Affairs had now assumed such an aspect that the different sections of the Opposition saw the necessity of coalescing more, and attending zealously; but still they were divided as to the means to be pursued. A great meeting was held on the 27th of November at the Marquis of Rockingham's, to decide on a plan of action. It was concluded to move for a committee on the state of the nation, and Chatham being applied to, advised that the very next day notice should be given that such a motion should be made on Tuesday next, the 2nd of December. The motion was made, the committee granted, and in it the Duke of Richmond moved for the production of the returns of the army and navy in America and Ireland. Whilst Lord North—who, if he had been his own master, would have resigned—was refusing to produce the necessary papers, the Lords consented to this measure; and at this very moment came news of the surrender at Saratoga, which was speedily confirmed.But the event which, far more than the battle of Baylen, showed Buonaparte and the world the sort of war he had provoked, was the siege of Saragossa. This ancient city, the capital of Aragon, stands on the right bank of the Ebro, with a suburb on the left bank connected with it by a bridge. Another river, a small one, called the Cozo, flowed into the Ebro, close under the city walls. The immediate neighbourhood of Saragossa is flat, and, on one side of the river, marshy; its walls were of brick, about ten feet high, old and ruinous, but in places they were only of mud. It might seem that no strong defence of such a place could be made against an army of thirteen thousand men—veterans who had served in Germany and Poland, and who were furnished with battering trains and every means of assault. But the streets of the city were narrow and crooked, the houses strong and lofty, the rooms being almost all vaulted, and therefore almost impervious to shell. The inhabitants were sixty thousand. Saragossa raised the flag of resistance the moment that Murat issued his proclamation on the 20th of May, informing the Spanish people of the abdication of Charles and Ferdinand, and calling on the Spaniards to submit to the new government. On the 16th of June General Lefebvre commenced the attack by driving in the outposts of Palafox, the Spanish General, and establishing strong guards before the gates, but the Spaniards fought him street by street. As fast as they knocked down the walls and scattered the sandbags, they were repaired again by the Spaniards. At this stage of the siege, Augustina, "the Maid of Saragossa," a handsome woman of the lower class, of about twenty-two years of age, arrived on one of the batteries with refreshments, and found every man who had defended it lying slain. The fire was so tremendous that the citizens hesitated to re-man the guns. Augustina sprang forward over the bodies of the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hand of a dead artilleryman, and fired off a six-and-twenty-pounder. She then jumped upon the gun, and vowed never to quit it alive during the siege. Such an example added new courage to the defenders; and the siege proceeded with incessant fury. At this juncture Buonaparte withdrew a part of the troops, ordering Lefebvre to join Bessières with them, and Verdier was left to continue the siege with about ten thousand men. The Saragossans, encouraged by this, and assisted by some regular troops, not only defended the town more vigorously than ever, but sent out detachments to cut off Verdier's supplies. After several determined assaults he raised the siege on the 13th of August.
In the House of Commons, on the 21st of July, Mr. Bernal Osborne raised a discussion on the affairs of Hungary, and was followed by Mr. Roebuck, Colonel Thompson, and Lord Claud Hamilton: the latter denounced the conduct of Kossuth as "infamous." This debate is memorable chiefly on account of Lord Palmerston's great speech on the causes of the revolutions of 1848. In reply to the eulogiums upon the Austrian Government, the noble lord stated that Austria, in the opinion of a great part of the Continent, had been identified with obstruction to progress, resistance to improvement, political and social; and it was in that capacity she won the affections of the Tories. He regarded the conduct of such men as an example of "antiquated imbecility." He firmly believed that in the war between Austria and Hungary there were enlisted on the side of Hungary the hearts and souls of the whole people of that country. He took the question then being fought for on the plains of Hungary to be this, whether that country should maintain its separate nationality as a distinct kingdom with a constitution of its own, or be incorporated in the empire as an Austrian province. If Hungary succeeded, Austria would cease to be a first-rate European power. If Hungary were entirely crushed, Austria in that battle would have crushed her own right arm. Every field that was laid waste was an Austrian resource destroyed. Every Hungarian that perished upon the field was an Austrian soldier deducted from the defensive forces of the empire. "It is quite true," continued the noble lord, "that it may be said, 'Your opinions are but opinions; and you express them against our opinions, who have at our command large armies to back them—what are opinions against armies?' Sir, my answer is, opinions are stronger than armies. I say, then, that it is our duty not to remain passive spectators of events that in their immediate consequences affect other countries, but in their remote and certain consequences are sure to come back with disastrous effect upon ourselves; that so far as the courtesies of international intercourse will permit us to do so, it is our duty—especially when our opinion is asked, as it has been on many occasions on which we have been blamed for giving it—to state our opinions, founded on the experience of this country—an experience that might be, and ought to have been, an example to less fortunate countries. We are not entitled to interpose in any manner that will commit this country to embark in those hostilities. All we can justly do is to take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves, in which the counsels of friendship and peace may be offered to the contending parties.... Sir, to suppose that any Government of England can wish to excite revolutionary movements in any part of the world—to suppose that England can have any other wish or desire than to confirm and maintain peace between nations, and tranquillity and harmony between Governments and subjects—shows really a degree of ignorance and folly which I never supposed any public man could have been guilty of—which may do very well for a newspaper article, but which it astonishes me to find is made the subject of a speech in Parliament." The noble lord sat down amidst much cheering. Lord Dudley Stuart said that he looked upon the speech which had been delivered by Mr. Osborne, followed up as it had been by Mr. Roebuck and Lord Palmerston, as one of the most important events of the Session.
Scarcely was the Prince married, when he began to complain of his limited income. His father, as Prince of Wales, had been allowed one hundred thousand pounds from the Civil List, which then was only seven hundred thousand pounds, but he now received only fifty thousand pounds from a Civil List of eight hundred thousand pounds. Bolingbroke, two years before, on leaving England, told the prince, as his parting advice, to apply to Parliament, without any regard to the king, for a permanent income of one hundred thousand pounds a year. Under these circumstances, Walpole persuaded the king to send a message to the prince, offering to settle a large jointure on the princess, and to make the prince's own income independent of his father. Here the prince ought to have yielded; if he had been either politic or well-disposed, he would have done so. The king was at this time very ill, and his physicians declared that if he did not alter soon, he could not live a twelvemonth. This circumstance of itself would have touched any young man of the least natural feeling, to say nothing of policy; for, if the king died, there was an end of the question—the prince would be king himself. But he was now in such a temper that he would not listen to the royal proposal; and the next day, the 22nd of February, 1737, Pulteney made his motion in the House of Commons for an address beseeching the king to settle upon the prince a hundred thousand pounds a year, and promising that the House would enable him effectually to do so. What was still stranger, it was seconded by Sir John Barnard. The Commons were not willing to run counter to a prince apparently on the point of ascending the throne, and Walpole would have found himself in a minority had Wyndham, as he hoped, brought the Tories to vote for the prince. But forty-five Jacobites, who could not bring themselves to vote for an heir of the House of Hanover, though they would by that have done a serious mischief to the Hanoverian usurper, as they styled him, rose in a body and quitted the House. On the division, the Ministerial party amounted to two hundred and thirty-four, the Opposition to only two hundred and four—being a majority for Ministers of exactly thirty. The next day the same motion was made in the Lords by Carteret, but was rejected by a large majority—one hundred and three to forty.Why did his master break?
[See larger version]From the Painting by Robert Hillingford
"I recommend you to take into your early consideration whether the principles on which you have acted may not with advantage be yet more extensively applied; and whether it may not be in your power, after a careful review of the existing duties upon many articles, the produce or manufacture of other countries, to make such further reductions and remissions as may tend to ensure the continuance of the great benefits to which I have adverted, and, by enlarging our commercial intercourse, to strengthen the bonds of amity with foreign Powers."CULLODEN HOUSE. (From a Photograph by G. W. Wilson and Co., Aberdeen.)
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.Scilly Islands as one parish) 89
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