It is scarcely worth while to attempt to expose the assertions due to Napoleon and the mortified vanity of the French, which have declared that Wellington made a bad choice of his battle-field, and that he would have been beaten had not the Prussians come up. These statements have been amply refuted by military authorities. The selection of the field may be supposed to be a good one when it is known that Marlborough had chosen the very same, and was only prevented from fighting on it by the Dutch Commissioners. But no one can examine the field without seeing its strength. Had Wellington been driven from his position, the long villages of Mont St. Jean and Waterloo behind him, succeeded by the beech wood of Soigne, would have enabled him to hold the French in check for days—much more for the time sufficient for the whole Prussian force to come up. When it is seen what resistance such a mere farm as La Haye Sainte, or the chateau of Hougomont, enabled the British to make, what would the houses, gardens, and orchards of Mont St. Jean and Waterloo have done, stretching for two miles, backed by the wood of Soigne—not a forest choked by underwood, but of clear ground, from which ascended the tall, smooth boles of the beech trees? As to the danger of being defeated had not the Prussians come up, there was none. No advantage through the whole day had been gained by the French, except making an entry into the court-yard of Hougomont, and in capturing La Haye Sainte, from both of which they had long been driven again. The cuirassiers had been completely cut up before the arrival of the Prussians; not a square of infantry had been broken; and when Buonaparte made his last effort—that of hurling his Guards on the British columns—they were, according to the positive evidence of Marshal Ney, who led them on, totally annihilated. It is true that the Prussians had been for some time engaged on the right of the French, and had stood their ground; but they had been terribly cut up at Planchenoit, and they do not appear to have made much advance till the total rout of the French by the last charge of the British. Wellington had advanced his whole line, and was leading on the pursuit in person when he and Blucher met on the high ground behind La Belle Alliance—that is, beyond the very ground on which Buonaparte had stood the whole day. The Prussians fought bravely, but they did not affect the question of victory or defeat as it regarded the British; they came in, however, to undertake the chase, for which the British were too tired after standing on the field twelve hours, and fighting desperately for eight; and they executed that chase most completely.On the 28th of February Lord John Russell proposed and carried a resolution that the House of Commons should go into committee to inquire into the operation of the Test and Corporation Acts, with a view to their repeal. From the very foundation of the Established Church at the Reformation the most stringent measures were adopted to put down Nonconformity, to render the Church and State identical in their constituent elements, and to preserve the uniformity and secure the perpetuity of the faith which had been established. The Dissenters, however, maintained that the Act of Uniformity had utterly failed to accomplish its object. They observed that at first the Reformed Church was Calvinistic in its articles, its clergy, and its preaching; that it then became Arminian and overcharged with ceremony under Laud; that it was latitudinarian in the days of William and Anne; that in more modern times it had been divided into "High Church," and "Low Church," and "Broad Church;" that subscription did not prevent the greatest variety and even the most positive contrariety of doctrine and religious opinion, referring, for illustration, to the rise and progress of the "Evangelical" and the "Anglican" parties. They further contended that the Act had failed in one of its main objects—namely, in keeping all Protestants within the pale of the Church, as, so far as actual membership or communicants were concerned, the adherents to the Establishment were now in a minority. In vain, then, were 2,000 clergymen ejected from their parishes, followed by 60,000 earnest Protestants, who, by fines, imprisonment, or voluntary exile, suffered on account of their Nonconformity. This persecution had an effect the opposite of what had been anticipated. If, as Hume remarked, every martyrdom in the Marian persecution was worth to Protestantism and liberty a hundred sermons against Popery, so every act of persecution against the Nonconformists was of value to the religious life of the nation. In consequence of the development of that life, the Toleration Act became a necessity; and from the accession of George II. an annual Indemnity Act was passed.
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The poets who most retained the robes of the past, without disguising the divine form within, were the Rev. George Crabbe and Cowper. The poetry of Crabbe, all written in the metre of Pope, is, nevertheless, instinct with the very soul of nature. It chooses the simplest, and often the least apparently lofty or agreeable topics, but it diffuses through these, and at the same time draws from them, a spirit and life that are essentially poetry. Nothing at the time that it appeared could look less like poetry. The description of a library, the dirty alleys, the pothouses, the sailors, and monotonous sea-shores in and about a maritime borough, struck the readers of the assumed sublime with astonishment and dismay. "Can this be poetry?" they asked. But those who had poetry in themselves—those in whom the heart of nature was strong, replied, "Yes, the truest poetry." Nature smiles as the rude torch flickers past, and shows its varied forms in its truest shape. In his "Tales of the Hall" Crabbe entered on scenes which are commonly deemed more elevated; he came forward into the rural village, the rectory, and the manor-house; but everywhere he carried the same clear, faithful, analytical spirit, and read the most solemn lessons from the histories and the souls of men. Crabbe has been styled the Rembrandt of English poetic painting; but he is not merely a painter of the outward, he is the prober of the inward at the same time, who, with a hand that never trembles, depicts sternly the base nature, and drops soothing balm on the broken heart.Colonel Gardiner endeavoured to charge the advancing enemy with his dragoons; but it was in vain that he attempted to animate their craven souls by word and example—at the first volley of the Highlanders they wheeled and fled. The same disgraceful scene took place on the left, at nearly the same moment. Hamilton's regiment of horse dispersed at the first charge of the Macdonalds, leaving the centre exposed on both its flanks. The infantry made a better stand than the cavalry; it discharged a steady and well-directed volley on the advancing Highlanders, and killed some of their best men, amongst others, a son of the famous Rob Roy. But the Highlanders did not give them time for a second volley; they were up with them, dashed aside their bayonets with their targets, burst through their ranks in numerous places, so that the whole, not being able to give way on account of the park wall of Preston, were thrown into confusion, and at the mercy of the foe. Never was a battle so instantly decided—it is said not to have lasted more than five or six minutes; never was a defeat more absolute. Sir John Cope, or Johnnie Cope, as he will be styled in Scotland to the end of time, by the assistance of the Earls of Loudon and Home, collected about four hundred and fifty of the recreant dragoons, and fled to Coldstream that night. There not feeling secure, they continued their flight till they reached Berwick, where Sir Mark Kerr received Cope with the sarcastic but cruelly true remark that he believed that he was the first general on record who had carried the news of his own defeat.
Before passing to the momentous history of the Irish famine we must notice some isolated facts connected with the Peel Administration, which our connected view of the triumph of Free Trade has prevented our mentioning under their proper dates. Among the many measures of the time which were fiercely discussed, the most complicated were the Bank Charter Act of 1844, and the Act dealing with the Irish and Scottish Banks of 1845, whereby the Premier placed the whole banking system of the kingdom upon an entirely new basis, in particular by the separation of the issue and banking business of the Bank of England, and by the determination of the issues by the amount of bullion in reserve. Under the Act the Bank was at liberty to issue ￡14,000,000 of notes on the security of Exchequer Bills and the debt due to it from the Government, but all issues above this amount were to be based on bullion. Still hotter were the passions roused by the Maynooth Bill, by which ￡30,000 were devoted to the improvement of the college founded at Maynooth for the education of Roman Catholic priests. The language used during the debates by the Protestant party has few parallels in the history of the British Parliament, and Sir Robert Peel's difficulties were increased by the resignation of Mr. Gladstone, who found his present support of the Bill incompatible with the opinions expressed in his famous essay on Church and State. Lord Aberdeen's foreign policy was completely the reverse of the bold, if hazardous, line adopted by Lord Palmerston. We have seen how the Ashburton mission composed the critical questions at issue with the United States, and in similar fashion a dispute about the Oregon boundary, which had been pending for thirty years, was terminated on sound principles of give-and-take by fixing the line at the 49th parallel, while Vancouver Island was reserved for Britain, and the commerce of the Columbia was made free. With France our relations were of the most pacific character; so close, indeed, was the entente cordiale that it was a commonplace of Tory oratory that M. Guizot was Foreign Minister of England. This was certainly not the case; on the contrary, when the Society Islands, over which Pomare was queen, were forcibly annexed by a roving French admiral, Lord Aberdeen behaved with very proper spirit, and obtained an indemnity for the missionary Pritchard, who had been forcibly placed under arrest. In other respects the friendship of Great Britain with France continued unimpaired, and there was an interchange of visits between the Queen and King Louis Philippe. It was a sign of a harmony of views between the two nations. Unfortunately, owing to a variety of causes, it was not to be of long continuance.The year 1824 is memorable in Ireland for the establishment of the Catholic Association. The Catholic question had lain dormant since the union. Ireland remained in a state of political stupor. There was a Catholic committee, indeed, under the direction of a gentleman of property, Mr. John Keogh, of Mount Jerome, near Dublin. But his voice was feeble, and seldom heard. The councils of the Roman Catholics were much distracted. Many of the bishops, and most of the gentry, recommended prudence and patience as the best policy. Liberal statesmen in England were willing to make concessions, but the conscientious scruples of George III. had presented an insuperable barrier in the way of civil equality. There was an annual motion on the subject—first by Grattan, then by Plunket, and lastly by Burdett; but it attracted very little attention, till the formidable power of the Catholic Association excited general alarm for the stability of British institutions. Adverting to the past history of Ireland—her geographical position, her social state in respect of the tenure of property, and the numbers of the respective religious denominations of her people—the ablest Conservative statesmen considered that it would be extremely difficult to reconcile the perfect equality of civil privilege, or rather the bona fide practical application of that principle, with those objects on the inviolable maintenance of which the friends and opponents of Catholic Emancipation were completely agreed—namely, the Legislative union and the Established Church. There was the danger of abolishing tests which had been established for the express purpose of giving to the legislature a Protestant character—tests which had been established not upon vague constitutional theories, but after practical experience of the evils which had been inflicted and the dangers which had been incurred by the struggles for ascendency at periods not remote from the present. There was the danger that the removal of civil disabilities might materially alter the relations in which the Roman Catholics stood to the State. Sir Robert Peel, in his "Memoirs," recites those difficulties at length, and in all their force. He fully admits that "the Protestant interest" had an especial claim upon his devotion and his faithful service, from the part which he had uniformly taken on the Catholic question, from the confidence reposed in him on that account, and from his position in Parliament as the representative of the University of Oxford.
[See larger version]When he entered Portugal Massena issued a proclamation, informing the Portuguese that the British were the troublers and mischief-makers of Europe, and that they were there only for their own objects of ambition, and calling on the inhabitants to receive the French as their friends and saviours. Lord Wellington issued a counter-proclamation, remarking that the Portuguese had had too much occasion to learn what sort of friends the French were; that they had learned it by the robbery of their property, their brutality towards the women, and oppression of all classes. He called on them, as the sole means of rescue, to resist to the death; and he ordered them, as the British army retired from Lisbon, to withdraw from their towns and villages, carrying whatever they could with them, so that the enemy might find no means of support. This was part of his great plan; and he assured the Portuguese that those who stayed behind after their magistrates had ordered them to withdraw should receive no assistance from him; and that whoever was found holding any communication with the enemy should be deemed a traitor, and treated accordingly.
In the valley of Glen Tronian, on the 19th of August, they proceeded to erect the standard. The Marquis of Tullibardine, as highest in rank, though feeble and tottering with age, was appointed to unfurl the banner, supported on each hand by a stout Highlander. The colours were of blue and red silk, with a white centre, on which, some weeks later, the words Tandem triumphans were embroidered. Tullibardine held the staff till the manifesto of James, dated Rome, 1743, appointing his son Regent, was read; and as the banner floated in the breeze the multitude shouted lustily, and the hurrahs were boisterously renewed when Charles made them a short address in English, which few of the common class understood.
THE LANDING OF PRINCE CHARLIE. (See p. 92.)
[See larger version]The Provisional Government of France lost no time in framing a new constitution, in which the limited monarchy and the House of Lords of Great Britain were imitated. They declared Louis XVIII., the brother of the last king, Louis XVI., the rightful occupant of the throne, and his brothers and the other members of the House of Bourbon, after him in due succession. Talleyrand was the first to put his signature to this document; and the Abbé Siéyès, though he did not sign it, declared his adhesion to the abdication of Buonaparte. On the 11th of April, the same day that Napoleon signed his abdication, the brother of Louis, the Count d'Artois, arrived, and the next day was received by the new Government in a grand procession into Paris. There was a show of much enthusiasm on the part of the people, but this was more show than reality; the Bourbonist party was the only one that sincerely rejoiced at the restoration; and when it was seen that a troop of Cossacks closed the prince's procession, the people gave unequivocal signs of disapprobation. The Duke of Angoulême had already entered the city of Bourdeaux amid much acclamation, for the Bourbonist interest was strong in the south, and he now came on to Paris. The new king, who had been living, since the peace of Tilsit, at Hartwell, in Buckinghamshire, a seat of the Marquis of Buckingham assigned by the British Government for his residence, now went over. Louis was a quiet, good-natured man, fond of books, and capable of saying witty things, and was much better fitted for a country gentleman than for a throne. He was conducted into London by the Prince Regent, and by crowds of applauding people. The Prince Regent also accompanied him to Dover, where, on the 24th of April, he embarked on board a vessel commanded by the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV. He was accompanied by the Duchess of Angoulême, the Prince of Condé, and his son, the Duke of Bourbon. On landing at Calais, he embraced the Duchess of Angoulême, saying, "I hold again the crown of my ancestors; if it were of roses, I would place it upon your head; as it is of thorns, it is for me to wear it."If Grenville and his Cabinet, in their ignorance of human nature, had made a gross mistake in their conduct towards Wilkes, they now made a more fatal one in regard to our American colonies. These colonies had now assumed an air of great importance, and were rapidly rising in population and wealth. The expulsion of the French from Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, the settlement of Georgia by General Oglethorpe, the acquisition of Florida from Spain, had given a compactness and strength to these vast colonies, which promised a still more accelerated and prosperous growth. At this period the inhabitants are calculated to have amounted to two millions of Europeans, and half a million of coloured people, Indians and negroes. The trade was becoming more extensive and valuable to the mother country. The imports from England, chiefly of her manufactures, amounted to three million pounds annually in value. They carried on a large trade with our West Indian islands and the Spanish American colonies, and French and Dutch West Indies. They also built ships for the French and Spaniards, in the West Indies. They had extensive iron and copper mines and works in different states. They manufactured great quantities of hats in New England. The fisheries of Massachusetts produced two hundred and thirty thousand quintals of dried fish, which they exported to Spain and Portugal, and other Catholic countries of Europe. Carolina exported its rice to these countries as well as to England; and they exported vast quantities of cured provisions, dye-woods, apples, wax, leather, tobacco from Virginia and Maryland (fifty thousand hogsheads annually to England alone) valued at three hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds. The masts from New England, sent over for the British navy, were the largest in the world.
Belgium, this summer, was the great battle-ground. In it were Austrians, Dutch, British, and Hanoverians. At the opening of the campaign the Allies had probably two hundred thousand men scattered along the frontiers, and the French upwards of three hundred thousand. But whilst the French were united in one object, and the Convention kept pouring fresh masses of men in, the Allies were slow and disunited. The Duke of York, who commanded the English and Hanoverians, about thirty thousand men, was completely tired of the sluggish formality of the Austrian general, Clairfait, and refused to serve under him. To remove the difficulty, the Emperor of Austria agreed to take the command of his forces in the Netherlands in person, so that the Duke of York would serve under him. Francis II. arrived in April, and great expectations were excited by his presence. Instead of urging all the different divisions of the allied armies to concentrate in large masses against the able generals, Pichegru and Jourdain, Francis sat down before the secondary fortress of Landrecies, though the Allies already held those of Valenciennes, Condé, and Quesnoy. This enabled Pichegru to advance on West Flanders, and take Courtrai and Menin in the very face of Clairfait. At the same time Jourdain had entered the country of Luxembourg with a large force, and whilst the Austrians were wasting their time before Landrecies, he was still further reinforced from the army of the Rhine, which the absence of the King of Prussia left at leisure, and he now fell upon the Austrian general, Beaulieu; and though Beaulieu fought bravely for two days, he was overwhelmed by successive columns of fresh troops, and driven from his lines. Jourdain then advanced upon the Moselle, where the Prussians ought to have been, and were not, in spite of the subsidy.The attempt of the Whigs in the Lords to unearth the vituperative dean, though it had failed, stimulated the Tories in the Commons to retaliation. Richard Steele, author of "The Tatler," an eloquent and able writer, had not sought to screen himself from the responsibility of the honest truths in "The Crisis," as Swift had screened himself from the consequences of his untruths, and a whole host of Tories assailed him in the Commons, of which he was a member. Amongst these were Thomas Harley, the brother of Oxford, Foley, the auditor, a relative of Oxford's, and Sir William Wyndham, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They flattered themselves with an easy triumph over him, for Steele, though popular as a writer, was new to the House of Commons, and had broken down in his first essay at speaking there; but he now astonished them by the vigour, wit, and sarcasm of his defence. He was ably supported, too, by Robert Walpole, who had obtained a seat in this new Parliament. Nothing, however, could shield Steele, as Swift's being anonymous had shielded him. Steele was pronounced by the votes of a majority of two hundred and forty-five to one hundred and fifty-two to be guilty of a scandalous libel, and was expelled the House. During the debate Addison had sat by the side of Steele, and, though he was no orator to champion him in person, had suggested continual telling arguments.In the department of philosophy flourished also Bishop Berkeley (b. 1684; d. 1753), author of "The Principles of Human Knowledge," whostartled the world with the theory that matter has no existence in the universe, but is merely a fixed idea of the mind; Dr. Mandeville, a Dutchman by birth, who settled in London, and published various medical and metaphysical works of a freethinking character; Hutchinson, an opponent of Dr. Woodward in natural history, and Newton in natural philosophy; and David Hartley, author of "Observations on Man." Bishop Butler, Warburton, Hoadley, Middleton, author of "A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers of the Church," and Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, were the leading theologians in the Church; but Dissent could also boast of its men of light and leading in Dr. Isaac Watts, author of a system of Logic and of the popular Hymns; Calamy, the opponent of Hoadley; Doddridge, and others.
These proceedings called forth an opposite class of Associations, in which the clergy of the Establishment took the lead. The bishop and clergy of Worcester, and Dr. Watson, the bishop, and the clergy of Llandaff, met and presented addresses to the king, expressing their abhorrence of the doctrines of these Associations, which made no secret of their demand for "the rights of man—liberty and equality, no king, no Parliament;" and they expressed their conviction that this country already possessed more genuine liberty than any other nation whatever. They asserted that the Constitution, the Church, and State had received more improvements since the Revolution in 1688 than in all previous ages; that the Dissenters and Catholics had been greatly relieved, the judges had been rendered independent, and the laws in various ways more liberalised since the accession of his present Majesty than for several reigns previously. They asserted boldly that in no country could men rise from the lowest positions to affluence and honour, by trade, by the practice of the law, by other arts and professions, so well as in this; that the wealth everywhere visible, the general and increasing prosperity, testified to this fact, in happy contrast to the miserable condition of France. They concluded by recommending the formation of counter-associations in all parts of the country, to diffuse such constitutional sentiments and to expose the mischievous fallacies of the Democratic societies. This advice was speedily followed, and every neighbourhood became the arena of conflicting politics. The Democrats, inoculated by the wild views of French licence, injured the cause of real liberty and progress by their advocacy of the mob dominion of Paris; and the Constitutionalists, urged by the alarm and the zeal inspired by opposition, grew intolerant and persecuting. The eyes of thousands who had at first hailed the French Revolution as the happy dawn of a new era of liberty and brotherhood, were now opened by the horrors of the massacres of the French clergy in September of this year, and by the sight of swarms of priests, who had fled for security to London and were everywhere to be seen in the streets, destitute and dejected. A public meeting was called at the London Tavern towards the close of 1792, and a subscription entered into for their relief.详情
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