类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-09-26 20:24:07


The army set out in successive divisions, and by different routes, in consequence of the exhausted state of the country, which had been stripped by the French as by an army of locusts. The roads were intolerable, and the weather was vile. Wading through mud, and dragging their artillery through bogs and sloughs, they struggled on to Castello Branco, which the first division reached on the 4th of December. By the 11th Sir John had crossed the Portuguese frontier, and entered Ciudad Rodrigo. There he was received with great demonstrations of joy; and on the 13th he arrived at Salamanca. Here he had to remain for the coming up of his artillery, which, under a guard of three thousand foot and one thousand horse, had been conducted, by Sir John Hope, round by Elvas, as the only road, according to the Portuguese, by which heavy cannon could be conveyed. This was a proof of the great need of those arrangements so strongly urged by Sir Arthur Wellesley. Proper inquiries, through proper officers, would have ascertained beforehand the actual state of the roads and passes. Here Sir John, too, had to wait for Sir David Baird's detachment, which had arrived at Corunna on the 13th of October, but had found the greatest difficulty in being allowed to land and proceed. This was refused by the junta of Galicia, out of that ignorant and inflated pride of the Spaniards, which persuaded them that, because they had compelled Dupont to surrender, they could drive the French out of their country without any assistance of the British, whom they regarded not as saviours, but as intruders. Whilst application was made to the Central Junta, at Madrid, for the troops to land, they had to remain for a fortnight cooped up in the transports. There was still another hindrance, which the sound sense and foresight of Wellesley would not have permitted. Though the British Government had forwarded to Spain two hundred thousand muskets, with all requisite ammunition, and sixteen millions of hard dollars, Sir John Moore was entrusted with only twenty-five thousand pounds of it, and Sir David Baird with none at all. When, therefore, permission was obtained, from Madrid, for the Allies, who were bringing them all the arms and all the material of war, to land, Baird had no money to pay his way on the march with ten thousand men, and Sir John Moore had to remit him eight thousand pounds. This was sufficiently bad management, but this[564] was far from the worst. Sir John Moore, in the most critical circumstances, was left without the necessary information regarding the real strength of the enemy, and without the influence which the British Ambassador should have exerted to have the army supplied with the necessary means of conveyance for its baggage, ammunition, and artillery. The Spaniards obstructed rather than helped the British army. They did not know themselves that the French were pouring reinforcements through the Pyrenees to the amount of seventy thousand men, soon to be followed by Buonaparte himself. The British Ambassador, at such a time, ought to have taken measures for knowing the truth; but the Ambassador was, just at this moment, the most unfit person that could possibly have been pitched upon. Sir Charles Stewart, who had been for some time Ambassador at Madrid, was well acquainted with the Spaniards, and had energy and intelligence enough to have operated upon them. But as, with new changes of Ministry, everything must be changed by the British Government, even if it be for the worse, so here, not only had the generals been changed three times in four-and-twenty hours, but the active and well-informed Minister was withdrawn, and a most indolent and useless man sent in his place. This was Mr. John Hookham Frere, great in the Quarterly Review, and connected with Canning and his party. He either sent Sir John no information as to the state and position of the Spanish armies or of the advance and numbers of the French, or he sent him erroneous intelligence. Lord William Bentinck, who was in Spain, exerted himself to rouse the Spanish Junta to a proper sense of their real position, and of the necessity for affording the British army, which had come to assist them, all the information and support that they could; and he himself sent word that the French were crossing not merely the Pyrenees, but the Ebro. At length, a dispatch to Marshal Jourdain, being accidentally intercepted by a guerilla party on the frontiers, startled the Junta with the news that immense bodies of French were advancing into Spain; and they began to appreciate the value of their British allies, but would do nothing to facilitate their march, or to direct them to the quarter where they would be most useful; and Frere, who should have stimulated them to a sense of their duty, did just nothing at all.

VIEW OF CATO STREET, LONDON, SHOWING THE STABLE AT WHICH THE CONSPIRATORS WERE CAPTURED. A, LOFT; B, STABLE-DOOR. (From a print published in 1820.)Scarcely had Lord Exmouth reached home when he was ordered forth again to avenge this outrage, and he sailed from Plymouth on the 28th of July, 1816, with a fleet of twenty-five large and small ships. At Gibraltar he was joined by the Dutch Admiral Van Cappellan with five frigates and a sloop, to which were added a number of British gunboats. On the 27th of August Lord Exmouth sailed right into the formidable harbour of Algiers, and dispatched a messenger to the Dey, demanding instant and ample recompense for the outrage; the delivery of all Christian slaves in the kingdom of Algiers; the repayment of the money received by the Dey for the liberation of Sicilian and Sardinian slaves; the liberation of the British consul—who had been imprisoned—and of two boats' crews detained; and peace between Algiers and Holland. The messenger landed at eleven o'clock, and two hours were given the Dey to prepare his answer. The messenger remained till half-past two o'clock, and no answer arriving, he came off, and Lord Exmouth gave instant orders for the bombardment. The attack was terrible. The firing from the fleet, which was vigorously returned from the batteries in the town and on the mole, continued till nine in the evening. Then most of the Algerine batteries were knocked literally to pieces, but the firing did not cease till about eleven. No sooner was the assault over than a land wind arose and carried the fleet out of the harbour, so that the vessels were all out of gunshot by two o'clock in the morning. A wonderful spectacle then presented itself to the eyes of the spectators in the fleet. Nine Algerine frigates, a number of gunboats, the storehouses within the mole, and much of the town were in one huge blaze, and by this they could see that the batteries remained mere heaps of ruins. The next morning Lord Exmouth sent in a letter to[123] the Dey with the offer of the previous day, saying, "If you receive this offer as you ought, you will fire three guns." They were fired. The Dey made apologies, and signed fresh treaties of peace and amity, which were not of long endurance. But within three days one thousand and eighty-three Christian slaves arrived from the interior, and were received on board and conveyed to their respective countries.

Rodney, on reaching the West Indies, found, as we shall see, a combined fleet of French under the Count de Guichen, and of Spanish under Admiral Solano; but he could not bring them to an engagement, and, after a brief brush, they eventually eluded him, Solano taking refuge in Havana, and De Guichen convoying the home-bound merchant ships of France. Disappointed in his hopes[272] of a conflict with these foes, Rodney sailed for the North American coasts. Scarcely had he quitted the European waters, however, when the Spaniards took a severe revenge for his victory over them at St. Vincent. Florida Blanca, the Minister of Spain, learnt, through his spies in England, that the English East and West Indian traders were going out under a very foolishly feeble escort—in fact, of only two ships of the line. Elated at the news, Florida Blanca collected every vessel that he could, and dispatched them, under Admirals Cordova and Gaston, to intercept this precious prize. The enterprise was most successful. The Spanish fleet lay in wait at the point where the East and West India vessels separate, off the Azores, captured sixty sail of merchantmen, and carried them safe into Cadiz. The two vessels of war escaped, but in the East Indiamen were eighteen hundred soldiers going out to reinforce the troops in the East.The measure, which was founded on the recommendations of the report, was advocated principally by Lord John Russell, Lord Melbourne, and Mr. C. Hobhouse. The plan was intended to provide for 183 corporations, extending to a population of at least 2,000,000. Many of these corporations governed large and important towns, of which they did not sufficiently represent the property, intelligence, and population. In Bedford the corporation composed only one in seventy of the people, and one-fortieth of the property. In Oxford there were only 1,400 electors, and seldom more than 500 voted at an election. In Norwich 315 of the electors were paupers. In Cambridge there were only 118 freemen, out of a population of 20,000; and while the annual rental was more than £25,000, the property of freemen amounted to little more than £2,000. These were only samples of the strange anomalies that everywhere prevailed. It was obvious to every one that corporations so constituted were altogether unfitted for the objects which they were originally designed to answer. On the contrary, they tended directly to frustrate those objects, and to render the proper government of towns impracticable. They engendered jealousy and distrust between the small governing power and the body of the people. A few persons carrying on the government for their own benefit were connected with a portion of the lower classes, whose votes they purchased and whose habits they demoralised. With such a monopoly the grossest abuses were inevitable. Charitable funds, often large in amount, which had been left for the benefit of the whole people, were either lavishly distributed among the venal dependents of the governing body, squandered on civic feasts, or spent in bribing the freemen in order to secure their votes. In short, the general if not the universal practice had been to use the powers of municipal corporations, not for the good government or benefit of the towns over which they presided—not in order that they might be well and quietly governed in the terms of the charters, but for the sole purpose of establishing an interest which might be useful in the election of members of Parliament.

Here he heard his faithful servants, Duroc and Daru, whispering, as they thought he slept, of their critical situation, and caught the words "prisoner of State." On this, he started up, and demanded whether the reports of his Ministers were yet burnt, and being answered in the negative, he had both them and all documents which could give information of his affairs to the enemy put into the fire. Segur says that amongst these were materials for writing his life, for, like C?sar, he had determined to be his own historian. In tracing the map for a passage over the Beresina, his eye caught the word Pultowa, and he said, "Ah! Charles XII.—Pultowa!"

[158]Whilst the English Court was distracted by these dissensions, the Emperor was endeavouring to carry on the war against France by himself. He trusted that the death of Queen Anne would throw out the Tories, and that the Whigs coming in would again support his claims, or that the death of Louis himself might produce a change as favourable to him in France; he trusted to the genius of Eugene to at least enable him to maintain the war till some such change took place. But he was deceived. The French, having him alone to deal with, made very light of it. They knew that he could neither bring into the field soldiers enough to cope with their arms, nor find means to maintain them. They soon overpowered Eugene on the Rhine, and the Emperor being glad to make peace, Eugene and Villars met at Rastadt to concert terms. They did not succeed, and separated till February; but met again at the latter end of the month, and, on the 3rd of March, 1714, the treaty was signed. By it the Emperor retained Freiburg, Old Briesach, Kehl, and the forts in the Breisgau and Black Forest; but the King of France kept Landau, Strasburg, and all Alsace. The Electors of Bavaria and Cologne were readmitted to their territories and dignities as princes of the Empire. The Emperor was put in possession of the Spanish Netherlands, and the King of Prussia was permitted to retain the high quarters of Guelders.

In Germany, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, after driving the French out of Hanover, had followed them across the Rhine this spring, and on the 23rd of June defeated them at Crefeld, with a slaughter of six thousand men. He then took Düsseldorf; but the French court recalling the incapable Clermont, and sending Marshal De Contades with fresh forces against him, and Prince Soubise defeating the Hessians, he was obliged to fall back into Westphalia, where he was joined by the Duke of Marlborough and Lord George Sackville with the English auxiliaries, but too late to effect anything further. Shortly afterwards the Duke of Marlborough died suddenly, under strong suspicions of having been poisoned.

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At this news the Highlanders were filled with exuberant joy. They demanded permission to pursue and attack Cope's soldiers; but the chiefs saw too clearly the grand advantage offered them of descending suddenly into the Lowlands by the road thus left open. Whilst Sir John was making a forced march to Inverness, which he reached on the 29th of August, the Highlanders were descending like one of their own torrents southwards. In two days they traversed the mountains of Badenoch; on the third they reached the Vale of Athol.GEORGE WASHINGTON. (After the Portrait by Smart.)

VIRGINIA WATER.The Duke of Wellington's declaration against Reform had all the effect of an arbitrary prohibition thrown in the way of a violent passion. The effect was tremendous; a revolutionary flame was kindled everywhere at the same instant, as if the whole atmosphere—north, south, east, and west—was wrapt in a sheet of electric fire. No words from any statesman in English history ever produced such an impression. The transports became universal; all ranks were involved; all heads, save the strongest and most far-seeing, were swept away by the torrent of excitement. John Bull's patience was gone. Parliamentary Reform was right; the time was come when it should be granted; and no man, not even the Duke of Wellington, should be allowed to withstand the nation's will. The unpopularity of the Duke with his own party swelled for the moment the current of the movement. High Churchmen declared that Reform would raise a barrier against Papal aggression, which they felt to be necessary, as experience had shown that the existing Constitution afforded no security. The old Tories, in their resentment on account of the concession to the Catholic claims, appeared to be ready to support the popular demands, if by so doing they could mortify or overthrow the Government. The inhabitants of the towns, intelligent, active, progressive, longed for Parliamentary Reform, because they believed it would remove the impediments which retarded the advancement of society. There were only two classes of the community who were believed at the time to be opposed to the Reform movement: first, the aristocratic Whigs, because Parliamentary Reform would destroy the influence by which they had for a century after the Revolution governed the country, but their accidental position as popular leaders obliged them for the time to go with the current; second, the class to whom Mr. Cobbett applied the term "borough-mongers," including all those who had property in Parliamentary seats, and could sell them, or bestow them, as they thought proper. The former, it was argued, were obliged to conceal their attachment to the old system, which had secured to a few great families a monopoly of government and its emoluments. The latter had become so odious to the nation that their opposition availed little against the rapid tide of public feeling and the tremendous breakers of popular indignation.




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