- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 469MB
The members of the House of Commons had to run the gauntlet of these furies much like the Lords. They pulled many of them out of their carriages, tore their clothes from their backs, and maltreated them, crying continually, "Repeal the Bill! No Popery! Lord George Gordon!" The frantic multitude forced their way into the lobby of the House, and attempted to break into the House itself. They thundered at the doors, and there was imminent danger of their forcing their way in. Meanwhile, Lord George Gordon and Alderman Ball were presenting the petition, and moved that the House should consider it at once in committee. An amendment was moved, that it should be considered on Tuesday, the 6th; but there were not means of putting either motion or amendment, for the mob had possession of the lobby, and the Serjeant-at-Arms declared it was impossible to clear it. Whilst this confusion lasted, Lord George Gordon exerted himself to excite the mob to the highest possible pitch. So long as members were speaking, he continued to go to the top of the gallery stairs, ever and anon, to drop a word to the crowd below likely to exasperate them against the particular member speaking. "Burke, the member for Bristol, is up now," he cried; and then coming again, "Do you know that Lord North calls you a mob?" This he repeated till the crowd was worked up to a maddening frenzy, and made so desperate a battering at the door, that it was momentarily expected they would burst it open. Several of the members vowed to Lord George, that, if his rabid friends did violate the sanctity of the House, they would run him through as the first man stepped over the lintel. These determined proceedings daunted Lord George. He retired to the eating-room, and sank quietly into a chair. Meanwhile, Lord North had privately despatched a messenger for a party of the Guards. Till these could arrive, some of the more popular members went out, and used their endeavours to appease the rage of the multitude. Lord Mahon harangued them from the balcony of a coffee-house, and produced considerable effect. About nine o'clock, Mr. Addington, a Middlesex magistrate, came up with a party of Horse Guards. He spoke kindly to the people, and advised them to disperse quietly, which, the exasperator being absent, many of them did. Soon after came a party of foot soldiers, who were drawn up in the Court of Requests, and they soon cleared the lobby. The members then boldly proceeded with the debate, and, undeterred by the cries still heard from without, carried the amendment for deferring the consideration of the petition by a hundred and ninety-four votes, including the tellers, against only eight. The House then adjourned until the 6th of June.
But the event which, far more than the battle of Baylen, showed Buonaparte and the world the sort of war he had provoked, was the siege of Saragossa. This ancient city, the capital of Aragon, stands on the right bank of the Ebro, with a suburb on the left bank connected with it by a bridge. Another river, a small one, called the Cozo, flowed into the Ebro, close under the city walls. The immediate neighbourhood of Saragossa is flat, and, on one side of the river, marshy; its walls were of brick, about ten feet high, old and ruinous, but in places they were only of mud. It might seem that no strong defence of such a place could be made against an army of thirteen thousand menveterans who had served in Germany and Poland, and who were furnished with battering trains and every means of assault. But the streets of the city were narrow and crooked, the houses strong and lofty, the rooms being almost all vaulted, and therefore almost impervious to shell. The inhabitants were sixty thousand. Saragossa raised the flag of resistance the moment that Murat issued his proclamation on the 20th of May, informing the Spanish people of the abdication of Charles and Ferdinand, and calling on the Spaniards to submit to the new government. On the 16th of June General Lefebvre commenced the attack by driving in the outposts of Palafox, the Spanish General, and establishing strong guards before the gates, but the Spaniards fought him street by street. As fast as they knocked down the walls and scattered the sandbags, they were repaired again by the Spaniards. At this stage of the siege, Augustina, "the Maid of Saragossa," a handsome woman of the lower class, of about twenty-two years of age, arrived on one of the batteries with refreshments, and found every man who had defended it lying slain. The fire was so tremendous that the citizens hesitated to re-man the guns. Augustina sprang forward over the bodies of the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hand of a dead artilleryman, and fired off a six-and-twenty-pounder. She then jumped upon the gun, and vowed never to quit it alive during the siege. Such an example added new courage to the defenders; and the siege proceeded with incessant fury. At this juncture Buonaparte withdrew a part of the troops, ordering Lefebvre to join Bessires with them, and Verdier was left to continue the siege with about ten thousand men. The Saragossans, encouraged by this, and assisted by some regular troops, not only defended the town more vigorously than ever, but sent out detachments to cut off Verdier's supplies. After several determined assaults he raised the siege on the 13th of August.
CHAPTER XXI. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).Whilst these indignant sentiments were uttering, the petitions for economical reform were pouring in from all parts of the country in such numbers that the table of the House appeared buried under them. The House went into committee upon the subject, and then Dunning rose and introduced his famous motion for a resolution in these words:"That it is the opinion of this committee that the influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." Dunning declaimed in language bold and unsparing, and expatiated at great length on the alarming influence of the Crown, purchased by the lavish expenditure of the people's money, the people thus being made the instruments of their own slavery. He censured in stinging terms the treatment of the economical plans of Burke, the treacherous terms of approbation with which Ministers had received them, and then had trodden on them piecemeal till they had left of them the merest shred. He trusted the nation would still resent this audacious mockery of reformthis insult to the most distinguished patriots. This was the way, he contended, that this Administration had again and again actedadding ridicule to oppression. Dunning's motion was carried, at a late hour of the night, by two hundred and thirty-three votes against two hundred and fifteen.