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Pitt had not forgotten the difficulty started by Burke, as to the recognition of the return to entire sanity of the king, and he now met it by proposing that when five out of the eight councillors appointed to assist the queen should declare the king's health restored, they should notify this to the political servants of the regent, and announce it in the London Gazette, as well as communicate it to the Lord Mayor; that the king should then summon nine of his Privy Council, who, sitting in council with him should be able to observe whether he were perfectly restored or not; and if six of the nine agreed that he was so, these six should sign a proclamation to that effect, on which the regency should cease and determine. Various amendments on this motion were made, but without effect, and it was carried. On the 12th of April the Regency Bill finally passed the Commons, and was carried up to the Lords, with the addition of a clause limiting the restriction on the making of peers to three years.!
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Least of all did the ambitious designs of the Czarina Catherine against Turkey seem menacing to us; yet these designs speedily drew into their current the whole power of Austria, endangered our relations with the countries on the Baltic, and attracted the revolutionary torrent over the fertile plains of the Netherlands, opposite to our own shores, menacing the stability of our allies, the Dutch. Catherine had found the Turks not so easily to be overcome as she imagined, feeble and tottering as she considered their empire. The absorption of the Ottoman kingdom and the establishment of the Muscovite throne at Constantinople had been her confident dream. But the Turks, though in a condition of decline and disorganisation which promised an easy subjugation[350] of them, had still their spirit of fanatic fatalism, which could rouse them to deeds of impetuous valour. The whole organisation and regulations of their army were in the worst condition. The janissaries, which had been amongst the finest infantry in the world, were now thoroughly demoralised and in insolent insubordination towards their own government. Their cavalry was numerous, but wretchedly disciplined. The commissariat was in the worst state conceivable, and their artillery, though it had received the energetic attentions of the French Baron De Toff, was contemptible. It might have appeared that nothing was necessary but to enter Turkey and drive the army, as a disorganised rabble, before the foe. But Catherine had not found it so. Her favourite, Potemkin, had been repeatedly defeated in his attempts to advance into Turkey from the Crimea, and Catherine had been glad to engage Joseph II. of Austria in the enterprise by a promise of an ample share of the spoil. In fact, the pair contemplated something like a partition of Europe. In their meeting at Cherson in 1787, Joseph had engaged to send one hundred thousand men to the campaign against Turkey. He had no quarrel with the Sultan, and though a zealous advocate for national reforms, he paid very little regard to national or international justice. In all his reforms, Joseph, with true Austrian spirit, showed the despot still. He did not attempt to carry such reforms as his subjects desired, but such as he thought proper for them; and he was always ready to force what he deemed liberalism and improvement upon them at the point of the bayonet. In attacking Turkey, he did not wait to proclaim war, much less to have a pretence for it, but he suddenly made a rush upon the neighbouring city and frontier fortress of Belgrade. The Turks, though taken by surprise, defended the place victoriously; and Joseph's subsequent assault on the fortress of Gradiska was equally unsuccessful and equally disgraceful.
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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