“中国扶贫·社会责任奖”候选名单(15)

The Ministry, as reconstructed, consisted of Lord North, First Lord of the Treasury; the Great Seal was in commission; Granby's places, the Ordnance and Commander of the Forces, were still unsupplied; so was the Duke of Manchester's old post of Lord of the Bed-Chamber. The Earl of Halifax became Lord Privy Seal; the Earl of Pembroke became a Lord of the Bed-Chamber; the Earl of Waldegrave, Master of the Horse to the queen; Sir Gilbert Elliot, Treasurer of the Navy; Charles James Fox became a junior Lord of the Admiralty; Admiral Holborne another; Mr. Welbore Ellis became one of the Vice-Treasurers of Ireland; and Thurlow was appointed Solicitor-General, in place of Dunning. From the 11th of February to the 1st of March the struggle went on, many endeavours being made, but without effect, to come to an agreement between the parties. On the last day Fox moved that an Address be carried up to the king by the whole House, representing the violence done to the Constitution by a Minister retaining his place after a vote of want of confidence by the Commons, and insisting strongly on the right and duty of that House to advise his Majesty on the exercise of his prerogative. Pitt replied that, by attempting to force the king to decide contrary to his judgment, they were placing the sceptre under the mace; but the resolution was carried by a majority, though of twelve only, and on the 4th the Address was carried up, when the king repeated that his sentiments remained the same. Fox, on the return of the House, moved that this answer should not be taken into consideration before the 8th, and till then the Mutiny Bill should remain in abeyance. His object was to stave off a dissolution until the 25th, when the Mutiny Bill expired. By refusing to renew it, he hoped to force his rival to resign. The House on the 8th was excessively crowded, for a very warm debate was anticipated. When it came to divide about midnight, Fox was found to have carried his resolution, but only by a majority of one. This was the climax of defeat. The once triumphant Opposition saw that all was over with them, and they gave up the contest.

In the meantime, General Gage landed at Boston on the 13th of May. The Port Bill had preceded him a few days, and the tone of the other colonies rendered the Bostonians firmer in their temper than ever. On the 25th of May General Gage announced to the Assembly at Boston the unpleasant fact, that he was bound to remove, on the 1st of June, the Assembly, the courts of justice, and all the public offices, to Salem, in conformity with the late Act. As they petitioned him to set apart a day for fasting, he declined that, and, to prevent further trouble, adjourned them to the 7th of June, to meet at Salem. Meanwhile, the Highland army was continuing its retreat. On the 20th of December they left Carlisle, and crossed into Scotland by fording[103] the Esk. On the 26th Lord George entered Glasgow, and Charles, with the other division, on the 27th. At Glasgow the prince and the army lay for seven days to rest, and to levy contributions of all kinds of articles of apparel for the soldiers. On the 3rd of January, 1746, the same day that Cumberland left Carlisle for London, Charles marched his army out of Glasgow, new clad and new shod, for Stirling. The next day he took up his quarters at the house of Bannockburn, and distributed his men through the neighbouring villages, Lord George Murray occupying Falkirk. Lords Strathallan and Drummond soon arrived from Perth with their united force, attended by both battering-guns and engines from France.

These resolutions being carried, it then became a question whether the prince would accept this restricted regency. Burke had warned the House that perhaps, after all, the prince would not accept such a shadow of his own natural powers, and he warned them likewise that the British Parliament might find itself electing the prince as regent, whilst the Irish Parliament was nominating him as by right. But it would appear that the Whigs were so anxious to seize on office, even under such cramping restrictions, and to see Pitt dethroned, that they advised the prince to accept. A joint committee of Lords and Commons waited on him on the 30th of January, the anniversary of the execution of Charles I., and another joint-committee the same day waited on the queen, and the next day their answers, accepting their respective offices, were communicated to Parliament. The prince, indeed, qualified his acceptance by declaring that he did it only as a temporary arrangement, and in the hope, notwithstanding the peculiar and unprecedented circumstances, of preserving the interests of the king, the crown, and the people.