; and let us cease our interference when that duty ends. We go to Portugal not to rule, not to dictate, not to prescribe constitutions, but to defend and preserve the independence of an ally. We go to plant the standard of England on the well-known heights of Lisbon. Where that standard is planted, foreign dominion shall not come." The House received this speech with tumultuous applause, and refused to listen to the objections that Mr. Hume and others wished to urge against the expedition on the score of economy. In the Upper House also the Government was sustained by an overwhelming majority. The expedition, consisting of six thousand men, received orders to march (as we have seen) on the 11th of December, and began to land in Lisbon on Christmas Day. The incursions from Spain immediately ceased, and France, which had instigated and secretly encouraged the movement, now found it prudent to disclaim all connection with it. Before eighteen months had elapsed the troops had returned. On the 15th the British squadron brought in the Emigrant troops from the Elbe, under the young and gallant Count de Sombreuil; but they amounted only to eleven thousand men. Puisaye now ordered the Count de Vauban to advance against Hoche with twelve thousand Chouans, and, whilst they attacked on the right, he himself attacked his lines in front. After some desperate fighting they were driven back, and lost most of their cannon in the deep sand of the isthmus. Their misfortunes were completed, on the 20th, by the garrison of the fort of Penthivre going over to the enemy, surrendering the fort to them, and helping to massacre such of their officers and comrades as refused to follow their example. The English admiral exerted himself to receive the remainder of the troops who remained true on board his ships; but the storminess of the weather and the impatience of the fugitives rendered this a most difficult task. About fourteen thousand regulars and two thousand four hundred Chouans were got on board; but Sombreuil, exposed to the murderous fire from the enemy whilst waiting on the beach, surrendered on promise of life. No sooner, however, were they in the hands of the Republicans than all the officers and gentlemen were led out and shot; and the common men enrolled in Hoche's regiments.

In July of the present year the union of Ireland with Great Britain was carried. Pitt and Lord Cornwallis had come to the conclusion that a double Government was no longer possible, and that unless the Irish were to be allowed to exterminate one another, as they had attempted to do during the late rebellion, the intervention of the British Parliament was absolutely necessary. A resolution had passed the British Parliament in 1799, recommending this union, and the news of this created a tempest of indignation in Protestant Ireland. In January, 1799, the speech on the Address to the throne in the Irish Parliament was, on this account, vehemently opposed, and an amendment was carried against the Government by a majority of one; yet in January, 1800, a motion was carried, at the instigation of Lord Castlereagh, the Secretary, in favour of the union, by a majority of forty-two. Whence this magical change in twelve months? On the 5th of February the whole plan of the union was detailed by Lord Castlereagh, the principal Secretary of State for Ireland, in the Irish Commons. He stated that it was intended to give to Ireland in the Parliament of the United Kingdom four lords spiritual sitting in rotation of sessions, and twenty-eight lords temporal elected for life by peers of Ireland, and that the Irish representatives in the united House of Commons should be a hundred. The motion for this plan was carried in the Irish Commons by a majority of forty-two in spite of a magnificent speech from Grattan, and by a great majority in the House of Lords; but this was in the face of the most unmitigated amazement on the part of the opposition, and of the people, who were not in the secret. Their rage was beyond description. On the 13th of March Sir John Parnell declared that this measure had been effected by the most unexampled corruption, and moved for an Address to his Majesty, imploring him to dissolve this Parliament, and present the question to be decided by a new one. But the Solicitor-General declared that this motion was "unfurling the bloody flag of rebellion;" and Mr. Egan replied that the Solicitor-General and other members of the[475] administration had already "unfurled the flag of prostitution and corruption." But the measure was now passed, and that by the same Parliament which, only a year before, had rejected the proposition in toto. But what were the means employed by the British Government to produce this change? The answer is simple; a million and a quarter was devoted to the compensation of borough owners, lawyers who hoped to improve their prospects by entering the House, and the Dublin tradesmen. The marquis answered that he had received his letter, informing him of the king's intention to release him from the Government of Ireland, and that he held himself in readiness to obey his Majesty's commands the moment he received them. He did receive them, on the 10th of January, in a formal letter of recall from the Home Secretary.