During these transactions there was naturally an earnestly-inquiring eye kept open towards Hanover, whence the king appeared in no hurry to issue forth and assume the throne of these three fair kingdoms. The coolness with which George of Hanover appeared to contemplate the splendid prize which had fallen to him, seemed to the English little less than unnatural. Thrones and crowns are generally seized upon with avidity; but the new king seemed to feel more regret in quitting his petty Electorate than eagerness to enter on his splendid kingdom. But George was a man of phlegmatic disposition, and of the most exact habits, and went through his duties like an automaton or a piece of machinery. He took, therefore, much time in settling his affairs in Hanover before he turned his face towards England, and it was not till the 18th of September, or nearly seven weeks after the decease of the late queen, that he landed at Greenwich with his son George. "His views and affections were," as Lord Chesterfield properly observed, "singly confined to the narrow compass of his Electorate. England was too big for him."But though Pitt protested against thanking the king for bringing over Hanoverian troops, he found it necessary to support the king's German treaties and alliances, which were avowedly for the defence of Hanover. Fox reminded him of his favourite phrase, that Hanover was a millstone round the neck of England; but it was not the first time that Pitt had had to stand the taunt of eating his own words, and he braved it out, especially voting two hundred thousand pounds to Frederick of Prussia. A wonderful revolution in Continental politics had now converted this long-hostile nephew of George II. into an ally, if not a friend.The foreign expeditions planned by the Grenville Ministry were, this year, attended by disgraceful results, and the news of their failure arrived in time to enable the new Ministry to throw additional odium upon their foes. The news of the seizure of Buenos Ayres by Sir Home Popham and General Beresford had induced the late Cabinet to overlook the irregular manner in which their enterprise had been undertaken. They sent out Admiral Sir C. Stirling to supersede Sir Home Popham, who was to be brought before a court-martial, but he took out with him a fresh body of troops, under General Auchmuty. These troops landed at Monte Video on the 18th of January, and, after a sharp contest against six thousand Spaniards, and the loss of five hundred and sixty British killed and wounded, the place was taken on the 2nd of February. Soon afterwards General Whitelocke arrived with orders to assume supreme command and to recapture Buenos Ayres, which the inhabitants had succeeded in recovering. Whitelocke reached Monte Video towards the end of May, and found the British army, with what he brought, amounting to nearly twelve thousand men, in fine condition. With such a force Buenos Ayres would have soon been reduced by a man of tolerable military ability. But Whitelocke seems to have taken no measures to enable his troops to carry the place by a sudden and brilliant assault. It was not till the 3rd of July that he managed to join Major-General Gore, who had taken possession of a commanding elevation overlooking the city. The hope of success lay in the rapidity with which the assault was made: all this was now lost. The rain poured in torrents, and the men had no shelter, and were half starved. All this time the Spaniards had been putting the city into a state of defence. Still, on the morning of the 5th of July the order was issued to storm. The troops advanced in three columns from different sides of the town, headed severally by Generals Auchmuty, Lumley, and Craufurd. Whitelocke said that it could be of no use to delay the advance towards the centre of the town by attacking the enemy under cover of their houses; it could only occasion the greater slaughter. The command, therefore, was to dash forward with unloaded muskets, trusting alone to the bayonet. Much blame was cast on Whitelocke for this order, but there seems strong reason in it, considering the wholly uncovered condition of the troops against a covered enemy, and that the only chance was for each division to force its way as rapidly as possible to certain buildings where they could ensconce themselves, and from whence they could direct an attack of shot and shells on the Spaniards. General Auchmuty, accordingly, rushed on against every obstacle to the great square—Plaza de Toros, or Square of Bulls—took thirty-two cannon, a large quantity of ammunition, and six hundred prisoners. Other regiments of his division succeeded in getting possession of the church and convent of Santa Catalina, and of the residencia, a commanding post; Lumley and Craufurd were not so fortunate. The 88th was compelled to yield; and the 36th, greatly reduced, and joined by the 5th—which had taken the convent of Santa Catalina—made their way to Sir Samuel Auchmuty's position in the Plaza de Toros, dispersing a body of eight hundred Spaniards on their way and taking two guns. Craufurd's division capitulated at four o'clock in the afternoon. In the evening Whitelocke resolved to come to terms. The conditions of the treaty were—that General Whitelocke's army, with its arms, equipage, and stores, was to be conveyed across the La Plata to Monte Video; his troops were to be supplied with food; and that at the end of two months the British were to surrender Monte Video, and retire from the country. Such was the humiliating result of the attempt on Buenos Ayres. Nothing could exceed the fury of all classes at home against Whitelocke on the arrival of the news of this disgraceful defeat. It was reported that he had made the men take their flints out of their guns before sending them into the murderous streets of Buenos Ayres; and had he arrived with his despatches, his life would not have been safe for an hour. There was a general belief that the Court was protecting him from punishment; and, in truth, the delays interposed between him and a court-martial appeared to warrant this. It was not till the 28th of January, 1808, that he was brought before such a court at Chelsea Hospital, when he was condemned to be cashiered, as wholly unfit and unworthy to serve his Majesty in any military capacity whatever.
On the 26th of August Massena arrived before Almeida, a strongly fortified town not thirty miles from Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellington hoped that it would detain him at least a month, for it had a good Portuguese garrison, commanded by Colonel Cox, an English officer: and he himself drew near, to be able to seize any opportunity of damaging the besiegers. But in the night of the 27th there was a terrible explosion of a powder magazine, which threw down part of the wall, and made the place untenable. Treachery was immediately suspected, and what followed was sufficient proof of it; for the Portuguese major, whom Colonel Cox sent to settle the terms of the capitulation, went over to the French, and was followed by a whole Portuguese regiment with the exception of its British officers. This was a great disappointment to Lord Wellington, whose plan was to detain Massena till the rainy season set in, when he would at once find himself embarrassed by bridgeless floods and in intolerable roads, and, as he hoped and had ordered, in a country without people and without provisions.
To contend against this enormous force, Buonaparte, by the most surprising exertions, had again collected upwards of two hundred thousand men of considerable military practice; but he dared not to name the conscription to a people already sore on that point; and he endeavoured to raise further reinforcements by an enrolment of National Guards all over France. For this purpose commissioners were sent down into the Departments, on the authority of an Imperial decree of April the 5th; and he proposed to raise as many federates, or volunteers of the lower orders—the only class which had raised a cheer for him on his return. But these schemes proved, for the most part, abortive. In the northern Departments, where heretofore the commands of Buonaparte had been most freely obeyed, the inhabitants showed a sullen and dogged resistance, and the same was the case in Brittany. Farther south matters were worse. In the Departments of Gard, Marne, and Nether Loire, the white flag and cockade were openly displayed; and wherever the tree of liberty was planted—for it was now the trick of Buonaparte to associate the sacred name of liberty with his, a name and a thing on which he had so uniformly trampled—it was cut down and burnt. It was in such circumstances that Buonaparte had to put his frontiers into a state of defence against the advancing hosts. He had defended the northern side of Paris with a double line of fortifications; strongly fortified Montmartre, and on the open southern side cast up some field-works, relying, however, on the Seine as the best barrier. Paris he placed under the command of General Haxo; and the fortresses on the side of Alsace, the Vosges, and Lorraine were all strongly garrisoned. Lyons, Guise, Vitry, Soissons, Chateau-Thierry, Langres, and other towns were made as strong as forts, redoubts, field-works, and garrisons could make them; and trusting by these to retard the slow Austrians, and even the Russians, till he could have given a desperate blow to the Allies in the Netherlands, of whom he was most afraid, on the 11th of June he quitted Paris, saying, "I go to measure myself with Wellington!"
The literature of this period is more distinguished for learning and cleverness than for genius. There are a few names that rise above the smartness and mere accomplishment of the time into the regions of pure genius; but, with very few exceptions, even they bear the stamp of the period. We have here no Milton, no Shakespeare, no Herbert, no Herrick even, to produce; but De Foe, Addison, Steele, Thomson, and Pope, if they do not lift us to the highest creative plane, give us glimpses and traits of what is found there. For the rest, however full of power, there hangs a tone of "town," of a vicious and sordid era, about them, of an artificial and by no means refined life, a flavour of the grovelling of the politics which distinguished the period, and of the low views and feelings which occupied and surrounded the throne during the greater portion of this term.This retreat had been made under great difficulties; the weather being excessively wet, the rivers swollen, and the roads knee-deep in mud. Provisions were scarce, and the soldiers found great difficulty in cooking the skinny, tough beef that they got, on account of the wet making it hard to kindle fires. The Spaniards, as usual, concealed all the provisions they could, and charged enormously for any that they were compelled to part with. In fact, no enemies could have been treated worse than they treated us all the while that we were doing and suffering so much for them. The soldiers became so enraged that they set at defiance the strict system which Wellington exacted in this respect, and cudgelled the peasantry to compel them to bring out food, and seized it wherever they could find it. In fact, the discipline of the army was fast deteriorating from these causes, and Wellington issued very stern orders to the officers on the subject. Till they reached the Tormes, too, the rear was continually harassed by the French; and Sir Edward Paget, mounting a hill to make observations, was surprised and made prisoner.
LORD ANGLESEY LEAVING IRELAND: SCENE AT KINGSTOWN. (See p. 292.)The Austrians advanced under Marshal Braun, an officer of English extraction, against Frederick, but after a hard-fought battle at Lowositz, on the 1st of October, Frederick beat them, and soon after compelled the Saxon army, seventeen thousand strong, to surrender at Pirna. The King of Saxony, who had taken refuge in the lofty rock fortress of K?nigstein, surrendered too, on condition of being allowed to retire to Warsaw, and Frederick established his headquarters for the winter at Dresden, levying heavy contributions throughout Saxony.
In the following June Lord Stanhope again came forward with a Bill to remove some of these enactments, and he showed that the literal fulfilment of several of them was now impossible; that as to compelling every man to go to church, by returns lately made to that House it was shown that there were four millions more people in England than all the churches of the Establishment could contain. With respect to the Church enforcing uniformity, he said that the variations between the Book of Common Prayer printed at Oxford and that printed at Cambridge amounted to above four thousand. His Bill was again thrown out by thirty-one against ten; but his end was gained. He had brought the injustice towards the Dissenters so frequently forward, and it was now so glaring, and the Dissenters themselves were become so numerous and influential, that the question could be no longer blinked. On the majority being pronounced against the Bill, Lord Holland rose and asked whether, then, there was to be nothing done to remove the disabilities under which Dissenters laboured? If that were the case, he should be under the necessity of bringing forward a measure on that subject himself. This compelled Ministers to promise that something should be done; and, on the 10th of the same month, Lord Castlereagh proposed to bring in a Bill to repeal certain Acts, and to amend others respecting persons teaching or preaching in certain religious assemblies. This Act, when explained, went to repeal the 13 and 14 Charles II., which imposed penalties on Quakers and others who should refuse to take oaths; the 16 of Charles II., known as the Five Mile Act, which prohibited any preacher who refused to take the non-resistance oath coming within five miles of any corporation where he had preached since the Act of Oblivion, under a penalty of fifty pounds; and the 17, which also imposed fine and imprisonment on them for attempting to teach a school unless they went to church and subscribed a declaration of conformity. It also repealed the 22 Charles II., commonly called the Conventicle Act. Instead of those old restraints, his Act simply required the registration of all places of worship in the bishop's or archdeacon's court; that they must not be locked, bolted, or barred during divine service, and that the preachers must be licensed according to the 19 George III. These conditions being complied with, all persons officiating in, or resorting to such places of worship, became entitled to all the benefits of the Toleration Act, and the disturbance of their assemblies became a punishable offence. This Bill passed both Houses, and became known as the Statute of 52 George III. It was a great step in the progress of religious freedom; and Mr. William Smith, the leader of the Dissenting interests in the House of Commons, expressed his heartfelt gratification at this proof of the increasing liberality of the times.While these things had been passing in England, the Revolution in France had been making great strides. The Assembly, after its removal to Paris, passed completely under the influence of the violent Jacobin Club, and the work of destruction and reconstitution proceeded with startling rapidity. By the division of France into Departments all the old territorial arrangements and provincial Assemblies were abolished; the judicial system was re-established on a popular basis, and its dependence on the Crown swept away; the Church was made a department of the State, and its vast property sold, chiefly by means of bills payable in Church lands and called assignats. The position of the king became well-nigh intolerable. There was a chance, indeed, that Mirabeau might extricate him from the toils of his enemies. That great man, now reconciled to the Court, advised him to withdraw from the capital, and throw himself upon the conservatism of the country districts. But the death of Mirabeau in April, 1791, deprived Louis of his only wise adviser, and in June he adopted the ill-judged course of flying from Paris, with the object of making his way across the frontier and joining the enemies of his country. The flight was ill-managed, the royal family were arrested at Varennes and brought back as prisoners to Paris, where they were placed under the strictest surveillance.
The Austrians and Russians by this time were in full march for Italy. Leaving the Archduke Charles to cope with Jourdain, who had made himself master of the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein in January, and menaced a march on the Danube, an army of Austrians, under Generals Bellegarde and Hotze, entered Switzerland, re-occupied the Grisons country, drove the French from the St. Gothard, and menaced Massena at Zurich. Another army of Austrians, under old General Mélas, issued from the Tyrol and drove the French General, Scherer, from post to post in Upper Italy, till he took refuge behind the Mincio. Moreau was then sent to supersede Scherer, but found himself in April confronted not only by Mélas, but by Suvaroff, with an addition of fifty thousand men. On the 27th of that month he was attacked by this combined force and beaten. Brescia and Peschiera surrendered, Mantua was invested, and Suvaroff entered Milan. Moreau was compelled to retreat upon Genoa, and await the arrival of Macdonald, who was rapidly marching from Naples to his aid. But Macdonald was confronted on the banks of the Trebia, and after a fierce battle of three days he was routed, and escaped only to Moreau with the remnant of his army. Moreau now stationed himself in the entrance of the Bochetta Pass, in the Apennines, behind the town of Novi; but there he was superseded by General Joubert, the Directory having lost faith in him. Joubert, however, had no better success than Moreau. Suvaroff attacked him on the 16th of August, routed his army and killed him; the French abandoning nearly all their artillery on the field, and flying in disorder towards Genoa.But General Lambert did not retire far without striking another blow. His predecessor had failed to take New Orleans, but he had brought away the troops in excellent order, and he passed over in Sir Alexander Cochrane's squadron and attacked and took the important forts of Mobile, at the confluence of the Mobile, Tombigbee, and Alabama rivers—the territories around which have since grown into States. This was a basis for important operations on those shores; but they were rendered unnecessary by the peace.
In the autumn the great Congress of Sovereigns assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle. We have already anticipated their chief object—the final evacuation of France by the Allied troops, and the settlement of compensations. They assembled about the middle of September, and remained together till the middle of November. Their business conferences, however, did not commence till the 30th of September. With regard to the evacuation of France, we need only state that it was greatly promoted by the exertions of the Duke of Wellington. Robert Owen was there to endeavour to enlist the Sovereigns in his schemes of social reform, but did not make any proselytes amongst the crowned heads, though the Czar Alexander told him he fully entered into his views, as he was generally accustomed to tell all reformers and religious professors, leaving them in the pleasing delusion that they had won him to their opinions. Clarkson was there to engage them to sanction the suppression of the slave trade, but with as indifferent a result. This was the closing scene of the great European drama, which opened with the French Revolution and terminated with the capture of Buonaparte. The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle may be regarded as the recital of the epilogue.
In England there had been a coalition of what was called the Portland section of the Whigs, with Pitt's Ministry. These Whigs had not only separated from Fox and his friends, but they had, from the first outbreak of the French Revolution, followed the lead of Burke and supported all Pitt's measures. The Duke of Portland, therefore, was, in July, made Third Secretary of State; Lord Fitzwilliam, President of the Council, and, in December, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; Earl Spencer was made, at the same time, Lord Privy Seal, and, in December, First Lord of the Admiralty; Pitt's elder brother, Lord Chatham, being removed for him, and made Privy Seal; and Windham became Secretary of War in place of Sir George Yonge.Miserably as Arnold had passed the winter in his camp, as spring approached he again planted his batteries above Quebec, but produced so little effect that Carleton lay still in expectation of his reinforcements on the breaking up of the river. On the 1st of April General Wooster arrived, and took the command, much to the disgust of Arnold, who was sent to command a detachment at Montreal. On the 1st of May, General Thomas, who was to be supreme in command, arrived, and found the forces amounting to about two thousand men. The river was now opening; and on the 6th of May three English ships had made their way up to Quebec, full of troops. Two companies of the 29th Regiment and one hundred marines were immediately landed amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants; and General Carleton gave instant orders to issue forth and attack the American lines. But General Thomas, conscious that, so far from being able to take Quebec, he should be himself taken, unless he decamped with all haste, was already on the move. General Carleton pursued him vigorously, and the retreat of the Americans became a regular rout. They threw themselves into boats at the Three Rivers, leaving behind them all their artillery and stores, as well as the sick, who were numerous, the smallpox having broken out amongst them. Thomas managed to reach Fort Chambly and St. John's on the Sorel; but there he died, having taken the smallpox.
Rt. Hon. Lodge Morris, made a peer.JEDBURGH ABBEY. (After the Painting by Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A.)The elections were now carried on with all the fire and zeal of the two parties. The Tories boasted of their successful efforts to stem the tide of expenditure for the war, to staunch the flow of blood, and restore all the blessings of peace. The Whigs, on the contrary, made the most of their opposition to the Treaty of Commerce, which they represented as designed to sacrifice our trade to the insane regard now shown to the French. To show their interest in trade, they wore locks of wool in their hats; and the Tories, to show their attachment to the Restoration and the Crown, wore green twigs of oak. Never was shown more completely the want of logical reason in the populace, for whilst they were declaring their zeal for the Protestant succession, and whilst burning in effigy on the 18th of November—Queen Bess's day—the Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender, they sent up a powerful majority of the men who were secretly growing more and more favourable to the Pretender's return. Never, indeed, had the chances of his restoration appeared so great. General Stanhope, on the close of the elections, told the Hanoverian minister that the majority was against them, and that if things continued ever so short a time on the present footing, the Elector would not come to the Crown unless he came with an army.详情
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