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    To prevent further carnage, a committee of the townsmen waited on the governor and council, and prevailed on them to remove the soldiers from the town to Castle William. The successful rioters carried the bodies of the killed in procession, denounced the soldiers as murderers, and spread the[202] most exaggerated accounts of the affray through the newspapers, under the name of "the massacre." Captain Preston and his men were arrested and put upon their trials before a jury of the irate townsmen. Nobody, for a time, would act as counsel for the defence; but at length John Adams, a young lawyer, undertook the office, and made the case so plain, that not only Captain Preston, but all the soldiers were acquitted, except two, who had fired without orders, and these were convicted only of manslaughter.
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    On the 25th of November Parliament was opened, and the king, in his speech, made a strong appeal to the country for support against the unprovoked war on the part of France and Spain. The Marquis of Rockingham, in proposing an amendment on the Address in the Lords, was extremely severe. He concluded by moving that every part of the Address, except the title, should be expunged, and that, instead of what then stood, a prayer should be inserted that his Majesty would reflect on the extent of territory which marked the opening of his reign, the opulence and power, the reputation abroad, the concord at home, to which he had succeeded, and now on the endangered, impoverished, enfeebled, distracted, and even dismembered, state of the whole, after the enormous grants of his successive Parliaments, and calling on him, as the only[262] remedy of impending ruin, to dismiss his present evil councillors, and summon new and more auspicious ones. The language was crushing, but it derived its force from its undeniable truth. Lord John Cavendish moved a similar amendment in the Commons; and the Opposition declared that it was well that his Majesty's speech expressed trust in Divine Providence, for Providence was the only friend that his Government had now left; and that our arms, both on sea and land, were paralysed by the scandalous practice of putting at the head of the army and navy mere Court favourites, and by the want of all vigour and sagacity of planning and following up our campaigns. Fox went further, and asserted that weakness and stupidity could not effect the wholesale shame and ruin that surrounded us; that there must be treachery somewhere; and that, if this were driven a little further, the people would seize on arms, and chase the miserable Cabinet from its abused seat. Lord North made the best reply that the circumstances admitted; but there were no symptoms of the Ministers resigning, or being removed by the infatuated monarch, and the amendments were rejected in both Houses, as a matter of course.
    The opening of the year 1848 was signalised by the appointment of a special commission, which was convened to try those accused of agrarian murders in the counties of Tipperary, Limerick, and Clare. The judges were the Chief Justice Blackburne and the Chief Baron Pigot. The commission was pre-eminently successful. The trials commenced at Limerick on the 4th of January. The Chief Justice, in his charge to the jury, drew a melancholy picture of the demoralised state of the country. He praised the patience and enduring fortitude of the people under the visitation of famine, which were generally in the highest degree exemplary, and he made this remarkable statement:"I do not find in the calendar before me, nor after the experience of the last two circuits have I been able to find, a single case in which destitution or distress, arising from the visitation of God, has in the remotest degree influenced this illegal confederacy, or stimulated any of those outrages." The first person tried was the notorious William Ryan, nicknamed "Puck," one of the greatest ruffians ever brought to the bar of justice. He was tried for the murder of a neighbour, named John Kelly, into whose house he entered, and shot him dead upon the spot, in the presence of his family. He was found guilty, and hanged on the 8th of February. He was well known to have committed nine murders during the previous year. A man named Frewin, a respectable farmer, was transported for life, being found guilty of harbouring Ryan, and screening him from justice. The next batch of prisoners consisted of six ill-looking young fellows, all of whom appeared to be about twenty years of age, charged with the abduction of the daughter of a respectable farmer, named Maloney, for whom they were in the habit of working, in order that another farmer, named Creagh, might marry her. SUBSCRIBE