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    Whilst the fate of Louis XVI. was drawing to a crisis, the question of danger menaced by the French revolution had been warmly discussed in the British Parliament. The Government had already called out the militia when Parliament met on the 13th of December, 1792. The speech from the throne attributed this to the attempts of French incendiaries to create disturbance in the country, coupled with the doctrines of aggression promulgated by the French Convention, and their invasion of Germany and the Netherlands, which had already taken place. The latter country was overrun with French armies, and Holland, our ally, was threatened. The Address to the Speech, in the Commons, was moved by Mr. Wallace and seconded by Lord Fielding in the same tone. Fox, on the other hand, strongly opposed the warlike spirit of the speech. He declared that he believed every statement in the royal speech was unfounded, though the invasion of Germany and of the Netherlands was no myth. Fox had not yet, despite the horrors perpetrated by the French revolutionists, given up his professed persuasion of the good intentions of that peoplea wonderful blindnessand he recommended that we should send a fresh ambassador to treat with the French executive. Grey and Sheridan argued on the same side; Windham and Dundas defended the measures of Government, declaring that not only had the French forced open the navigation of the Scheldt, the protection of which was guaranteed by Britain, but that they were preparing for the regular subjugation of Holland. Burke declared that the counsels of Fox would be the ruin of England, if they could possibly prevail. He remarked that nothing was so notorious as the fact that swarms of Jacobin propagandists were actively engaged in disseminating their levelling principles in Great Britain, and were in close co-operation with Republican factions. These factions had sent over deputations to Paris, who had been received by the Jacobin society and by the Convention. He read the addresses of Englishmen and Irishmen resident in Paris, and of Joel Barlow and John Frost, deputies of the Constitutional Society of London. Burke said the question was, if they permitted the fraternising of these parties with the French Jacobins, not whether they should address the throne, but whether they should long have a throne to address, for the French Government had declared war against all kings and all thrones. Erskine replied, ridiculing the fears of Burke, and denouncing the prosecution of Paine's "Rights of Man" by Government. The Address was carried by a large majority. Fox, however, on the 14th of December, moved an amendment on the Report; and in his speech he rejoiced in the triumph of the French arms over what he called the coalition of despots, Prussia and Austria. He declared the people of Flanders had received the French with open arms; that Ireland was too disaffected for us to think of going to war; and that it was useless to attempt to defend the Dutch, for the people there would go over to France too. He again pressed on the House the necessity of our acknowledging the present French Government, and entering into alliance with it. He said France had readily acknowledged the Revolution in England, and entered into treaty with[411] Cromwell. Burke again replied to Fox, declaring that France had no real Government at all to enter into terms with. It was in a condition of anarchy, one party being in the ascendency one day, another the next; that such was not the condition of England under Cromwell. There was a decided and settled Republican Government, but a Government which did not menace or overthrow all monarchies around it, any more than Switzerland or the United States of America did now. Dundas reminded the House that we were bound by treaties to defend Holland if attacked, and that we must be prepared for it. Whigs, who had hitherto voted with Fox, now demanded to whom we were to send an ambassadorto the imprisoned king, to the Convention, or to the clubs who ruled the Convention? Fox's amendment was rejected without a division.
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    The remainder of the parliamentary session was occupied with royal marriages and settlements. George III. and his queen, though pious and decorous in their own lives, had the misfortune to have amongst their sons some of the most dissolute and debauched men that ever figured in the corrupt atmosphere of courts. The Prince of Wales was become a very byword for his profligacy and extravagance. The Duke of York was but little better, so far as his means allowed him; and the Duke of Sussex, wishing to marry a woman to whom he was really attached, found the Royal Marriage Act standing in his way.

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    Dec 16-22, 2015

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    The Court and the nobles were greatly alarmed, and secretly preparing for war. The nobles had joined the Assembly with the utmost repugnance, and many only on the assurance that the union would not continue. The members of that Order continued to protest against the proceedings of the Assembly, rather than join in its deliberations. The king himself had consented to the union, in the hope that the nobles would be able to put a check on the Tiers tat. King and nobles saw now that all such hopes were vain. And whilst Necker was retained to satisfy the people for the present, and whilst Mounier, Lally Tollendal, and Clermont Tonnerre were consulting with him on establishing a Constitution resembling that of Britain, the Court was preparing to put down the insurrection and the Assembly by force. Marshal Broglie was placed at the head of the troops which surrounded both Paris and Versailles. He judged of both soldiers and citizens by the recollections of the Seven Years' War, and assured the king that a little grape-shot would soon disperse the rioters. Fifteen regiments, chiefly foreign, had been gradually drawn round the capital. The headquarters of Broglie were at Versailles, where he had a brilliant staff and a formidable train of artillery, some of which commanded the very hall in which the Assembly sat. There was a battery at the bridge of Svres, commanding the road to Paris, and in Paris itself there were strong batteries on Montmartre, which overlooked the city, and which, moreover, were carefully entrenched. Besides these preparations, there were French regiments quartered at St. Germain, Charenton, St. Cloud, and other places. Altogether, fifty thousand troops were calculated to be collected. The old noblesse were impatient for the king to give the order to disperse the people both in Paris and Versailles; to surround the Assembly, seize the chief members, put them in prison, and send the rest adrift; to treat the ringleaders of the electors in the same manner; to dissolve formally the States General, and restore the old order of things. Had the reins of government been in the hands of a Bonaparte, the whole plan would have been executed, and would for the time, without doubt, have succeeded. But Louis XVI. was not the man for a coup-d'tat of that rigorous nature. He shuddered at the idea of shedding his subjects' blood; and instead of doing that for which the troops had been assembled, he now listened to Necker, who reminded him that when the people were put down or shot down, and the States General dispersed, the old debts and difficulties would remain, and without States General or Parliament there would be no authority to impose or collect taxes. To Necker's arguments, the more timid and liberal nobles added that the excitement would soon wear itself out; that nothing serious could be done in the presence of such forces, and that the Constitution, once completed, all would right itself, and that he would have to congratulate himself on his bloodless patience in a new and happier reign. This was humane but fatal advice in the circumstances. The soldiers, allowed to remain inactive in the very midst of the hotbed of sedition, were sure to become infected with the spirit of revolution. The debates in the National Assembly were actively distributed in print, and the soldiers read them eagerly.

    Nov 12-19, 2015

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