一季度湖北农产品出口增长6.8% 小龙虾等逆势增幅大

By the firmness of the Allies a peace which continued twelve years was given to Europe, and the storm which Alberoni had so fondly expected out of the North was as completely dissipated. The new Queen of Sweden had consented to yield absolutely to George I., as King of Hanover, the disputed possession of Bremen and Verden. Poland was induced to acknowledge Augustus of Saxony as king, and Prussia to be satisfied with the acquisition of Stettin and some other Swedish territory. But the Czar and the King of Denmark, seeing Sweden deprived of its military monarch, and exhausted by his wild campaigns, contemplated the actual dismemberment of Sweden. The Queen of Sweden threw herself for protection on the good offices of the King of England, and both England and France agreed to compel the Czar and the King of Denmark to desist from their attacks on Sweden if they would not listen to friendly mediation. Lord Carteret, a promising young statesman, was sent as ambassador to Stockholm, and Sir John Norris, with eleven sail of the line, was ordered to the Baltic. Russia and Denmark, however, continued to disregard the pacific overtures of England, trusting to there being no war with that Power. They ravaged the whole coast of Sweden, burning above a thousand villages, and the town of Nyk?ping, the third place in the kingdom. Seeing this, Lord Stanhope, who was still at Hanover with the king, sent orders to Admiral Norris to pay no regard to the fact of there being no declaration of war, but to treat the Russian and Danish fleet as[44] Byng had treated the Spanish one. Norris accordingly joined his squadron to the Swedish fleet at Carlscrona, and went in pursuit of the fleet of the Czar. Peter, seeing that the English were now in earnest, recalled his fleet with precipitation, and thereby, no doubt, saved it from complete destruction; but he still continued to refuse to make peace, and determined on the first opportunity to have a further slice of Swedish territory. Denmark, which was extremely poor, agreed to accept a sum of money in lieu of Marstrand, which it had seized; and thus all Europe, except the Czar, was brought to a condition of peace.

The Grenville Ministry was approaching its extinction. It had done a great work in the abolition of the Slave Trade, but there was another species of abolition which they were disposed to further which was not quite so acceptable. They had supported Wilberforce and his party in their measure for the negroes, but Wilberforce and his friends were by no means willing to support them in liberating the Catholics from their disabilities. Grenville and Fox had made no particular stipulation, on taking office, to prosecute the Catholic claims, but they were deeply pledged to this by their speeches of many years. It was, therefore, highly honourable of them, though very impolitic, to endeavour to do something, at least, to show their sincerity. Though the king was obstinately opposed to any relaxation of the restraints on this class of his subjects, yet the Fox and Grenville Ministry had introduced a milder and more generous treatment of the Catholics in Ireland. The Duke of Bedford, as Lord-Lieutenant, had discouraged the rampant spirit of Orangeism, and admitted Catholics to peace and patronage. He had abandoned the dragooning system, and had managed to settle some disturbances which broke out in the autumn of 1806, without even proclaiming martial law. These measures had won the cordial attachment of the Catholics both in Ireland and England, but, in the same proportion, had exasperated the Church and War party against them in both countries. Their adding another three-and-a-half per cent. to the income and property taxes had still further embittered these parties, and the antagonism to them was every day becoming stronger. Yet they resolved, in spite of all this, to make an attempt to do some justice to the Catholics. They managed to carry an additional grant to the College of Maynooth, and on the 4th of March, when this grant was debated, Wilberforce, though[533] wanting the support of Ministers for his Slave Trade Bill, made a violent speech against all concessions to the Catholics. He declared the Protestant Church the only true one, and, therefore, the only one which ought to be supported. "He did not profess," he said, "to entertain large and liberal views on religious subjects; he was not, like Buonaparte, an honorary member of all religions." Undeterred by these tokens of resistance, Lord Howick, the very next day, moved for leave to bring in a Bill to enable Catholics to hold commissions in the army and navy on taking a particular oath. He said that it was a strange anomaly that Catholics in Ireland could hold such commissions since 1793, and attain to any rank except that of Commander-in-Chief, of Master-General of the Ordnance, or of General of the Staff, yet, should these regiments be ordered to this country, they were, by law, disqualified for service. A clause had already been added to the Mutiny Bill to remove the anomaly. He proposed to do away with this extraordinary state of things, and enable his Majesty, at his pleasurefor it only amounted to that, after allto open the ranks of the army and navy to all subjects, without distinction, in Great Britain as well as Ireland.


From this episode of fire and fanaticism we recur to the general theme of the war with Spain, France, and America, in which England was every day becoming more deeply engaged. From the moment that Spain had joined France in the war against us, other Powers, trusting to our embarrassments with our colonies and those great European Powers, had found it a lucrative trade to supply, under neutral flags, warlike materials and other articles to the hostile nations; thus, whilst under a nominal alliance, they actually furnished the sinews of war against us. In this particular, Holland, the next great commercial country to Britain, took the lead. She furnished ammunition and stores to the Spaniards, who all this while were engaged in besieging Gibraltar. Spain had also made a treaty with the Barbary States, by which she cut off our supplies from those countries. To relieve Gibraltar, Admiral Sir George Rodney, who was now appointed to the command of our navy in the West Indies, was ordered to touch there on his way out. On the 8th of January 1780, when he had been a few days out at sea, he came in sight of a Spanish fleet, consisting of five armed vessels, convoying fifteen merchantmen, all of which he captured. These vessels were chiefly laden with wheat, flour, and other provisions, badly needed at Gibraltar, and which he carried in with him, sending the men-of-war to England. On the 16th he fell in with another fleet off Cape St. Vincent, of eleven ships of the line, under Don Juan de Langara, who had come out to intercept the provisions which England sent to Gibraltar. Rodney had a much superior fleet, and the Spanish admiral immediately attempted to regain his port. The weather was very tempestuous, and the coast near the shoal of St. Lucar very dangerous; he therefore stood in as close as possible to the shore, but Rodney boldly thrust his vessels between him and the perilous strand, and commenced a running fight. The engagement began about four o'clock in the evening, and it was, therefore, soon dark; but Rodney, despite the imminent danger of darkness, tempest, and a treacherous shore, continued the fight, and the Spaniards for a time defended themselves bravely. The battle continued till two o'clock in the morning; one ship, the San Domingo, of seventy guns, blew up with six hundred men early in the action; four ships of the line, including the admiral's, of eighty guns, struck, and were carried by Rodney safe into port; two seventy-gun ships ran on the shoal and were lost; and of all the Spanish fleet only four ships escaped to Cadiz.