类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-20 04:51:08


Sir Walter Scott was the master of the ceremonies on this memorable occasion. He was now in the height of his popularity as the "Great Unknown." His romances had revived or created the spirit of chivalry, and ministered to the intense nationality of the Scottish people in general, and the Highland clans in particular. In arranging the programme Sir Walter had as many parts to play as ever tasked the Protean genius of his friend Mathews. The bewildered local magistrates threw themselves on him for advice and direction. He had to arrange everything, from the ordering of a procession to the cut of a button and the embroidering of a cross. Provosts, bailies, and deacon-conveners of trades were followed, in hurried succession, by swelling chieftains wrangling about the relative positions their clans had occupied on the field of Bannockburn, which they considered as constituting the authentic precedent for determining their respective places in the procession from the pier of Leith to the Canongate.

This was followed by a memorial, signed by most of the chief officers, including Lord George Murray, Lochiel, Keppoch, Clanranald, and Simon Fraser, Master of Lovat. This was sent by Lord George to Charles, and represented that so many men were gone home, and more still going, in spite of all the endeavours of their chiefs, that if the siege were continued they saw nothing but absolute destruction to the whole army. The prince sent Sir Thomas Sheridan to remonstrate with the chiefs, but they would not give way, and Charles, it is said, sullenly acquiesced in the retreat.PARIS UNDER THE REIGN OF TERROR: A VAIN APPEAL. (After the Picture by Paul Svedomsky)There was still a fair chance for the Austrians—Britain had furnished them with money—and two fresh armies were descending from the hills. One of these, amounting to thirty thousand, was led by a brave officer, General Alvinzi; the other of twenty thousand, under Davidowich, was marching from the Tyrol to meet Alvinzi near Verona, who was coming from Carinthia by Belluno. Buonaparte did not allow them to meet. He attacked Alvinzi on the 6th of November, and met with a terrible repulse. A detachment of French under Vaubois had been dispatched to impede the march of Davidowich, but was also in retreat. Buonaparte again attacked Alvinzi near Verona, and again was repulsed. Had the Austrians united their two new armies before entering Italy, or had Wurmser marched from Mantua to support Alvinzi, the French must have been utterly annihilated. As it was, Napoleon was dreadfully disheartened, and wrote a despairing letter to the Directory, saying his best officers were killed, and his men exhausted from fighting and severe marches. But his pride and dogged pertinacity came to his aid. He made a rapid march and got into the rear of Alvinzi, but found himself stopped by a narrow bridge over the Alpone at Arcole. The country on each side was a marsh, and the only approach to the bridge was by long narrow causeways. As the French advanced along the causeway on their side to storm the bridge, they were swept down by hundreds by the Austrian cannon. Time after time, Buonaparte drove his columns along the causeway, but only to see them mown down by grape shot. His men fled into the very marshes to save themselves, and he himself was thrown from his horse into the marsh, and had to be dragged from the mire. Bodies of Hungarians and Croats made a final sally along the causeway, cutting down all before them, and it was marvellous that he escaped them. By this time Alvinzi had brought up his main body to the neighbourhood of the bridge, and the battle raged obstinately there for three days. Seeing it impossible to carry the bridge against that solid mass of troops, Buonaparte dispatched General Guyeuse to cross the Adige at the ferry of Albaredo, below the confluence of the Alpone, and take Alvinzi in flank. Guyeuse succeeded in crossing, but was repulsed on the other side by the Austrians. Buonaparte again, on the 16th, made one more desperate rush at the bridge, but only to receive another bloody defeat. The next day he threw a bridge over the Alpone, just above its confluence with the Adige, and sent over Augereau with a powerful force, whilst he again assailed the bridge from his side. These combined operations succeeded. Alvinzi was compelled to retreat to Vicenza and Bassano. Scarcely had he given way, when Davidowich, who ought to have joined him long before, came down the right bank of the stream. He now came only to experience a severe defeat, whereas his timely arrival might have insured a complete victory. He again had recourse to the security of the hills. The belligerents then went into winter quarters, leaving the French victorious.

The massacre of Savenay had not settled La Vendée. In the spring of 1794 armed parties were again on foot. The largest body was that under Charette, posted on the Isle Noirmoutier, to which many of the fugitives who escaped from the massacre of Savenay betook themselves. Amongst these was the wounded General D'Elbée, with his wife, and a brother of Cathelinau. Charette quitted the isle to make an attack on some of the Republican troops left in small bodies in the country, consigning the care of the sick and wounded to the protection of a garrison of one thousand eight hundred men. This garrison was soon corrupted by the Republican general, Turreau; it surrendered, and D'Elbée and his wife were both shot, and the sick and wounded treated with merciless cruelty. This was about the only place of any strength left the Vendéans; but a worse misfortune was at hand. The young and chivalrous Henri La Roche-Jaquelein, marching, at the head of a body of his own peasantry, between Trementine and Nouaillé, met two Republican soldiers. The count generously offered them quarter; but, instead of accepting it, one of them instantly levelled his musket and shot him through the head. The two soldiers were immediately dispatched by his followers and, supposing that a Republican column must be at hand, they buried the three hastily in one grave and fled. The young count was only in his twenty-first year, and with him died the hopes and confidence of his peasantry. Stofflet succeeded him in the command of his people, but Charette might be considered the Commander-in-Chief of the Vendéans.In the meanwhile her Majesty was pleased to communicate to the members of the Privy Council assembled at Buckingham Palace on the 23rd of[467] November, her intention of contracting an alliance with a Prince of the family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The story of her affection for her cousin is well known through Sir Theodore Martin's admirable "Life of the Prince Consort." The declaration was made by her Majesty in the following terms:—"I have caused you to be summoned at the present time in order that I may acquaint you with my resolution in a matter which deeply concerns the welfare of my people and the happiness of my future life. It is my intention to ally myself in marriage with the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Deeply impressed with the solemnity of the engagement which I am about to contract, I have not come to this decision without mature consideration, nor without feeling a strong assurance that, with the blessing of Almighty God, it will at once secure my domestic felicity, and serve the interests of my country. I have thought fit to make this resolution known to you at the earliest period, in order that you may be fully apprised of a matter so highly important to me and to my kingdom, and which, I persuade myself, will be most acceptable to all my loving subjects." Upon this announcement the Council humbly requested that her Majesty's most gracious declaration might be made public, which her Majesty was pleased to order accordingly.CHAPTER XXI. REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).

Mr. Charles Ormsby, counsel to commissioners, value 5,000It was now found that our pretended Mahratta allies, the Peishwa, Scindiah, and other chiefs, were in league with Cheetoo, and unless this conspiracy were broken the most fearful devastations might be expected on our states. The Governor-General represented this to the authorities at home, and recommended that the Pindarrees should be regularly hunted down and destroyed. In the course of 1816 he received full authority to execute this scheme. At the end of October he posted Lieutenant-Colonel Walker along the southern bank of the Nerbudda, to prevent the Pindarrees from crossing into the Company's territories; but as the line of river thus to be guarded was one hundred and fifty miles in length, the force employed was found insufficient against such adroit and rapid enemies. In November Cheetoo dashed across the river between Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's posts, and his forces dividing, one part made a rapid gallop through forests, and over rivers and mountains, right across the continent, into the district of Ganjam, in the northern Circars, hoping to reach Juggernaut and plunder the temple of its enormous wealth. But this division was met with in Ganjam by the Company's troops, and driven back with severe loss. The other division descended into the Deccan, as far as Beeder, where it again divided: one portion being met with by Major Macdonald, who had marched from Hyderabad, was completely cut up, though it was[139] six thousand strong. The other body struck westward into Konkan, under a chief named Sheik Dulloo, and then, turning north, plundered all the western coast, and escaped with the booty beyond the Nerbudda, though not without some loss at the hands of the British troops on that river.

The domestic serenity of the realm was, however, greatly disturbed at this moment by Dean Swift, who seized on the occasion to avenge himself on the Whig Ministry for the defeat and punishment of his party, and especially of his particular friends and patrons, Oxford and Bolingbroke. There had long been a great deficiency of copper coin in Ireland. The Government undertook to remove this pressing want of so useful a medium, and they set about it in an honest and honourable manner as regarded the quality of the coin. Tenders were issued, and various offers received for the coining of farthings and halfpence to the value of a hundred and eight thousand pounds. The proposal of Mr. William Wood, an iron and copper founder, of Wolverhampton, was accepted; but the quality of the coin, both as to weight and fineness, was determined by the advice of Sir Isaac Newton, then Master of the Mint, and Wood was bound under heavy penalties to furnish it according to this stipulation. Every care was used by the Ministers and the Solicitor- and Attorney-General to insure the supply of a much better copper coinage than Ireland had ever possessed before.To prevent further carnage, a committee of the townsmen waited on the governor and council, and prevailed on them to remove the soldiers from the town to Castle William. The successful rioters carried the bodies of the killed in procession, denounced the soldiers as murderers, and spread the[202] most exaggerated accounts of the affray through the newspapers, under the name of "the massacre." Captain Preston and his men were arrested and put upon their trials before a jury of the irate townsmen. Nobody, for a time, would act as counsel for the defence; but at length John Adams, a young lawyer, undertook the office, and made the case so plain, that not only Captain Preston, but all the soldiers were acquitted, except two, who had fired without orders, and these were convicted only of manslaughter.

THE PALACE OF FONTAINEBLEAUParliament opened gloomily on the 21st of January, 1806. The total failure of Pitt's new Continental coalition, the surrender of Ulm, the battle of Austerlitz, the retreat of Austria into peace with Napoleon, and of Russia into her northern snows, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, and Belgium nearly all prostrate at the feet of Buonaparte, were killing Pitt. He had sought for renovation in the autumn at Bath; but its salutary waters and atmosphere had failed to restore his spirit, or to remove what Fox called the "Austerlitz look" from his face. He was dying at Putney as the House met, and the king was not in a condition to open the Session personally. The Royal Speech, read by a Commissioner, referred, with just pride, to the great victory of Trafalgar, and had but little to say on the defeat of all our endeavours on the Continent. The Opposition determined to move an amendment to the Address; but this was prevented by the announcement of the death of Pitt on the 23rd, two days after the opening of Parliament. Mr. Lascelles gave notice of a motion for a public funeral in Westminster Abbey. Fox moved that this question should be postponed till after the discussion on the Address, which was considered by Pitt's friends as a great want of generosity in Fox. The amendment was, of course, overruled, and it was voted, on the 27th of January, by a majority of two hundred and fifty-eight against eighty-nine, that Pitt should be buried in Westminster Abbey; which accordingly took place, the royal dukes, the Archbishop of Canterbury, eight bishops, a great number of peers, and about a hundred members of the House of Commons attending.

On the 21st of March Lord John Russell moved the second reading of this great Reform Bill. Sir Richard Vivian moved, as an amendment, that it be read a second time that day six months. There was nothing new in the debate that followed, though it lasted two nights. On the 22nd the division occurred. The second reading was carried by a majority of one. This was hailed with exultation by the Conservatives, as equivalent to a defeat. But there were prophets who saw something ominous in this majority of one. They remembered that the first triumph of the Tiers Etat in the National Assembly, in 1789, when they constituted themselves a separate Chamber, was carried by one. The House was the fullest on record up to that time, the numbers being 302 to 301, the Speaker and the four tellers not included. A remarkable circumstance connected with the division was, that about two to one of the county members in England and Ireland were in favour of the Bill. No less than sixty votes on the same side were for places to be disfranchised or reduced. Although in the House it was felt that the division was equivalent to a defeat, the Reformers out of doors were not in the least disheartened; on the contrary, they became, if possible, more determined. The political unions redoubled their exertions, and the country assumed an attitude of defiance to the oligarchical classes which excited serious alarm, from which the king himself was[332] not exempt. The pressure from without accumulated in force till it became something terrific, and it was evident to all reflecting men that the only alternative was Reform or Revolution.

Whilst this war was raging in Europe, and carrying its ramifications to the most distant regions of the world, Clive and Eyre Coote were extending the British Empire in India, and, in the case of Clive, with as much ability as Frederick of Prussia showed in enlarging his kingdom in Europe. Clive, in 1757, put down Surajah Dowlah, the Nabob of Bengal, and in June of that year defeated him at Plassey with a mere handful of men against his enormous host. He set up Surajah Dowlah's General-in-chief, Meer Jaffier, and hailed him Nabob of Bengal, Orissa, and Bahar. We claimed from Meer Jaffier two million seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds as the share of the Company, the fleet, and the army. Clive's own share was two hundred and fifty-four thousand pounds, and the shares of the members of the committee ran from twenty thousand to one hundred thousand pounds each. Besides this, it was stipulated that the French factories and effects should be given up to the English, and the French[177] never again allowed to enter Bengal. The territory surrounding Calcutta, within a given distance of the town, was to be granted them on zemindary tenure, the company paying the rent, like the other zemindars or landholders. Thus the British, who were before merely the tenants of a factory, became in reality the rulers of Bengal.



Then follows a long list of lawyers. We may select a few of the most lavishly paid:—

Could this treaty have been carried out, Buonaparte would at once have obtained his one hundred thousand veterans from Spain, and completely paralysed the army of Lord Wellington. The Duke de San Carlos conveyed the treaty to Spain. He was instructed to inquire into the state of the Regency and the Cortes, whether they were really so infected with infidelity and Jacobinism as Napoleon had represented; but, whether so or not, he was to procure the ratification of the treaty by these bodies, and Ferdinand undertook to deal with them himself when once safe upon the throne. San Carlos travelled eastward into Spain, and visited the camp of Suchet, who very soon communicated to General Capons, who was co-operating with General Clinton, that there was peace concluded between Spain and France, and that there was no longer any use for the British. Capons was very ready to act on this information and enter into a separate armistice with Suchet; but fortunately for both Spain and the British, neither the Regency nor the Cortes would sign the treaty so long as the king was in durance in France.



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