THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA.
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Napoleon, reinforced by a number of French, Bavarian, Würtemberg, and Saxon troops, moved off to attack the Allies at Bautzen, on the 19th of May. He had detached Lauriston and Ney towards Berlin to rout Bülow, but they were stopped by Barclay de Tolly and Yorck at K?nigswartha and at Weissig, and compelled to retreat. On the 21st Ney combined with Napoleon, and they made a united attack on Blucher's position on the fortified heights of Klein and Klein-Bautzen. In this battle German fought against German, the Bavarians against Bavarians, for they took both sides, such was the dislocated state of the nation. It was not till after a long and desperately-fought battle that the Allies were compelled to give ground, and then they retired, without the loss of a single gun, and posted themselves strongly behind the fortress of Schweidnitz, so famous in the campaigns of Frederick of Prussia.
At the head of the poets of this period stands Alexander Pope, who became the founder of a school which has had followers down to our own time. Pope was the poet of society, of art, and polish. His life was spent in London and in the country, chiefly between Binfield, in Windsor Forest, and Twickenham; and his poetry partakes very much of the qualities of that scenery—rich, cultivated, and beautiful, but having no claims to the wild or the sublime. He is opposed to poets like Milton and Shakespeare as pastures and town gardens are opposed to seas, forests, and mountains. In style he is polished to the highest degree, piquant, and musical; but, instead of being profound and creative, he is sensible, satiric, and didactic. He failed in "the vision and the faculty divine," but he possessed fancy, a moderate amount of passion, and a clear and penetrating intellect. He loved nature, but it was such only as he knew—the home-scenes of Berkshire and the southern counties, the trained and polished beauties in his gardens, the winding walks and grottoes at Twickenham. Mountains he had never seen, and there are none in his poetry. He was born in the year of the Revolution, and died in 1744, aged fifty-six; and, considering that he suffered from a feeble constitution and defective health, he was a remarkably industrious man. His pastorals appeared in Tonson's "Miscellany" when he was only twenty-one years old. Before this he had translated the first book of the "Thebais," and Ovid's "Epistle from Sappho to Phaon;" paraphrased Chaucer's "January and May," and the prologue to "The Wife of Bath's Tale." In two years after his "Pastorals" appeared his "Essay on Criticism" (1711). "The Messiah" and "The Rape of the Lock" were published in 1712—the year in which the "Spectator" died. "The Rape of the Lock" celebrated the mighty event of the clipping of a lock of hair from the head of Miss Belle Fermor by Lord Petre. This act, adorned with a great machinery of sylphs and gnomes, a specimen of elegant trifling, enchanted the age, which would have less appreciated grander things, and placed Pope on the pinnacle of fame. In 1713 he published "Windsor Forest," a subject for a pleasant but not a great poem, yet characteristic of Pope's genius, which delighted in the level and ornate rather than the splendid and the wild. In 1715 appeared the first four books of his translation of Homer's "Iliad," which was not completed till 1720. This still continues the most popular translation of the great heroic poet of Greece; for although it is rather a paraphrase of this colossal yet simple poem, and therefore not estimated highly by Greek scholars who can go to the original, it has that beauty and harmony of style which render it to the English reader an ever-fascinating work. In 1717 appeared his "Epistle from Eloisa to Abelard," a poem displaying more passion than any other of Pope's writings, but too sensuous, and the subject itself far from well chosen. Next succeeded his "Odyssey" of Homer, in conjunction with Fenton and Broome, and in 1728 the first three books of "The Dunciad," in which he took a sweeping vengeance on the critics and poetasters of the time, who had assailed him fiercely on all sides, with John Dennis at their head. The vigour with which Pope wielded the satiric lash excited the wonder of the public, which had seen no such trenchant production hitherto in the language, and filled the whole host of flayed and scalded dunces with howls of wrath and agony. Pope was not sparing of foul language in his branding of others, and they were still more obscene and scurrilous in their retorts. It is questionable whether they or Pope felt the most torture; for, so far from silencing them, they continued to kick, sting, and pelt him with dirt so long as he lived. So late as 1742 he published a fourth book of the satire, to give yet one more murderous blow to the blackguard crew. Besides this satire, he modernised an edition of Donne's Satires, and produced his "Essay on Man," his "Epistle on Taste," his "Moral Essays," and other poems, down to 1740. His "Essay on Man," "Moral Essays," etc., display shrewd sense, and a keen perception of the characteristics of human nature and of the world; yet they do not let us into any before unknown depths of life or morals, but, on the contrary, are, in many particulars, unsound. In fact, these productions belong by no means to poetry, of which they exhibit no quality, and might just as well have been given in prose. On the whole, Pope is a poet whose character is that of cleverness, strong intellect, carefully-elaborative art, much malice, and little warmth or breadth of genuine imagination. He reflects the times in which he lived, which were corrupt, critical, but not original, and he had no conception of the heavens of poetry and soul into which Milton and Shakespeare soared before him, and Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Tennyson in our time have wandered at large.
In Wales, such was the neglect of religion by the Establishment, that, previous to 1804, there was scarcely a clergyman of the Church of England in the principality who was a native, or could preach in Welsh. The capability of a minister to make himself understood by his parishioners had been totally disregarded by those who had the presentation to livings; the exercise of patronage had alone been cared for; the souls of people went for nothing. About that time the Rev. Mr. Charles was engaged as curate in a Welsh parish. He found not a single Bible in the parish, and on extending his inquiries he scarcely found a Bible in Wales. He made this fact known to the public, in an appeal for Welsh Bibles, and for this appeal and the attendant exposure of the clerical neglect he was dismissed from his cure, and could find no bishop who would license him to preach in any other parish. But his truly Christian act had excited the attention of the religious public, and had the effect of establishing the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804.On the 3rd of December Parliament was dissolved, and the first elections under the Reform Bill promptly followed. Though they were anticipated not without alarm, everything went off peacefully, and it was discovered that the new House of Commons was composed of much the same materials as the old. The two most singular choices were those of Oldham which retained Cobbett, and of Pontefract which selected the ex-prizefighter Gully. But the state of parties was considerably changed. The old Tory party was practically extinct; the Moderates began to call themselves Conservatives; and Whig and Radical, bitterly as they disagreed on many points, proceeded to range themselves under the Liberal banner. The Radicals promptly proved their independence by proposing Mr. Littleton for the Speakership against the old Speaker, Mr. Manners Sutton, but the Whigs voted against them, and they were in a minority of 31 against 241. It was clear from the Royal Speech that the Session was to be devoted to Irish affairs, and the Cabinet was much divided over the measures in contemplation. These were a Coercion Bill, much favoured by Mr. Stanley, and a Church Temporalities Bill, the pet project of Lord Althorp. After many evenings had been wasted in bitter denunciations of the Irish Secretary by O'Connell and his following, Lord Althorp, on the 12th of February, 1833, introduced the Church Temporalities Bill, and three days afterwards Earl Grey introduced the Coercion Bill in the House of Lords. It had an easy course through that House, and was then brought forward by Althorp in the Commons. Speaking against his convictions, he made a singularly tame and ineffective defence of the measure. Then Stanley took the papers which he had given to his leader, mastered their details in a couple of hours, and in a magnificent speech completely turned the current of debate, and utterly silenced O'Connell. Before the end of March the Bill had passed through all its stages in the House of Commons.But, undiscouraged, Lord Wellington ordered General Hill, who had already crossed the Tagus, to hasten onward, and he then carefully fell back, and took his position on the grim and naked ridges of Busaco, a sierra extending from Mondego to the northward. Behind this range of hills lay Coimbra, and three roads led through the defiles to that city. These, and several lesser ravines used by the shepherds and muleteers, he thoroughly fortified; and, posting himself on these difficult heights, he calmly awaited the advance of Massena. The ascents by which the French must reach them were precipitous and exposed; and on the summit, in the centre of the range, Wellington took up his headquarters at a Carmelite convent, whence he could survey the whole scene, having upwards of thirty thousand men disposed along these frowning eminences.
This majority of the Coalition compelled Lord Shelburne to resign; but the rest of the Administration remained in their places, in the hope that Pitt would now take the Premiership. In fact, the king, on the 24th of February, sent for Pitt and proposed this to him; but Pitt was too sensible of the impossibility of maintaining himself against the present combination of parties. The next day Dundas moved and carried an adjournment for three days, to give time for the arrangement of a new Cabinet. Pitt continued to persist in declining to take the Premiership, and on the 2nd or 3rd of March the king sent for Lord North. His proposal was that North should resume the management of affairs; but North insisted on bringing in his new friends, and to that the king objected. Matters remained in this impracticable condition till the 12th, when the king sent for North, and proposed that the Duke of Portland should be asked to form an Administration; but this did not at all advance matters, for Portland was equally determined with North to maintain the Coalition, and the king was resolved to have nothing to do with Fox, whilst Fox was equally determined not to admit the king's friend, Lord Stormont, to any Cabinet of which he was a member. On the 31st the announcement was made that Pitt had resigned, and that the king was prepared to submit to the terms of the Coalition. George, with deep and inward groans, submitted himself once more to the slavery of the great Whig houses, and, as some small recompense, the Coalition admitted Lord Stormont to a place in the Cabinet.About four months passed happily away, when another event occurred which was very near furnishing a startling illustration of the truth that there is no certain tenure of human happiness. On the night of Wednesday, the 10th of June, London was agitated by a report of an attempt upon the life of the Queen. Next day an investigation took place at the Home Office, from which the public and the reporters of the daily press were excluded. The following are the facts:—At a quarter past six on Wednesday evening, the Queen, accompanied by Prince Albert, left Buckingham Palace, in a very low, open phaeton, to take her customary drive in Hyde Park before dinner. The carriage had proceeded a short distance up the road when a young man, who had been standing with his back to the Green Park fence, advanced to within a few yards of the carriage, and deliberately fired at the Queen. The postilions paused for an instant. The Prince ordered them, in a loud voice, to drive on. "I have got another!" exclaimed the assassin, who discharged a second pistol, aimed at the carriage, which also proved harmless. The Queen and the Prince went as far as Hyde Park Corner, and then turned to the Duchess of Kent's mansion, in Belgrave Square. Meanwhile, the assassin remained near the spot, leaning against the park fence, with the weapons in his hand. Several persons laid hold of him, and he was conveyed by two policemen to the Gardener's Lane station-house. After staying a short time with the Duchess of Kent, in Belgrave Square, the Queen and her husband proceeded to Hyde Park, where an immense concourse of persons, of all ranks and both sexes, had congregated. The reception of the royal pair was so enthusiastic as almost to overpower the self-possession of the Queen. They soon returned to Buckingham Palace, attended by a vast number of the nobility and gentry, in carriages and on horseback. A multitude of persons collected at the entrance to the palace, and vehemently cheered the Queen, who, though pale and agitated, repeatedly bowed and smiled in return.
Hail, adamantine steel! magnetic lord!It was not to be wondered at that when, on the 24th of January, the preliminaries of peace were laid on the tables of the two Houses, there should be a violent denunciation of the large concessions made by Ministers. Spain had been granted better terms than in any treaty since that of St. Quentin. She had obtained the most desirable island of Minorca, with the finest port on the Mediterranean. She had got the Floridas, and had given up scarcely anything, whilst, had the British, now freed from the dead weight of America, pursued the war against her, she must soon have lost most of her valuable insular colonies. France had given up more, but she recovered very important territories which she had lost, and especially her settlements of Pondicherry and Chandernagore, in the East Indies; but America had conceded nothing, and yet had been allowed to determine her own frontier, and to share the benefits of the fishing all round our own Transatlantic coasts.
Whilst this extirpation of the Pindarrees had been going on, the cholera broke out at Jessore, in the low lands of the Delta of the Ganges. This fatal disease has been supposed by medical men to receive its force, if not its origin, from the want of salt in this unhealthy district. Salt being one of the monopolies of the East India Company, it was not permitted, though abundant in Madras, to be carried into Bengal except on payment of a duty of two hundred per cent. The natives, therefore, who subsisted on a rice diet, not being able to procure this necessary antiseptic, frequently fell victims to the terrible scourge of cholera. From this centre, where it may fairly be said to have raged in perpetuity, it now spread rapidly up the course of the Ganges, the Jumna, and their confluent rivers, and if the British impost on salt had anything to do with the prevalence of the epidemic, a severe retribution now fell upon those who profited by it. The Marquis of Hastings, the Governor-General, was posted in Bundelcund with his army, when it appeared there and swept away thousands. The very men attending on the Governor-General at dinner dropped down behind his chair and died. To seek a healthier region, he marched eastward, but all the way the pest pursued him, and when he reached the healthy station of Erich, on the right bank of the Betwah river, towards the end of November, one-tenth of the force had fallen under its ravages. The scourge did not stop there, but for a number of years continued to spread at an amazing speed, and eventually overspread Europe with its horrors.
The first business in the House of Commons was the re-election of Mr. Shaw Lefevre as Speaker. On the 24th of August the Address was moved by Mr. Mark Philips, and seconded by Mr. John Dundas. Mr. Wortley then moved an amendment similar to the one which had been carried in the House of Lords, in which he went over all the charges against the Government. His motion was seconded by Lord Bruce, and supported by Mr. Disraeli. The debate lasted several nights. Sir Robert Peel delivered a long and very able speech, in which he reviewed the whole policy of the Government. He was answered by Lord John Russell, whose speech closed the debate. The division gave to Sir Robert Peel a majority for which no one seemed prepared. The numbers were—for the Ministerial Address, 269; for the amendment, 360; majority against the Government, 91. On the 30th the resignation of Ministers was announced.The English having deposed Suraja Dowlah, the nabob of Bengal, and set up their tool, the traitor Meer Jaffier, who had actually sold his master, the nabob, to them, the unfortunate Nabob was soon assassinated by the son of Meer Jaffier. But Meer Jaffier, freed thus from the fear of the restoration of the Nabob, soon began to cabal against his patrons, the English. Clive was absent, and the government conducted by Mr. Henry Vansittart, a man of little ability in his course of policy. All discipline ceased to exist amongst the English; their only thought was of enriching themselves by any possible means. Meer Jaffier was not blind to this. He saw how hateful the English were making themselves in the country, and was becoming as traitorous to them as he had been to his own master. Early, therefore, in the autumn of 1760, Vansittart and Colonel Caillaud marched to Cossimbazar, a suburb of Moorshedabad, where Meer Jaffier lived, at the head of a few hundred troops, and offered certain terms to him. Meer Jaffier appeared to shuffle in his answer; and, without more ceremony, the English surrounded his palace at the dead of night, and compelled him to resign, but allowed him to retire to Fort William, under the protection of the British flag; and they then set up in his stead Meer Cossim, his son-in-law.详情
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