Page images
PDF

Molke, the titular bishop of Cathay, states that in the province of Fo-kien, twenty-two families had been converted by him, who, in the course of one year administered baptism to 10,400 children, and 1677 adults, and that 2675 catechumens were under preparation for receiving the holy sacrament. InHo-nanthe labours of the fathers had effected the conversion of 126 families, and 16,000 adults and children had received baptism. In. other provinces some progress had been made; and churches were gradually multiplying, one of which had been erected in sight of the grand temple of the idol Fo, in' Fo-kien. On the whole, it is supposed that the new Christians in China cannot be fewer than 60,000 souls. In Tonquin, likewise, the missionaries had been permitted to pursue their labours, the fruits of which had been upwards of 6000 converts. When the many vicissitudes of the Christian religion in the Chinese empire are recollected, and that when it has become an object of political suspicion, it has always been suppressed by despotic power, little confidence will probably be placed in this revival; not to add, that among a people so immersed in ignorance, it can only be exchanging one form of superstition for another.

An article of intelligence from Egypt, dated July 25th, affords information which, if to be relied on, would import nearly the final suppression of the Wahabee Arabs. Mahomet Ali, the Viceroy of Egypt, had returned to the capital after an absence of almost two

years, in which he had been engaged in an expedition for the purpose of recovering the holy cities of Mecca -and Medina from the Wahabees, and for removing the obstacles presented by those marauders to all commercial intercourse by sea and land. It i* affirmed that his exertions have been attended with complete success; that he has driven them from the holy cities, and the ports along the coasts of the Red Sea, has taken possession of their great inland capital Tarabe, their principal strong hold, and has effected their total defeat by pursuing them to the remotest confines of their widely extended territory. It is, however, known from the experience of ages, that the dispersion and discomfiture of an Arabian tribe are far distant from their extirpation.

The Tunisian government has undergone a revolution in this year, aceomp;inied with circum7 stances of barbarity characterise tic of this part of the world.— The old Bey, Sidi Ottoman, was assassinated on January 20th, by his cousin, Sidi Mahomet Flassen, who had long enjoyed his confidence and favour. The two sons of the Bey, who were In the apartments of their wives at the time of the assassination, took to flight, but were overtaken, and dragged into the presence of Sidi Mahomet, who caused their heads to be immediately struck off. He was then recognized as absolute Chief of the Regency; and his prime minister, Jussuf Rogia, commenced his functions with ordering a favourite of the former Bey to be impaled, and another to be strangled.

CHAPTER

CHAPTER XV.

Domestic Occurrences.Extension of the Order of the Bath.Internal Disorders.—Riots in the Metropolis in consequence of the Corn Bill.— Combination of the Sailors in the Coal Trade.Dangerous Disturbances in IrelandProceedings of the Irish Catholics..Collection for the Sufferers at Waterloo.Commercial Affairs.Distress of Agriculturists.Marriage of the Duke of Cumberland.State of tlxe King,

THE martial glory acquired by the British nation in its long war had thrown such a lustre on the military character, that it had become almost as much a favourite here, as in the monarchies on the continent; and the Prince Regent determined to signalize the conclusion of the arduous contest in which the empire had been engaged, by a splendid display of his sense of the meritorious services of the officers of his Majesty's forces by sea and land. The military order of the Bath was the institution by which he was pleased to execute this intention; and in virtue of the powers reserved to the Sovereign in the statutes of this order, he made an extension of its plan and limits for the purpose of including a greater number of individuals in the honours bestowed by it. On January 3d, there was published in the London Gazette an ordinance, the substance of which will appear in the following summary :—It begins with declaring that from this time forward the Order of the Bath shall be composed of three classes, differing in their hegrees of rank and dignity. The

first is to consist of Knights Grand Crosses, which designation is substituted for that of Knights Companions. The number of these is not at any time to exceed seventy-two, of which a number not exceeding twelve may be nominated in consideration of eminent services rendered to the state in civil and diplomatic employments. By a subsequent article it is ordained, that Princes of the blood-royal, holding high commissions in the army or navy, may be appointed Grand Crosses without being included in the number above-specified. The military rank required for this dignity is that of Major-general in the army, and Rear-admiral in the navy. The rights and privileges in which they are invested are the same with those formerly belonging to the Knights Companions.

The second class is to be composed of Knights Commanders, who are to enjoy precedence before all Knights Bachelors. Upon their first institution, their number is not to exceed one hundred and eighty, exclusive of foreign officers holding British commissions, of whom ten maybe admitted admitted as honorary knights. But in the event of future wars in which distinction is obtained, the number may be increased. No person is to be eligible to this class who does not hold a commission not below the rank of LieutenantColonel in the army, or of Post Captain in the navy. The Knights Commanders are entitled to assume the distinctive appellation of knighthood; and no officer shall hereafter be nominated to the dignity of Grand Cross who ■hall not previously have been appointed a Knight Commander.

The third class is to be composed of officers in the army and navy to be styled Companions of the Order of the Bath. They are not to be entitled to the appellation or precedence of Knights Bachelors, but are to take place of all Esquires. None are to be admitted into this class but such as have received a medal or other badge of honour, or have been mentioned by name in the London Gazette, as having been distinguished by valour and conduct in action.

Other articles describe the badges, ensigns, or distinctive marks assigned to each of these classes; and lists are subjoined of the persons nominated to them, which comprehend all the eminent military characters of the three kingdoms. As this nomination'took place before that renewal of war the termination of which has been so peculiarly glorious to the British arms, it will readily be supposed that great additions have in the latter part of the year been made to the preceding lists.

The internal tranquillity of the

country has in this year undergone some disturbance, though, in the larger portion of the empire, not to a degree materially affecting the public peace. The re-introduction into parliament of a bill to prohibit the importation of corn, except when it had reached a price considered by the great body of consumers as exorbitant, rekindled the animosity of the inferior classes against the legislature; and the metropolis was for some days in a state of tumult and outrage which excited serious apprehensions in the government, and caused strong measures to be resorted to for quelling the popular commotion. This was with little difficulty effected, after several obnoxious individuals had been sufferers from the usual mischiefs of riotous mobs, directed against windows and furniture. In some parts of the country violences of a similar kind were perpetrated, though in a less degree. The public mind was pacified by a fall in the price of grain, which a plentiful harvest rendered progressive, till it reached a point that threw real distress upon the class of agriculturists, and entirely frustrated any hopes which the landed interest might have entertained of maintaining by legislative measures the advanced value and, rents of estates.

A resistance to legal authority of a more alarming nature, and much more difficult to repress, broke out in the latter part ot the year among the numerous sailors of {he ports in Durham and Northumberland chiefly occupied in the coal trade. Their object was to obtain an advance

in

tn their wages, and also to fix a certain proportion of able seamen to be employed in every coaster. The coal-owners not acceding to their demands, they began to use measures of force, which were the more serious from the method and order with which their operations were conducted, displaying an organized combination similar to that in the naval mutiny. They took entire possession of the river Tyne, by a chain of boats which did not allow a vessel to put to sea without a regular permit. The efforts of the local magistrates, and conciliatory propositions from the merchants, proving insufficient to restore obedience, whilst the sailors in other ports were also manifesting a disposition to combine for similar purposes, government resolved to interpose with effect to quell this dangerous spirit. A strong force, military and naval, was collected at the disturbed ports, which was so judiciously applied, that no resistance was attempted on the part of the sailors, and their coercive system was immediately broken up. Reasonable offers were then made to them, which they accepted, and tranquillity was restored. Not a life was lost on the occasion, and a few of the lingleadcrs only were apprehended, to abide the sentence of the law. Further particulars of this occurrence will be found in the Chronicle.

The sister island, which seems fated never long to enjoy a state of internal quiet, was in this year the scene of disturbances, which in various parts seriously outraged the public peace, and were lot effectually suppressed by all

the exertions of authority. It is observable that in the many years of disturbances in Ireland, the particular subjects of grievance, and views of the malcontents, have been perpetually varying j so that it would seem, that from some unfortunate cause, a spirit of resistance to the established order of things is constantly in existence in the mass of people, ready to be called into operation on any occasion by which the passions axe temporarily excited. In the present year the great object of popular attack has been the tythe system, always, indeed, a topic of complaint, and likely so to continue while tythes are exacted with rigour from the lowest classes, for the support of a religious establishment of which they are not members. The purpose of the insurgents was distinctly announced in a proclamation posted by them on the bridge of Clonmel, commanding the Irish people to lay aside all their trifling feuds of Caravats and Shanavests, and to adhere to the great point of cuting down the tythe proctors, and those who gain by tythes. Th« principal seat of the disturbances has been the counties to the south and south-west of Dublin, at those of Tipperary, Limerick, Waterford, and Kilkenny, in which, violences have been exercised that have rendered military aid and extraordinary magisterial powers necessary for their suppression. In the narrative of parliamentary transactions will be found an account of the legislative measures taken for strengthening the hands of government. Of these the principal was the renewal renewal of the Insurrection act, which gave authority to the Justices of Peace in any county, assembled at an extraordinary session, to signify to the Lord Lieutenant the disturbed state of that county, who thereupon was to issue his proclamation by which the same was publicly declared. This was done on September 25th with respect to the greatest part of the county of Tipperary, at the requisition of 40 Justices of Peace. Shortly after, a meeting of 49 of the magistrates of Limerick unanimously agreed to make a similar application to the Lord Lieutenant with respect to that city and county. Various corps of troops were concentrated in this quarter of the island, of which Limerick was the principal station. In King's county the rioters assembled in force, under the denomination of Carders, and perpetrated various outrages, which the magistrates found themselves unable to suppress by the civil power. They therefore in a meeting held' on October 8th at Clara, resolved to apply to the Lord Lieutenant for military aid. In this instance, as in most of the other acts of violence, the acquisition of fire-arms appeared to be the great object of the insurgents; a circumstance denoting plans of serious resistance to the government. The murder of a very respectable magistrate near Cashel in November (see Chronicle), occasioned a peculiar alarm in that part of the country; and it is to be lamented that notwithstanding the unanimous exertions of the gentry and magistrates, and the ready assistance afforded by the Irish government, much remain

ed to be done at the close of the year for the restoration of a state of public peace and security.

The cause of Catholic emancipation had been so much injured by differences among the Catholics themselves, that the efforts of its friends in parliament were in this year faint and unpromising; and it does not appear that the subject was agitated with zeal in Ireland, unless it were in the assemblies of the party at Dublin. An aggregate meeting of the Catholics was held on January 14, when Lord Fingall being called to the chair, declined taking it, alleging, that faith had been broken with him respecting the veto; and he quitted the room in the midst of tokens of disapprobation from the rest of the company. Mr. O'Connor being then unanimously nominated to fill it, resolutions for unqualified emancipation were moved and carried by general acclamation. The renewal of a petition to parliament was agreed upon; but it will be seen in the narrative of the parliamentary debates, that the former leaders of the question in both Houses refused taking upon them that office, though they still declared themselves friends to the fundamental principle.

At a meeting of the Irish Catholic Association at Dublin in December, the copy of a letter was read, addressed to the Right Rev. Dr. Poynter, by Cardinal Litta, on the ]>art of the Pope, and dated in April from Genoa, whither the papal court had then retired, in which the opinion of his Holiness was given, concerning the three principal points at issue between the Catholics of Great Britain

« PreviousContinue »