During these disgraceful days the Church-and-King party took no measures to prevent the destruction of the property of Dissenters. Noblemen, gentlemen, and magistrates rode in from the country on pretence of doing their duty, but they did little but sit and drink their wine, and enjoy the mischief. They could have called out the militia at once, and the mob would have been scattered like leaves before the wind; but they preferred to report the outbreak to the Secretary-at-War, and, after the time thus lost, three troops of the 15th Light Dragoons, lying at Nottingham, were ordered to march thither. But the arrival of the Light Dragoons showed what might have been done at first if the magistrates had been so minded. The mob did not stay even to look at the soldiers; at their very name they vanished, and Birmingham, on Monday morning, was as quiet as a tomb. Government itself took a most indifferent leisure in the matter. It did not issue a proclamation from the Secretary of State's office till the 29th, when it offered one hundred pounds for the discovery and apprehension of one of the chief ringleaders.Yet the whole demand for sailors was carried, and the demand of inquiry as absolutely rejected. Parliament went on and voted three million two hundred and five thousand five hundred and five pounds for the expenses of the navy; four thousand pounds for Greenwich Hospital; five hundred thousand pounds for the discharge of the debts of the navy. For the army, including some new contracts with the German princes for men to serve in America, three million pounds. What was still more disgraceful was that, amid all these charges on the public purse, the king came again with a fresh demand for six hundred thousand pounds for debts on the Civil List. It was pretended that extraordinary calls had been made on the royal purse by the suffering Royalists in America; but it was notorious that the Royal household continued in the same condition of reckless waste and extravagance as it was when the former half million was voted for the same purpose. Yet the Commons granted this sum; and, by way of preventing the king from falling into fresh difficulties, added one hundred thousand pounds a year to the Civil List. The matter, however, did not pass without a plain reminder to his Majesty. The rough-spoken Sir Fletcher Norton, the Speaker of the Commons, when presenting this Bill for the increase of the Civil List to the king, said:—"Sir,—In a time of public distress, full of difficulty and danger, under burdens almost too heavy to be borne, your faithful Commons postponed all other business, and granted your Majesty not only a large present supply, but a very great additional revenue—great beyond example—great beyond your Majesty's highest wants!" Having passed these votes, Parliament was prorogued on the 13th of December till the 21st of the following January.On the fifth night of the debate Sir Robert Peel rose to speak in defence of his policy against these attacks of his enemies. It was already ten o'clock, and the House listened to him for three hours. He spoke with remarkable warmth and energy, and overpowered his opponents with the unanswerable truths of political economy, and with humorous demonstrations of the fallacies in which the Protectionist speakers had indulged. In concluding he said, "This night is to decide between the policy of continued relaxation of restriction, or the return to restraint and prohibition. This night you will select the motto which is to indicate the commercial policy of England. Shall it be 'Advance!' or 'Recede'?" The division took place on the 27th (or rather on the 28th) of February, at twenty minutes to three in the morning, when the numbers for the motion were—337; against it, 240; leaving a majority for going into committee of 97.
ANNE MAKING THE DUKE OF SHREWSBURY LORD TREASURER. (See p. 22)
But the most discouraging feature of this war was the incurable pride of the Spaniards, which no reverses, and no example of the successes of their allies could abate sufficiently to show them that, unless they would condescend to be taught discipline, as the Portuguese had done, they must still suffer ignominy and annihilation. Blake, who had been so thoroughly routed on every occasion, was not content, like the British and Portuguese, to go into quarters, and prepare, by good drilling, for a more auspicious campaign. On the contrary, he led his rabble of an army away to the eastern borders of Spain, encountered Suchet in the open field on the 25th of October, was desperately beaten, and then took refuge in Valencia, where he was closely invested, and compelled to surrender in the early part of January next year, with eighteen thousand men, twenty-three officers, and nearly four hundred guns. Such, for the time, was the end of the generalship of this wrong-headed man. Suchet had, before his encounter with Blake, been making a most successful campaign in the difficult country of Catalonia, which had foiled so many French generals. He had captured one fortress after another, and in June he had taken Tarragona, after a siege of three months, and gave it up to the lust and plunder of his soldiery.On the evening of the 16th of July Casta?os appeared on the Argonilla, directly opposite to Andujar; the river was fordable in many places from the drought, and the different divisions of the Spaniards crossed in the night. Vedel, seeing the critical situation of the French army, made a rapid movement to regain and keep open the mountainous defile by which he had arrived, but Dupont remained at Andujar till the night of the 18th. Vedel remaining at the pass for Dupont, the latter found himself intercepted at Baylen by the Swiss General, Reding, and whilst engaging him his own Swiss troops went over to Reding. He sent expresses to Vedel to return to his aid, but before this could be accomplished he was defeated, and compelled to surrender. He was enormously encumbered by baggage; for the French, as usual, utterly regardless of the necessity of keeping on good terms with a people over whom they wished to rule, had been pillaging churches and houses of all plate and valuables that they could find. In endeavouring to defend the baggage, Dupont had weakened his front, and occasioned his repulse. Casta?os had not perceived the march of the French; but, by the time his van came up with Reding, he found the French army prisoners. The terms proposed by the French were that they should be allowed to retire upon Madrid with all their arms and baggage. But Casta?os was too well acquainted with the necessities of the French through the intercepted letter to Savary. He insisted that they should pile their arms, give up the greater part of their spoil, and be sent down to San Lucar and Rota, where they should be embarked for France. Whilst Dupont was hesitating on these conditions, he received a note from Vedel, proposing that they should make a simultaneous attack on the Spaniards, and thus have a fresh chance of turning the scale in their own favour. But Dupont saw that this was hopeless; and, moreover, it is said that Casta?os insisted that if Vedel himself did not immediately lay down his arms, he would shoot Dupont. Vedel, who now saw little hope of cutting his way through the mountains, was compelled to obey. The French piled their arms on the 22nd of July, the prisoners amounting to between eighteen and nineteen thousand. They gave up also thirty pieces of cannon.The conduct of the Government in reference to the Congress was the subject of an animated debate in the House of Commons, which began on April 28th and lasted three days. It was on a motion for a Vote of Censure for the feebleness of tone assumed by the Government in the negotiations with the Allies, an amendment having been proposed expressive of gratitude and approbation. In Mr. Canning's speech on the third day there was one remarkable passage, which clearly defined his foreign policy, and showed that it had a distinct purpose, and aimed at an object of the highest importance. He said:—"I contend, sir, that whatever might grow out of a separate conflict between Spain and France (though matter for grave consideration) was less to be dreaded than that all the Great Powers of the Continent should have been arrayed together against Spain; and that although the first object, in point of importance, indeed, was to keep the peace altogether, to prevent any war against Spain, the first in point of time was to prevent a general war; to change the question from one affecting the Allies on the one side and Spain on the other, to a question between nation and nation. This, whatever the result might be, would reduce the quarrel to the size of ordinary events, and bring it within the scope of ordinary diplomacy. The immediate object of England, therefore, was to hinder the impress of a joint-character from being affixed to the war, if war there must be, with Spain; to take care that the war should not grow out of an assumed jurisdiction of the Congress; to keep within reasonable bounds that predominating areopagitical spirit which the memorandum of the British Cabinet of May, 1820, describes as beyond the sphere of the original conception and understood principles of the alliance—an alliance never intended as a union for the government of the world, or for the superintendence of the internal affairs of other states; and this, I say, was accomplished."
But Napoleon would not listen to the transfer of Norway; that was the territory of his firm ally, Denmark: Finland he might have, but not Norway. In October of the same year an English agent landed at Gothenburg, eluded the French spies, traversed, by night, woods, bogs, and hills, and, in a small village of the interior of Sweden, met a Swedish agent, where the terms of a treaty were settled, in which Russia and Turkey, Britain and Sweden, were the contracting powers; by which Sweden was to receive Norway, and renounce for ever Finland; and Alexander and Bernadotte were to unite all their talents, powers, and experience against France. In the following January the sudden invasion of Swedish Pomerania by the French showed that the crisis was come, and that henceforth Napoleon and Bernadotte were irreconcilable opponents. From that time offers of alliance and aid poured in from all quarters. Prussia sent secret messages, and concerted common measures with Russia. The insurgents of Spain and Portugal, where Wellington was in active operation—even the old Bourbon dynasty—paid court to him. Moreau returned from America to fight under his banners, and emigrants flocked from all quarters to combine their efforts against the universal foe—Napoleon.
On the 3rd of December Buonaparte announced to his officers his intention to leave them and make the best of his way to Paris. He pleaded the state of affairs there, and especially the conspiracy of Mallet; but he was now approaching the frontiers of Prussia, and as he knew that he had declared that, if he returned successful, he would deprive Frederick William altogether of his crown, he was as apprehensive of that monarch as of the Russians themselves.The year 1812 opened, in England, by the assembling of Parliament on the 7th of January. The speech of the Regent was again delivered by commission. The great topic was the success of the war in Spain under Lord Wellington, whose military talents were highly praised. There was a reference also to the disagreements with America, and the difficulty of coming to any amicable arrangement with the United States. Lords Grey and Grenville, in the Peers, pronounced sweeping censures on the continuance of the war with France, and on the policy of Ministers towards America, from which source they prognosticated many disasters. In the Commons, the Opposition used similar language; and Sir Francis Burdett took a very gloomy view of our relations both with France and North America, and declared that we could anticipate no better policy until we had reformed our representative system.
It was not till between eleven and twelve o'clock on the morning of Sunday, the 18th of June, that this terrible conflict commenced; for the troops of Napoleon had not yet all reached the ground, having suffered from the tempests of wind and rain equally with the Allies. The rain had now ceased, but the morning was gloomy and lowering. The action opened by a brisk cannonade on the house and wood of Hougomont, which were held by the troops of Nassau. These were driven out; but their place was immediately taken by the British Guards under General Byng and Colonels Home and Macdonald. A tremendous cannonade was kept up on Hougomont by Jerome's batteries from the slopes above; and under cover of this fire the French advanced through the wood in front of Hougomont, but were met by a terrible fire from the British, who had the orchard wall as a breastwork from which to assail the enemy. The contest here was continued through the day with dreadful fury, but the British held their ground with bull-dog tenacity. The buildings of the farmyard and an old chapel were set fire to by the French shells; but the British maintained their post amid the flames, and filled the wood in front and a lane running under the orchard wall with mountains of dead.There was still a fair chance for the Austrians—Britain had furnished them with money—and two fresh armies were descending from the hills. One of these, amounting to thirty thousand, was led by a brave officer, General Alvinzi; the other of twenty thousand, under Davidowich, was marching from the Tyrol to meet Alvinzi near Verona, who was coming from Carinthia by Belluno. Buonaparte did not allow them to meet. He attacked Alvinzi on the 6th of November, and met with a terrible repulse. A detachment of French under Vaubois had been dispatched to impede the march of Davidowich, but was also in retreat. Buonaparte again attacked Alvinzi near Verona, and again was repulsed. Had the Austrians united their two new armies before entering Italy, or had Wurmser marched from Mantua to support Alvinzi, the French must have been utterly annihilated. As it was, Napoleon was dreadfully disheartened, and wrote a despairing letter to the Directory, saying his best officers were killed, and his men exhausted from fighting and severe marches. But his pride and dogged pertinacity came to his aid. He made a rapid march and got into the rear of Alvinzi, but found himself stopped by a narrow bridge over the Alpone at Arcole. The country on each side was a marsh, and the only approach to the bridge was by long narrow causeways. As the French advanced along the causeway on their side to storm the bridge, they were swept down by hundreds by the Austrian cannon. Time after time, Buonaparte drove his columns along the causeway, but only to see them mown down by grape shot. His men fled into the very marshes to save themselves, and he himself was thrown from his horse into the marsh, and had to be dragged from the mire. Bodies of Hungarians and Croats made a final sally along the causeway, cutting down all before them, and it was marvellous that he escaped them. By this time Alvinzi had brought up his main body to the neighbourhood of the bridge, and the battle raged obstinately there for three days. Seeing it impossible to carry the bridge against that solid mass of troops, Buonaparte dispatched General Guyeuse to cross the Adige at the ferry of Albaredo, below the confluence of the Alpone, and take Alvinzi in flank. Guyeuse succeeded in crossing, but was repulsed on the other side by the Austrians. Buonaparte again, on the 16th, made one more desperate rush at the bridge, but only to receive another bloody defeat. The next day he threw a bridge over the Alpone, just above its confluence with the Adige, and sent over Augereau with a powerful force, whilst he again assailed the bridge from his side. These combined operations succeeded. Alvinzi was compelled to retreat to Vicenza and Bassano. Scarcely had he given way, when Davidowich, who ought to have joined him long before, came down the right bank of the stream. He now came only to experience a severe defeat, whereas his timely arrival might have insured a complete victory. He again had recourse to the security of the hills. The belligerents then went into winter quarters, leaving the French victorious.
When day dawned, Cornwallis saw that the ground he occupied was so favourable that it rendered his inferiority of numbers of little consequence. He therefore drew out his forces for immediate action. Swamps to the right and left narrowed the ground by which the Americans could approach him, and forming his troops into two lines, commanded by Lord Rawdon and General Webster, he attacked the Americans under Gates and quickly put them to the rout. The Virginian militia ran most nimbly, and sought refuge in the woods. Gates himself galloped away believing all was lost, and never halted till he reached Charlotte, about eighty miles off. The only men who fought well were two brigades of regulars under the command of the German, Von Kalb, who kept his ground against the troops of Lord Rawdon for three-quarters of an hour, sustaining repeated charges of the bayonet unmoved; but Von Kalb fell mortally wounded, and the last of the Americans then gave way and fled for their lives in all directions.As the French approached Madrid, whither Buonaparte was coming in person, the Junta, which had taken no measures to render it defensible while they had time, were now all hurry and confusion. They began to collect provisions; the stones were torn up to form barricades. A desperate resistance might have been made, as there had been at Saragossa, but there was treachery in the city. The wealthy inhabitants, merchants and shopkeepers, as well as the aristocracy, were far more anxious to save their property than their country; the cowardly Junta having issued orders, lost heart, and fled for Badajos. On the 2nd of December, the anniversary of his coronation, Buonaparte arrived before Madrid, and summoned it to surrender; and this being unheeded, he prepared to storm it the next morning. Had Palafox been there, there would have been, probably, a brave defence. The next morning the storming commenced, and the French forced their way as far as the palace of the Duke de Medina Celi, the key of the whole city. The place was then summoned afresh, and the governor now proposed a surrender. The fact was, that he had already settled in his mind to go over to the French, as the strongest party, and he gave no encouragement or assistance to the citizens, who still continued from behind their walls and barricades to fire on the French. On the 4th he declared that the city must surrender; and the French marched in. Many of the people fled and the rest were disarmed; but Buonaparte, who wanted to keep Madrid uninjured and in good temper for King Joseph, gave strict orders that the city should not be plundered, nor the people treated with rudeness. He fixed his residence about four miles from Madrid, and issued thence imperial decrees and a proclamation, informing the Spaniards that all further resistance was useless; that he wanted his brother to reign in quiet, but that if this were not permitted, he would come and reign there himself, and compel submission; for God had given him the power and inclination to surmount all obstacles. He then set out to drive the "English leopards" from the Peninsula—a task that was to try him to the uttermost.
Clinton, having now united his forces at New York, directed his attention to the approach of the fleet of D'Estaing. This had sailed for the Delaware, expecting to find Lord Howe there; but, finding that he had sailed for New York, it followed him, and arrived there six days after him. The fleet of D'Estaing consisted of twelve sail-of-the-line and six frigates. Howe had only ten sail-of-the-line, and some of them of only forty or fifty guns, and a few frigates. Besides, D'Estaing had heavier metal, and ships in much better condition, for those of Howe were old and out of repair, and their crews were considerably deficient. Altogether, D'Estaing had eight hundred and fifty-four guns; Howe, only six hundred and fourteen. From D'Estaing's superiority of force it was quite expected that he would attack Howe; but he was dissuaded by the pilots from entering the harbour, and lay outside eleven days, during which time he landed the Ambassador. Lord Howe showed much spirit in preparing for an encounter, though he was daily in expectation of Admiral Byron with some additional ships, the Admiral coming to supersede him. He put his ships in the best order he could, and the English seamen hurried in from all quarters to man his vessels. A thousand volunteers came from the transports, and masters and mates of merchantmen offered their services. Just, however, when it was expected that D'Estaing would avail himself of the tide, on the 22nd of July, to enter the harbour, he sailed away for Rhode Island, and up the Newport river. In a few days Howe sailed in quest of D'Estaing. They found D'Estaing joined by Lafayette with two thousand American troops, and by General Sullivan with ten thousand more, and D'Estaing proposed to land four thousand from his fleet. The English garrison in Newport amounted to only five thousand men. But here a contest arose between D'Estaing and Sullivan for the supreme command, and this was not abated till Howe with his fleet hove in sight. Then D'Estaing stood out to sea, in spite of the remonstrances of Sullivan, Greene, and the other American officers. Lord Howe endeavoured to bring him to action, at the same time man?uvring to obtain the weather-gauge of him. In these mutual endeavours to obtain the advantage of the wind, the two fleets stood away quite out of sight of Rhode Island, and Sullivan commenced in their absence the siege of Newport. Howe, at length, seeing that he could not obtain the weather-gauge, determined to attack the French to leeward, but at this moment a terrible storm arose, and completely parted the hostile fleets, doing both of them great damage. D'Estaing returned into the harbour of Newport, but only to inform the Americans that he was too much damaged to remain, but must make for Boston to refit. Sullivan and the other officers remonstrated vehemently against his departure; but in vain. Scarcely had D'Estaing disappeared, when Sir Henry Clinton himself, leading four thousand men, arrived in Rhode Island, and Sullivan crossed to the mainland in haste. He blamed the French for the failure of the enterprise.Still there was no need to despair. The archduke had yet a great force; there were the divisions of the Archdukes John, Ferdinand, and Regnier, and the Tyrolese were all in active operation in their mountains. But the Emperor, on learning the fate of the battle, lost heart, made offers of peace, which were accepted, and an armistice was signed by Francis at Znaim, in Moravia. The armistice took place on the 11th of July, but the treaty of peace was not signed till the 14th of October, at the palace of Sch?nbrunn. The long delay in completing this treaty was occasioned by the exactions which Buonaparte made on Austria of cessions of territory, and the means he took to terrify Francis into submission to his terms. He even addressed a proclamation to the Hungarians, exhorting them to separate from Austria and form an independent kingdom, telling them that they formed the finest part of the Austrian empire, and yet had received nothing from Austria but oppression and misfortunes. By such means, and by constantly exerting himself to sow the germs of discontent through all the Austrian provinces, he at last succeeded in concluding peace on condition of the cession of various territories to his partisans of the Confederacy of the Rhine, and of Trieste, the only Austrian port, to France, thus shutting up Austria, as he hoped, from communication with England. In all, Austria sacrificed forty-five thousand square miles and nearly four millions of subjects to this shameful peace. Neither were his allies, the King of Saxony and the Emperor of Russia, forgotten; each obtained a slice of Austria.Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Mr. Arthur O'Connor, nephew of Lord Longueville, went over to Paris to arrange the invasion. In London, Fitzgerald, his French wife, who accompanied him, and O'Connor, were entertained by members of the Opposition, and dined at the house of a peer in company with Fox, Sheridan, and several other leading Whigs; and Thomas Moore, in his Life of Fitzgerald, more than hints that he made no secret to these patriots of the object of his journey, for he was of a very free-talking and open Irish temperament. The friends of Fox have been inclined to doubt this discreditable fact, but no one was more likely than Moore to be well informed about it; and when Fitzgerald and O'Connor were on their trial, not only Fox, but Sheridan, Lord John Russell, the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, Lords Thanet and Oxford came forward, and gave them both the highest character as excellent, honourable men. These emissaries reached Basle, by way of Hamburg, in the spring of 1797, and there, through Barthélemy, negotiated with the Directory. The Directory objected to receive Lord Edward Fitzgerald at Paris, on account of his connection with the Orléans family through his wife, lest the people should imagine that it was with some design on the Orléans estate; he therefore returned again to Hamburg, and O'Connor proceeded to Paris and arranged for the expedition under General Hoche, whose disastrous voyage we have already related. Fitzgerald and O'Connor did not reach Ireland again without the British Government being made fully aware of their journey and its object, from a lady fellow-traveller with Fitzgerald to Hamburg, to whom, with a weak and, as it concerned the fate of thousands, unpardonable garrulity, he had disclosed the whole. Almost simultaneously the arrest of the revolutionary committee of the North disclosed a systematic and well-organised conspiracy. In March, 1797, General Lake proceeded to disarm the revolutionaries in Ulster, and accomplished his task with ruthless severity.详情
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