类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-30 06:32:38


On receiving the Emperor Alexander's decisive reply that no terms could be entered into with Napoleon till he had evacuated both Pomerania and Prussia, Buonaparte—who professed to be greatly insulted by the demand—immediately set out from Paris for the northern army, on the 9th of May, and left his passports for the Russian Ambassador, which were delivered two days afterwards. Buonaparte, accompanied by Maria Louisa, proceeded immediately to Dresden, to which place he had invited, or rather summoned, all his allied and vassal monarchs to meet him. There, accordingly, were assembled the Emperor and Empress of Austria—the Empress being the sister of the expelled Duke of Modena, and mother-in-law of the Empress of the French,—the solitary King of Prussia (whose queen had perished under the calumnies and insults of Napoleon), and a crowd of lesser German monarchs. Whilst Napoleon was playing the host to these crowned heads, and treating them to banquets, plays, and operas, he was closeted with his cabinet, still planning fresh humiliations for them when he had utterly extinguished Russia. He declared to them that he should take Galicia from Austria, and Silesia from Prussia. He summoned the Abbé de Pradt, now Archbishop of Malines, and bade him go and promise the Poles the restoration of their kingdom, so as to induce them to follow him in a mass to Russia. "I will," he said, "put all Poland on horseback! I am on my way to Moscow. Two battles there will do the business! I will burn Thoula! The Emperor Alexander will come on his knees; and then Russia is disarmed. All is ready, and only waits my presence. Moscow is the heart of their empire. Besides, I make war at the expense of the blood of the Poles! I will leave fifty thousand of my Frenchmen in Poland. I will convert Dantzic into another Gibraltar."On the 31st of March Dundas introduced the Indian Budget, and soon afterwards Pitt congratulated the country on the fact that, so far from the American war having injured the trade or the power of Britain, the fact was that our shipping had increased considerably more than one-third since 1773, and we had been continually gaining strength even during the American war, and had relieved ourselves of a load of expense always incurred by the government of the States. This was an admirable argument for declaring all our colonies independent, if it meant anything; but Pitt went on seconding, and even surpassing Dundas in the prognostications of a long peace. What such ministerial speeches were worth was shown on the 5th of May, only a month and five days since the prophecy of Dundas, and not three weeks since his own prophecy, by Pitt announcing that the peace was already disturbed with Spain. It appeared that the high prices obtained by the crews of Captain Cook's ships, the Discovery and Resolution, at Canton, on his exploring voyages in the South Seas, for the ill-selected, half-worn furs brought from the north-west coast of America, had attracted the attention of adventurers under the direct protection of the East India Company. Mr. Mears, who had been a lieutenant in the royal navy, and a Mr. Tippin, were sent out in command each of a vessel. Tippin was wrecked on the coast of Kamtschatka; but Mears reached Prince William's Sound and wintered there, opening a good trade with the natives. In the spring of 1788 he discovered Nootka Sound, a fine bay on the west side of a small island on the west coast of Vancouver's Island. There he formed a settlement, making a bargain with the chief for it. He went to Canton with furs and was opening a fine trade, when the Spaniards came down on the settlement, seized four British vessels, but permitted two United States' vessels to remain unmolested. Part of the English crew were shipped in one of the American vessels to China, and the rest suffered to depart in one of their own ships after it had been plundered. The Spanish commander then settled himself in the new colony, and Spain set up a[372] general claim to all coasts and islands, and the whole Pacific as far as China.

Population. Valuation. Greatest number

But the matters most important, and in which the Rockingham Ministry succeeded the best, were those of attempting to accomplish the peace with America, and with the Continental nations, on which they had so long and so loudly insisted. Fox first tried his diplomatic genius with the Dutch, whom he could, as he boasted, soon conciliate; but, to his infinite chagrin, that calculating people were so elated by the recent ill success of the English, and relied so completely on the powerful fleets of France and Spain to protect their trade and islands, that they returned a contemptuous answer, declaring that they could not treat without their allies. Still more mortifying was his repulse by the Americans. His offers of negotiations for peace were received with a haughty indifference by Congress, and he was[292] again referred to France. Fox now had recourse to the mediations of Russia and Prussia. But Frederick the Great declined to intervene, and the Czarina Catherine coupled her offers of alliance with conditions which the king and the majority of the Cabinet refused to accept, though Fox thought they were reasonable.

FROM THE PAINTING BY J. M. W. TURNER, R.A., IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY.On the 18th of October the Americans crossed the frontier opposite to the village of Queenstown with three thousand men, and found only three hundred British to oppose them. But Brock was with them, and cheered them so gallantly that they made a desperate resistance. Unfortunately, Brock was killed, and then the brave three hundred retreated, and the American general, Wadsworth, posted himself, with one thousand six hundred men, on the heights behind Queenstown. But the same afternoon he was attacked by a fresh body of about one thousand British and Canadians, and had nearly his whole force killed or taken prisoners. Himself and nine hundred of his men were captured, and four hundred remained on the field slain or severely wounded. The rest, a mere remnant, escaped into the woods, or were drowned in endeavouring to swim back to their own shore. Thus ended Madison's first attempt to conquer Canada.[282]

Lord Howe, when he had collected his ships after the storm which separated him from D'Estaing, again made for Boston, in the hope of being able to attack the French Admiral in the harbour; but he found him too well protected by the batteries to be able to reach him. He therefore returned to New York, and, as his leave of absence had arrived, he surrendered the command to Admiral Byron, and took his leave of America on the 26th of September, and reached Portsmouth on the 25th of October. Byron now had a very good fleet, consisting of ships of one size or other to the number of ninety-one sail. Such a fleet assembled on the American coast at a proper time would have intercepted and destroyed the fleet of D'Estaing, and have cleared all those waters of French and American privateers. Byron no sooner came into command than he also made a voyage to Boston, to see whether he could not come at D'Estaing's fleet; but his usual weather attended him, his ships were scattered by a tempest, and D'Estaing took the opportunity of sailing to the West Indies, according to his orders. Notwithstanding the agreement of the French to assist America, they were thinking much more of recovering Canada or seizing on the British West India islands for themselves.Notwithstanding the hopes which might have been fairly entertained that the measure of Reform would have been rendered complete throughout the kingdom, a considerable time elapsed before its benefits were extended to the sister country; and a large amount of persevering exertion was required before a measure for the purpose was carried through Parliament, although its necessity was unquestionable. This arose from certain difficulties which it was not found easy to overcome, so as to meet the views, or, at least, to secure the acquiescence, of the various parties in the House. And hence it happened that it was not until 1840 that an Act was passed for the regulation of municipal corporations in Ireland, after repeated struggles which had to be renewed from year to year, and the question was at length only settled by a sort of compromise. On the 7th of February, 1837, Lord John Russell moved for leave to bring in the Irish Municipal Bill, which was passed by a majority of 55; but the consideration of it was adjourned in the Peers till it was seen what course Ministers were to adopt with regard to the Irish Tithe Bill. Early in 1838 the Bill was again introduced, when Sir Robert Peel, admitting the principle by not opposing the second reading, moved that the qualification should be £10. The motion was lost, but a similar one was made in the Upper House, and carried by a majority of 60. Other alterations were made, which induced Lord John Russell to relinquish his efforts for another year. In 1839 he resumed his task, and the second reading was carried by a majority of 26. Once more Sir Robert Peel proposed the £10 qualification for the franchise, which was rejected in the Commons, but adopted in the Lords by nearly the same majorities as before. Thus baffled again, the noble lord gave up the measure for the Session. In February, 1840, the Bill was introduced by Lord Morpeth with a qualification of £8. Sir Robert Peel now admitted that a settlement of the question was indispensable. With his support the Bill passed the Commons by a majority of 148. It also passed the Lords, and on the 18th of August received the Royal Assent.

This, though it was a severe blow to our trade, was but a small part of the damage which the active spirit of Florida Blanca did us. He promoted with all his energies the system of armed neutrality which had long been projected on the Continent to cripple our power. England knew that if she permitted this process, there was little chance of her bringing any of her antagonists to terms; she therefore insisted rigidly on the right of search, and on the seizure of all such contraband articles under whatever flag they were conveyed. Not only did Holland supply France and Spain in Europe, but she allowed the American privateers to carry their English prizes into their West Indian ports for sale. All this time Holland was not only bound by the most immense obligations to Great Britain for the millions of money and the tens of thousands of men whom we had sacrificed for the security of her independence against France, but she was also bound by treaty to furnish us certain aids when we were attacked by France. From the year 1778 Sir Joseph Yorke, our Ambassador at the Hague, had made continual remonstrances against this clandestine trade with our enemies; and France, on the other hand, had, by alternate menaces and persuasions, exerted herself to induce the Dutch to set England at defiance. In this she succeeded to a great extent. Much correspondence ensued, the Dutch maintaining a specious neutrality, but still continuing to carry timber and naval stores to France. Sir Joseph Yorke was therefore instructed to demand from the States the succours stipulated by treaties, and which might have been demanded the moment that France declared war against England. On the 26th of November, 1779, he received not only a positive refusal, but a fresh complaint of the interruption of their trade by English men-of-war.

GEORGE WASHINGTON. (After the Portrait by Smart.)The indisposition of Parliament to attend to the ordinary business of the legislature, however important and pressing any portion of it might be considered in other circumstances, may be easily accounted for. One subject engrossed the minds of all men at this time, and agitated the nation to a depth and extent altogether unprecedented in our history. The story of Caroline of Brunswick is one of the saddest and most romantic in the annals of the Queens of England. When the Prince Regent became king, his wife, as a matter of course, became the rightful Queen of[206] England. But her husband had resolved that she should not be queen; and, rather than not have his way in this, he was ready to imperil his throne. She was as fully entitled to enjoy the well-defined rank and position that devolved upon her by the laws of the country, as he was to wear his crown, without regard to personal character. He would break the marriage tie, if he could; but, failing that, he was determined to degrade the queen by bringing against her the foulest charges of immorality. She might, indeed, have escaped a trial on these charges if she had consented to remain abroad, and had agreed to forego any title that would have connected her with the Royal Family of England. Till the death of George III., who had always been her steady friend, she had been prayed for in the liturgy as the Princess of Wales. There was now no Princess of Wales, and the king insisted that she should not be prayed for at all. His Ministers, against their own convictions—against what they well knew to be the almost unanimous feeling of the nation—weakly yielded to the arbitrary will of their licentious Sovereign. They and their apologists attempted to uphold this conduct by alleging that she was prayed for under the words, "the rest of the Royal Family." But Mr. Denman, who defended her, afterwards observed with more truth that the general prayer in which she was embraced was, "For all that are desolate and oppressed." The moment the news of this outrage reached the queen, she resolved, with characteristic spirit and determination, to come at once to England and assert her rights in person. The Ministers flattered themselves that this was a vain boast, and that, conscious of guilt, her courage would fail her.The best excuse for George II.'s apparent sluggishness was, that the French were now so closely pressed by concentrating armies. Prince Charles of Lorraine and the Austrians were pressing De Broglie so hotly that he was glad to escape over the Rhine near Mannheim; and Noailles, thus finding himself between two hostile armies, followed his example, crossed over the Rhine to Worms, where, uniting with Broglie, they retreated to their own frontier at Lauter, and thus the Empire was cleared of them. The Emperor Charles now suffered the fate which he may be said to have richly deserved. He was immediately compelled to solicit for peace from Austria through the mediation of George of England and Prince William of Hesse. But Maria Theresa, now helped out of all her difficulties by English money and English soldiers, was not inclined to listen to any moderate terms, even when proposed by her benefactor, the King[86] of England. The Emperor was down, and she proposed nothing less than that he should permanently cede Bavaria to her, or give up the Imperial crown to her husband. Such terms were not to be listened to; but the fallen Emperor finally did conclude a treaty of neutrality with the Queen of Hungary, by which he consented that Bavaria should remain in her hands till the conclusion of a peace. This peace the King of England and William of Hesse did their best to accomplish; and Carteret, who was agent for King George, had consented that on this peace England should grant a subsidy of three hundred thousand crowns to the Emperor. No sooner, however, did the English Ministers receive the preliminaries of this contract, than they very properly struck out this subsidy, and the whole treaty fell to the ground.

At the same time that we were thus dragged into hostilities with Sweden, we were brought into hostilities with the Czar too in defence of Hanover. Peter had married his niece to the Duke of Mecklenburg, who was on bad terms with his subjects, and the Czar was only too glad to get a footing in Germany by sending a large body of troops into the Duchy. Denmark became immediately alarmed at such a dangerous and unscrupulous neighbour, and remonstrated; whereupon the Czar informed the Danish king that if he murmured he would enter Denmark with his army too. Of course the King of Denmark called on his ally, George of Hanover, for the stipulated aid; and George, who hated the Czar mortally, and was hated by the Czar as intensely in return,[35] at once sent his favourite, Bernsdorff, to Stanhope, who had accompanied him to Hanover, with a demand that "the Czar should be instantly crushed, his ships secured, his person seized, and kept till he should have caused his troops to evacuate both Denmark and Germany."



Meanwhile, Florida Blanca had planned the capture of Minorca. He prevailed on France, though with difficulty, to assist. The Duke de Crillon, a Frenchman, was made commander of the expedition, and on the 22nd of July the united fleets of France and Spain sailed out of Cadiz Bay, and stretched out into the ocean, as if intending to make a descent on England. The main part of the fleet did, in fact, sail into the English Channel. But they did not venture to attack Admiral Darby, and contented themselves with picking up a number of merchant vessels; and again dissensions and disease breaking out, this great fleet separated, and each nation returned to its respective ports, without effecting anything worthy of such an armament. But a lesser portion of this fleet, on coming out of harbour, carrying eight thousand troops, stores, and ordnance, had passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and[285] appeared suddenly before Port Mahon. On the 19th of August the troops were landed near Port Mahon, and, being favoured by the inhabitants, once under the sway of Spain, and good Catholics, they soon invested the fort, and compelled General Murray, who formerly so bravely defended Quebec, to retire to Fort St. Philip, leaving the town of Port Mahon in their possession. Despite the resolute defence of his men, Murray was forced to surrender the island.The trial of the chief prisoner lasted nine days. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty, but unanimously and strongly prayed that his life might be spared. It was generally understood that this recommendation would be acted upon, especially as the insurgents had killed none of the Queen's subjects, and their leader had done all in his power to dissuade them from the perpetration of crime. McManus and Meagher were next tried, and also found guilty, with a similar recommendation to mercy. When they were asked why sentence of death should not be passed upon them, Smith O'Brien answered that he was perfectly satisfied with the consciousness of having performed his duty to his country, and that he had done only what, in his opinion, it was the duty of every Irishman to have done. This no doubt would have been very noble language if there had been a certainty or even a likelihood that the sentence of death would be executed, but as no one expected it, there was perhaps a touch of the melodramatic in the tone of defiance adopted by the prisoners. The Government acted towards them with the greatest forbearance and humanity. They brought a writ of error before the House of Lords on account of objections to the jury panel; but the sentence of the court was confirmed. The sentence of death was commuted to transportation for life; but they protested against this and insisted on their legal right to be either hanged or set free, in consequence of which an Act was passed quickly through Parliament to remove all doubt about the right of the Crown to commute the sentence. The convicts were sent to Van Diemen's Land, where they were allowed to go about freely, on their parole. Meagher and McManus ultimately escaped to America, and Smith O'Brien after some years obtained a free pardon, and was permitted to return home to his family, but without feeling the least gratitude to the Government, or losing the conviction that he had only done his duty to his country. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Gavan Duffy was tried for high treason in Dublin, in February, 1849, but the jury disagreed. He was again tried in April following, when the same thing occurred, and Mr. Duffy gave security to appear again, if required, himself in £1,000.

The second reading was moved on the 14th by Lord Althorp, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lord Porchester moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. His motion was supported by Sir Edward Sugden. Sir Robert Peel had taunted the Government with inconsistency in adopting alterations, every one of which they had resisted when proposed by the Opposition. Mr. Macaulay retaliated with powerful effect, with respect to the conduct of the Tories on the question of Catholic Emancipation. On a division the numbers were, for the second reading, 324; against it, 162—majority, 162. The House of Commons having thus carried the Reform[347] measure a third time by an increased majority, which was now two to one, the House was adjourned to the 17th of January, when it resumed its sittings. On the 19th of that month the Irish Reform Bill was brought in by Mr. Stanley, and the Scottish Bill by the Lord Advocate. On the 20th the House resolved itself into a committee on the English Bill, and continued to discuss it daily, clause by clause, and word by word, pertinaciously and bitterly wrangling over each, till the 10th of March, when the committee reported. The third reading was moved on the 19th, when the last, and not the least violent, of the debates took place. The Bill was passed on the 23rd by a majority of 116, the numbers being 355 and 239.


Copyright © 2020