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These motions were defeated, and Lord North, on the 21st of June, moved for the introduction of a Bill to double the militia and raise volunteer corps. The proposal to double the militia was rejected, that to raise volunteer corps accepted. To man the Navy a Bill was brought in to suspend for six months all exemptions from impressment into the Royal Navy. The measure was passed through two stages before rising, and carried the next morning, and sent up to the Lords. There it met with strong opposition, and did not receive the Royal Assent till the last day of the Session. This was the 3rd of July, and was followed, on the 9th, by a Royal Proclamation ordering all horses and provisions, in case of invasion, to be driven into the interior. The batteries of Plymouth were manned, and a boom was drawn across the harbour at Portsmouth. A large camp of militia was established at Cox Heath, in front of Maidstone, and, in truth, this demonstration of a patriotic spirit was very popular.

[210] When Sir Robert Peel delivered up the seals of office, the first thing the king did was to send for Earl Grey, who declined the task of forming an Administration. He advised his Majesty to entrust it to Viscount Melbourne. The business, therefore, devolved upon Melbourne, and he hastened to complete it out of such materials as he had at his command. These were substantially the same as those which composed his former Administration. Lord Brougham, however, was now left out, as Lord Melbourne, in a series of plain-spoken letters, had already informed him he would be; also Lord Althorp, who, being in the Upper House[386] as Earl Spencer, did not seem to have any ambition for the toils and honours of office. Lord Howick, the eldest son of Earl Grey, became a member of the Cabinet. There was no Lord Chancellor appointed for the present, out of consideration for Brougham's feelings. The Great Seal was put in commission, the three Commissioners being the Master of the Rolls, the Vice-Chancellor, and Mr. Justice Bosanquet. The offices were distributed as follows:Lord Melbourne, Premier; the Marquis of Lansdowne, President of the Council; Lord Palmerston, Foreign Secretary; Lord John Russell, Home Secretary; Mr. Charles Grant, Colonial Secretary; Mr. Spring-Rice, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Viscount Duncannon, Lord Privy Seal and Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests; Lord Auckland, First Lord of the Admiralty; Sir John Hobhouse, President of the Indian Board; Mr. Poulett Thompson, President of the Board of Trade; Lord Howick, Secretary-at-War; Lord Holland, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The appointments not in the Cabinet wereSir Henry Parnell, Paymaster of the Forces; Mr. Charles Wood, Secretary to the Admiralty; Sir George Grey, Under-Secretary of the Colonies; the Honourable Fox Maule, Under-Secretary for the Home Department; Mr. Labouchere, Vice-President of the Board of Trade and Master of the Mint; Attorney-General, Sir John Campbell; Solicitor-General, Mr. Rolfe. The Irish appointments wereThe Earl of Mulgrave, Lord-Lieutenant; Lord Morpeth, Chief Secretary; Lord Plunket, Chancellor.

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On the 1st of June according to the arrangements of General Gage, as the clock struck twelve, all the public offices were closed, and the whole official business was transferred to Salem. But the wide discontent of the people met him there as much as at Boston. When the Assembly met, which was in the following week, such was its spirit that General Gage felt that he must dissolve it. General Gage, seeing the lowering aspect of affairs, took the precaution to throw more troops into the neighbourhood, so that he had some six regiments, with a train of artillery, when he encamped on the common near Boston. Active emissaries were immediately sent amongst these troops, who, by presents of ardent spirits and fine promises, seduced a considerable number from their duty. To prevent this, he stationed a strong guard at Boston Neck, a narrow isthmus connecting the town with the common and open country. On this a vehement cry was raised, that he was going to cut off all communication with the country, blockade the town, and reduce it to submission by famine. The inhabitants of the county of Worcester sent a deputation to inquire Gage's intentions, and they did not omit to hint that, if necessary, they would drive in the guard with arms; for, in fact, besides the arms which most Americans then had, others had been supplied to such as were too poor to purchase them. Gordon, their historian, tells us that the people were preparing to defend their rights by the sword; that they were supplying themselves from Boston with guns, knapsacks, etc. According to the Militia Law, most men were well furnished with muskets and powder, and were now busily employed in exercising themselves; thus all was bustle, casting of balls, and making ready for a struggle. Gage, seeing all this, removed the gunpowder and the military stores from Charlestown, Cambridge, and other localities, to his own quarters. This, again, excited a deep rage in the people, who threatened to attack his troops. To prevent this, he went on briskly with his defences on the Neck; but what he did by day the mob endeavoured to undo by night. They set fire to his supplies of straw; they sank the boats that were bringing bricks, and overturned his waggons conveying timber. Nothing but the greatest patience and forbearance prevented an instant collision.