The same fate befell the troops of Ney, who had been sent to dislodge Bernadotte and Bülow before Berlin. He was beaten at Dennewitz on the 6th of September, with a loss of eighteen thousand men and eighty guns. Macdonald had lost on the Katzbach many thousands slain or dispersed, eighteen thousand prisoners, and a hundred and three guns. His army was nearly annihilated. Between this period and the end of September the French generals were defeated in every quarter: Davoust by Walmoden; another body of French by Platoff, on the 29th; Jerome by Czernicheff, on the 30th; and Lefebvre by Thielemann and Platoff, at Altenburg.
Parliament met on the 15th of November, and the very first object which engaged the attention of both Houses was Wilkes. In such fiery haste were Ministers, that Lord Sandwich, in the Peers, started up, before the king's speech could be considered, and declared that he held in his hand a most filthy and atrocious libel, written by Wilkes, called "An Essay on Woman." Wilkes never had published the filth. He had written, as it appeared, by the assistance of a profligate and now deceased son of Archbishop Potter, this "Essay on Woman;" but he had never published it. It had lain in his desk, and had only been read to two persons—one of whom was Sandwich himself. When Wilkes, however, was driven to set up a printing press in his own house, he had printed a dozen copies of the "Essay on Woman," to give to his dissolute friends, whom he used to meet at the Dilettanti Club, in Palace Yard. Sandwich, aware of the existence of the essay, had bribed one of Wilkes's printers, named Curry, to lend him a copy of it, and had paid him five guineas as a guarantee for its safe return. The whole thing was a stupid parody of Pope's "Essay on Man;" in which, instead of the inscription to Bolingbroke, commencing "Awake, my St. John!" there appeared an invocation beginning, "Awake, my Sandwich!" and there were also ridiculous notes attributed to Warburton.
Some faint endeavours were made to shake off the yoke. Encouraged by France, they summoned the Turks to their aid and cut to pieces several detachments of the Russians. They proclaimed Poniatowski deposed, and called on the people to aid them to drive out the invaders. But the people, long used to oppression from their own lords, did not answer to the call. In France, Choiseul had been hurled from power, and France left the Poles to their fate. It was now that Frederick of Prussia proposed to Austria to combine with Russia and share Poland between them. At this robber proposition, so in character with Frederick, who had all his life been creating a kingdom by plundering his neighbours, Maria Theresa at first exclaimed in horror. But she was now old and failing, and she gave way, declaring that, long after she was dead and gone, people would see what would happen from their having broken through everything which had, till then, been deemed just and holy. Frederick of Prussia took the surest way to compel the Austrians to come in for a share of the spoils of Poland. He marched a body of soldiers out of Silesia—the territory which he had rent from Austria—into Posen, and Austria, not to be behind, had marched another army into the Carpathian Mountains.These godless atrocities, these enormous murders, beyond all historic precedent, proclaimed a people which had renounced God as well as humanity; and they soon proceeded to avow this fact, and to establish it by formal decree. In their rage for destroying everything old, there was nothing that escaped them. They altered the mode of computing time, and no longer used the Gregorian calendar, but dated all deeds from the first year of Liberty, which they declared to have commenced on the 22nd of September, 1792. The next and greatest achievement was to dethrone the Almighty, and erect the Goddess of Reason in His place. Under the auspices of the Goddess of Reason they did a very unreasonable thing: they deprived all working people and all working animals of one rest-day in every month. Instead of having the four weeks and four Sundays in a month, they decimalised the months, dividing them each into three decades, or terms of ten days each, so that there were only three rest-days, instead of four, in the month.[See larger version]
This open breach of the Royal Family was quickly followed by the death of the queen. Besides the misery of seeing her son and husband so awfully at variance, she had long been struggling with a complaint which, out of false delicacy, she had carefully concealed. "The queen's great secret," says Horace Walpole, "was her own rupture, which, till her last illness, nobody knew but the king, her German nurse, Mrs. Mailborne, and one other person, Lady Sundon."On the Rhine, the war was carried on quite into the winter. The King of Prussia did not stay longer than to witness the surrender of Mayence; he then hurried away to look after his new Polish territory, and left the army under the command of the Duke of Brunswick. Brunswick, in concert with Wurmser and his Austrians, attacked and drove the French from their lines at Weissenburg, took from them Lauter, and laid siege to Landau. Wurmser then advanced into Alsace, which the Germans claimed as their old rightful territory, and invested Strasburg. But the Convention Commissioners, St. Just and Lebas, defended the place vigorously. They called forces from all quarters; they terrified the people into obedience by the guillotine, Lebas saying that with a little guillotine and plenty of terror he could do anything. But he did not neglect to send for the gallant young Hoche, and put him at the head of the army. Wurmser was compelled to fall back; Hoche marched through the defiles of the Vosges, and, taking Wurmser by surprise, defeated him, made many prisoners, and captured a great part of Wurmser's cannon. In conjunction with Pichegru, Dessaix, and Michaud, he made a desperate attack, on the 26th of December, on the Austrians in the fortified lines of Weissenburg, whence they had so lately driven the French; but the Duke of Brunswick came to their aid, and enabled the Austrians to retire in order. Hoche again took possession of Weissenburg; the Austrians retreated across the Rhine, and the Duke of Brunswick and his Prussians fell back on Mayence. Once there, dissatisfied with the Prussian officers, he resigned his command, he and Wurmser parting with much mutual recrimination. Wurmser was not able long to retain Mayence; and the French not only regained all their old positions, before they retired to winter quarters, but Hoche crossed the lines and wintered in the Palatinate, the scene of so many French devastations in past wars. The French also repulsed the enemy on the Spanish and Sardinian frontiers.
This put matters beyond all chance of mistake. The menace had such an effect on the aged Electress that she was taken ill and died suddenly in the arms of the Electoral Princess, afterwards Queen Caroline (May 28, 1714). Sophia was a very accomplished as well as amiable woman. She was perfect mistress of the German, Dutch, French, English, and Italian languages; and, notwithstanding the endeavours of the Jacobite party in England to render her ridiculous, had always maintained an elevated and honourable character. She was more of an Englishwoman than a German, and, had she lived a few weeks longer, would have had—according to her often avowed wish—"Here lies Sophia, Queen of England," engraven on her coffin. The journey of the prince was wholly abandoned; not that the inclination of the prince for the journey was abated, nor that the Whigs ceased to urge it. Townshend, Sunderland, Halifax, and others pressed it as of the utmost importance; and both the Elector and his son wrote to the queen, assuring her that, had the prince been allowed to come, he would soon have convinced her Majesty of his desire to increase the peace and strength of her reign rather than to diminish them.But of all the parties which remembered their wrongs and indignities, the Roman Catholic clergy were the most uncomplying and formidable. They had seen the Pope seized in his own palace at Rome, and forced away out of Italy and brought to Fontainebleau. But there the resolute old man disdained to comply with what he deemed the sacrilegious demands of the tyrant. Numbers of bishoprics had fallen vacant, and the Pontiff refused, whilst he was held captive, to institute successors. None but the most abandoned priests would fill the vacant sees without the papal institution. At length Buonaparte declared that he would separate France altogether from the Holy See, and would set the Protestant up as a rival Church to the Papal one. "Sire," said the Count of Narbonne, who had now become one of Buonaparte's chamberlains, "I fear there is not religion enough in all France to stand a division." But in the month of June Buonaparte determined to carry into execution his scheme of instituting bishops by the sanction of an ecclesiastical council. He summoned together more than a hundred prelates and dignitaries at Paris, and they went in procession to Notre Dame, with the Archbishop Maury at their head. They took an oath of obedience to the Emperor, and then Buonaparte's Minister of Public Worship proposed to them, in a message from the Emperor, to pass an ordinance enabling the archbishop to institute prelates without reference to the Pope. A committee of bishops was found complying enough to recommend such an ordinance, but the council at large declared that it could not have the slightest value. Enraged at this defiance of his authority, Buonaparte immediately ordered the dismissal of the council and the arrest of the bishops of Tournay, Troyes, and Ghent, who had been extremely determined in their conduct. He shut them up in the Castle of Vincennes, and summoned a smaller assembly of bishops as a commission to determine the same question. But they were equally uncomplying, in defiance of the violent menaces of the man who had prostrated so many kings but could not bend a few bishops to his will. The old Pope encouraged the clergy, from his cell in Fontainebleau, to maintain the rights of the Church against his and its oppressor, and thus Buonaparte found himself completely foiled.Byng went in pursuit of the Spanish fleet, which was assisting in the conquest of Sicily, and came in sight of twenty-seven sail of the line, with fire-ships, ketches, bombs, and seven galleys, drawn up in line of battle between him and Cape Passaro. So soon as they were clear of the straits, a council was held to determine whether they should fight or retreat. They came to no resolution, but continued to linger about in indecision till Byng was down upon them. Whereupon he utterly destroyed them (August 11, 1718).
Those princes that did bring men into the field, such as the Hessians, Brunswickers, etc.—the Menschen-Ver?ufer, or man-sellers, as they were styled by their own people—were rapacious beyond example. During the American war we had employed these Hessians, Brunswickers, and the like, at a cost that excited general indignation. Besides paying seven pounds ten shillings and a penny for every man, the Duke of Brunswick, who furnished only four thousand and eighty-four men, had had an annual subsidy of fifteen thousand five hundred and nineteen pounds. The Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, who furnished twelve thousand men, had ten thousand two hundred and eighty-one pounds a year.
But in spite of Bute's incapacity the expeditions planned by Pitt were uniformly successful. The British fleets were everywhere busy attacking the Spanish colonies, and cutting off the Spanish ships at sea. A fleet had been dispatched, under Admiral Rodney, at the latter end of the last year, against Martinique, carrying nearly twelve thousand men, commanded by General Monckton. They landed on the 7th of January at Cas de Navires, besieged and took Port Royal, the capital, St. Pierre, and, finally, the whole island. This was followed by the surrender of St. Vincent, Grenada, and St. Lucia, so that the English were now masters of the whole of the Caribbees. A portion of this squadron, under Sir James Douglas, then proceeded to join an expedition, which sailed from Portsmouth on the 5th of March; the fleet commanded by Admiral Sir George Pococke, and the army by the Earl of Albemarle. The squadron arrived before Havana on the 4th of June—King George's birthday—and effected a landing without much difficulty.The system of exclusive dealing thus recommended was a system of social corruption and social persecution, while the attempt to serve Ireland by the exclusive use of articles of Irish produce only showed Mr. O'Connell's ignorance of political economy. The system, however, was soon abandoned.
The opening of the year 1848 was signalised by the appointment of a special commission, which was convened to try those accused of agrarian murders in the counties of Tipperary, Limerick, and Clare. The judges were the Chief Justice Blackburne and the Chief Baron Pigot. The commission was pre-eminently successful. The trials commenced at Limerick on the 4th of January. The Chief Justice, in his charge to the jury, drew a melancholy picture of the demoralised state of the country. He praised the patience and enduring fortitude of the people under the visitation of famine, which were generally in the highest degree exemplary, and he made this remarkable statement:—"I do not find in the calendar before me, nor after the experience of the last two circuits have I been able to find, a single case in which destitution or distress, arising from the visitation of God, has in the remotest degree influenced this illegal confederacy, or stimulated any of those outrages." The first person tried was the notorious William Ryan, nicknamed "Puck," one of the greatest ruffians ever brought to the bar of justice. He was tried for the murder of a neighbour, named John Kelly, into whose house he entered, and shot him dead upon the spot, in the presence of his family. He was found guilty, and hanged on the 8th of February. He was well known to have committed nine murders during the previous year. A man named Frewin, a respectable farmer, was transported for life, being found guilty of harbouring Ryan, and screening him from justice. The next batch of prisoners consisted of six ill-looking young fellows, all of whom appeared to be about twenty years of age, charged with the abduction of the daughter of a respectable farmer, named Maloney, for whom they were in the habit of working, in order that another farmer, named Creagh, might marry her.But the violent proceedings of Hastings and his Council, partly against each other, and still more against the natives, did not escape the authorities at home. Two committees were appointed in the House of Commons in 1781, to inquire into these matters. One of them was headed by General Richard Smith, and the other by Dundas, the Lord Advocate of Scotland. In both of these the conduct of Hastings, especially in the war against the Rohillas, was severely condemned, and the appointment of Impey to the new judicial office was greatly disapproved. In May, 1782, General Smith moved an address praying his Majesty to recall Sir Elijah Impey, which was carried unanimously, and he was recalled accordingly. Dundas also moved and carried a resolution declaring it to be the duty of the Court of Directors to recall Warren Hastings, on the charge of his "having, in sundry instances, acted in a manner repugnant to the honour and policy of the nation." The Court of Directors complied with this suggestion; but Lord Rockingham dying, his Ministry being dissolved, and Burke, the great opponent of Indian oppressions, being out of office, in October the Court of Directors, through the active exertions of the friends of Hastings, rescinded his recall. The succeeding changes of administration, and their weakness, first that of the Shelburne, and then that of the Coalition Ministry, enabled Hastings to keep his post in India, and finish the war in Madras. It was the India Bill of Pitt in 1784, which, by creating the Board of Control, and enabling the Government to take immediate cognisance of the proceedings of the Governors-General, and other chief officers in India, broke the power of Hastings, and led him to resign, without, however, enabling him to escape the just scrutiny which his administration needed.
[See larger version]详情
Copyright © 2020