类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-24 14:45:53


Whilst this extirpation of the Pindarrees had been going on, the cholera broke out at Jessore, in the low lands of the Delta of the Ganges. This fatal disease has been supposed by medical men to receive its force, if not its origin, from the want of salt in this unhealthy district. Salt being one of the monopolies of the East India Company, it was not permitted, though abundant in Madras, to be carried into Bengal except on payment of a duty of two hundred per cent. The natives, therefore, who subsisted on a rice diet, not being able to procure this necessary antiseptic, frequently fell victims to the terrible scourge of cholera. From this centre, where it may fairly be said to have raged in perpetuity, it now spread rapidly up the course of the Ganges, the Jumna, and their confluent rivers, and if the British impost on salt had anything to do with the prevalence of the epidemic, a severe retribution now fell upon those who profited by it. The Marquis of Hastings, the Governor-General, was posted in Bundelcund with his army, when it appeared there and swept away thousands. The very men attending on the Governor-General at dinner dropped down behind his chair and died. To seek a healthier region, he marched eastward, but all the way the pest pursued him, and when he reached the healthy station of Erich, on the right bank of the Betwah river, towards the end of November, one-tenth of the force had fallen under its ravages. The scourge did not stop there, but for a number of years continued to spread at an amazing speed, and eventually overspread Europe with its horrors.But he went on to Smorgony, and there, the remains of the army having come up, he called a council of war on the 5th of December. He told his generals that he had ordered Ney to reorganise the army at Wilna, and had appointed Murat, King of Naples, generalissimo in his absence. He assumed a tone of great confidence, promised his army good winter-quarters beyond the Niemen, and assured them that he was hasting away to present himself directly at the head of one hundred and twenty thousand men to keep the Austrians and Prussians firm to their alliance, and thus to make those he left behind more secure than he could do by staying with them. He then passed through the crowd of his officers, who were drawn up in an avenue as he passed, bidding them adieu with forced and melancholy smiles. He then stepped into a sledge with Caulaincourt and shut themselves in, and Duroc and Lobau followed in another sledge; and thus the man who entered Russia with nearly half a million of men, stole away, leaving the miserable remnant of his vast army to the elements and the Russians!

It is a singular fact, and by no means creditable to the "collective wisdom of the nation," that we have had no authentic enumeration of the English people till the beginning of the nineteenth century. The result, however, of the census of 1800 showed that the population of England had made progress throughout the whole of the preceding century, with the exception of the first ten years, when it seemed to have declined. Mr. Finlayson, the actuary, drew up a statement founded on the returns of births, marriages, and deaths, giving an estimate of the population at decennial periods, from which it appears that in the year 1700 it was 5,134,516, and in 1800 it was 9,187,176. Further, from the decennial census we gather that the population of Great Britain and Ireland, which in 1821 amounted to 21,193,458, was at the enumeration in 1831, 24,306,719; the percentage rate of increase during that interval being 14.68, or very nearly 1? per cent. per annum; and that at the enumeration in 1841 the numbers were 26,916,991, being an increase since 1831 of 2,610,272, or 10?74 per cent., which is very little beyond 1 per cent. per annum. Comparing 1841 with 1821, it appears that the increase in the twenty years was in England 33?20, or 1?66 per cent. per annum; Wales, 27?06, or 1?35; Scotland, 25?16, or 1?25; Ireland, 20?50, or 1?02; the United Kingdom, 27?06, or 1?35 per cent. per annum. For the purpose of comparison with the corresponding number of years in the nineteenth century, it may be stated that the increase during thirty years, from 1700 to 1800, is computed to have amounted to 1,959,590, or 27Alberoni now found himself in turn attacked by France. Whilst busying himself to repair a few of the shattered ships which had escaped from the tempest, in order to harass the coast of Brittany in conjunction with the malcontents there, he beheld an army of thirty thousand French menacing the Pyrenean frontier. War having begun, the Spaniards were utterly defeated by the French in Spain and by the Austrians in Sicily, thanks to the zealous co-operation of the British fleet under Admiral Byng. At length Philip was compelled to dismiss Alberoni.

It remained for Austria to put down the revolution in Venice. That city had bravely stood a siege for nearly twelve months, when, after wonderful displays of heroism, its defenders were at last compelled to relinquish the unequal contest. This glorious defence was mainly owing to the extraordinary energy and activity of Manin, who was at the head of the Government. After the capitulation he escaped with General Hesse and other leaders of the Republican party. Manin settled in Paris, where he lived in retirement, supporting himself by giving lessons in Italian. He died there in 1857. The people of Venice honoured his memory by going into mourning on the anniversary of his death, though, by doing so—such is the meanness of malice—even ladies incurred the penalties of fine and imprisonment at the hands of the Austrians.The year 1800 opened in the British Parliament by a debate on an Address to the king, approving of the reply to an overture for peace by Buonaparte, as First Consul of France. The letter addressed directly to the king was a grave breach of diplomatic etiquette, and was answered by Lord Grenville, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in a caustic but dignified tone. A correspondence ensued between Lord Grenville and M. Talleyrand, as French Minister for Foreign Affairs; but it ended in nothing, as the British Minister distinctly declined to treat. If Buonaparte had been sincerely desirous of peace, he must have withdrawn the French army from Egypt, as it was there with the open declaration of an intention to make that country a stepping-stone to India. But, so far from this, Buonaparte was, at the same moment, preparing to make fresh and still more overwhelming invasions of Italy, Switzerland, and Germany, and the proposal was simply made to gain time.

Sir Charles Barry was the architect of numerous buildings, but his greatest work was the New Palace of Westminster. When the old Houses of Parliament were burned down in 1834, amongst the numerous designs sent in Mr. Barry's was selected, and he had the honour of constructing the magnificent temple of legislation in which the most powerful body in the world debates and deliberates, upon the old, classic site, rendered sacred by so many events in our history. It has been disputed whether the style of the building is altogether worthy of the locality and the object, and whether grander and more appropriate effects might not have been produced by the vast sums expended. But it has been remarked in defence of the artist, that the design was made almost at the commencement of the revival of our national architecture, and that, this fact being considered, the impression will be one of admiration for the genius of the architect that conceived such a work; and the conviction will remain that by it Sir Charles Barry did real service to the progress of English art.[319]On Newcastle's resignation Bute placed himself at the head of the Treasury, and named Grenville Secretary of State—a fatal nomination, for Grenville lost America. Lord Barrington, though an adherent of Newcastle, became Treasurer of the Navy, and Sir Francis Dashwood Chancellor of the Exchequer. Bute, who, like all weak favourites, had not the sense to perceive that it was necessary to be moderate to acquire permanent power, immediately obtained a vacant Garter, and thus parading the royal favours, augmented the rapidly growing unpopularity which his want of sagacity and honourable principle was fast creating. He was beset by legions of libels, which fully exposed his incapacity, and as freely dealt with the connection between himself and the mother of the king.

Marshal Villars, like the French plenipotentiaries, had made a great display of forces, pretty certain, from private information, that there was little fear of being attacked. The Allies had a fine army of one hundred and twenty thousand men opposed to him; but so far as the English were concerned, their commander had his hands tied. The Duke of Ormonde was sent to take the place of the Duke of Marlborough—a certain indication that he was meant only for a mere show general. He was a staunch Jacobite, but no general of talents or experience fit to succeed a man like Marlborough. On arriving at the Hague he assured the States General that his instructions were to act zealously with the Allies, and especially the Dutch, and from his letters it would appear that such were his orders. But before his arrival, Mr. Thomas Harley, a relative of Oxford's, and the Abbé Gualtier, had reached the Hague, and had assured the plenipotentiaries that the Government had determined on peace, and would not allow the army to fight. They also brought over with them the scheme of the Treaty, which was not yet to be made known to the Dutch. But the States General were too well aware of the hollow proceedings of the English Court, and, disgusted at the withdrawal of Marlborough and the substitution of Ormonde, they would not entrust their troops to him, but appointed Eugene as their own general. Thus, instead of one generalissimo of consummate genius, the army was divided under two chiefs, the abler chief, the Prince Eugene, having the utmost contempt for the martial talents of his colleague. All on the part of England, both in the conference and in the army, was hollow, treacherous, and disgraceful. Yet, though there was to be no fighting, the pretence of it was kept up. The Earl of Albemarle marched with a detachment of the army to Arras, where he burnt and destroyed some magazines of the French. Ormonde, too, joined Prince Eugene on the 26th of May, and the united army passed the Scheldt, and encamped between Haspres and Solennes. Eugene proposed to attack Villars in his lines, and Ormonde consented to it, but he immediately received a peremptory order from Mr. Secretary St. John against engaging in any siege or battle, and he was directed to keep this order profoundly secret from the Allies. Ormonde was also instructed that if Villars should intimate that he was aware of these secret proceedings, he was to take no notice of them; nor was Villars long in letting him know that they might now consider each other as friends. The situation of Ormonde thus became one of extreme embarrassment. On the one hand, Eugene urged him to prepare for an engagement; on the other, the Dutch were impatient to see some stroke which should humble the French and make negotiation more easy; but Ormonde was as unable to move, notwithstanding previous assurances, as if he had been a mere image of wood. He wrote to St. John, expressing in strong terms the embarrassing nature of his situation, assuring him that the Dutch were exclaiming that they were betrayed; but St. John encouraged him to hold out as well as he could, and Ormonde condescended to play this false and degrading part, equally disgraceful to him as a general and a man of any pretences to honour. The prince urged forward the necessity of laying siege to Quesnoy, and Ormonde was allowed, for the sake of keeping up appearances, to furnish a considerable detachment for the purpose. But there was so evident a backwardness in the duke's movements, that the Dutch deputies complained vehemently to the English plenipotentiaries at Utrecht of his refusal to act in earnest against the enemy. Thereupon Robinson, the bishop, took high ground, and retorted that the States General had met the queen's proposals for peace so strangely, that her Majesty now felt herself released from any further obligation to maintain the treaties and engagements between herself and them. This roused the States to great and indignant activity. They entered into communication with the Electors of Hanover, of Hesse-Cassel, and other princes of the Empire, regarding the effective service of their troops in the pay of Great Britain. They sent off warm remonstrances to the Queen of England, and Anne was obliged to summon a council, in which it was agreed that Ormonde should appear as much as possible to concur with Eugene in the siege.

After the Picture by Clarkson Stanfield, R.A.During the time that Malcolm, Keir, Hislop, and other officers were running down the Pindarrees, Major-General Smith, who had received reinforcements at Poonah, was performing the same service against Bajee Rao, the Peishwa who had furnished Cheetoo with funds. He marched from Poonah at the end of November, 1817, accompanied by Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone. They encountered the army of the Peishwa on the Kistnah, where his general, Gokla, had posted himself strongly in a ghaut. The pass was speedily cleared, and the army of the Peishwa made a rapid[140] retreat. The chase was continued from place to place, the Peishwa dodging about in an extraordinary manner, till, at length, he managed to get behind General Smith, and, passing between Poonah and Seroor, he was joined by his favourite Trimbukjee, whom he had long lost sight of, with strong reinforcements of both horse and infantry. General Smith, so soon as he could discover the route of the Peishwa, pursued it, but soon after the Mahrattas showed themselves again in the vicinity of Poonah. To secure that city from the Peishwa's arms, Captain F. F. Staunton was dispatched from Seroor on the last day of the year with six hundred sepoys, three hundred horse, and two six-pounders; but he was not able to reach Poonah. The very next day, the 1st of January, 1818, he found his way barred by the whole army of the Peishwa, consisting of twenty thousand horse and several thousand foot. Could they have remained a little longer, General Smith, who was on the track of the Peishwa, would have been up to support them. But in the night of the 2nd of January, having no provisions, Staunton fell back, carrying with him all his wounded and his guns, and reached Seroor by nine o'clock on the morning of the 3rd of January.

Under the influence of this persuasion, Buonaparte suddenly made overtures of peace to Great Britain, though, on the conditions which he proposed, they were certain to be rejected. The Duke of Bassano wrote to Lord Castlereagh, offering to secure the independence of Spain under the present reigning dynasty; that Portugal should continue under the rule of the House of Braganza, and Naples under Murat. Lord Castlereagh replied that if by the present reigning dynasty of Spain was meant King Joseph, there could be no treaty, and there the matter ended; for even Fouché says that Napoleon's Ministers were ashamed of so clumsy a proposal of ignorance and bad faith. Failing with Great Britain, Buonaparte turned to Russia herself, intimating a desire for peace, but not finding it in his heart to offer any terms likely to be accepted. In fact, he was now so demented by the ambition which meant soon to destroy him, that he fancied that a mere mention of peace was enough to win over any of his enemies in face of his vast armies. Including the forces of his German and Italian subsidiaries, he had on foot one million one hundred and eighty-seven thousand men. Of these, he led four hundred and seventy thousand men into Russia. Italy, Naples, Austria, Prussia, Würtemberg, Baden, Saxony, Westphalia, and other Confederates of the Rhine furnished each from twenty thousand to sixty thousand men. To swell up his French portion, he had called out two conscriptions, each of a hundred thousand men, in one year, and had organised a new system of conscription under the name of "National Guards," which professedly were only to serve in France as a militia but which were soon drafted off into foreign service. This consisted of three levies, or bans—"the ban," "the second ban," and "the arrière ban." They included all who were capable of bearing arms of all classes. The ban was composed of youths from twenty to twenty-six years of age; the second ban of men from twenty-six to forty, and the arrière ban of those from forty to sixty. By such means was the native population of France being rapidly drawn off into destruction by this modern Moloch.



Undaunted by this display of prelatical bigotry, Lord Stanhope immediately gave notice of a Bill to prevent a tyrannical exercise of severity towards Quakers, whose principles did not permit them to pay tithes, church-rates, or Easter offerings; this he did on the 3rd of July of the same year. By the 7 and 8 William III. two justices of peace could order a distress on a Quaker for tithes under the value of ten pounds; and by 1 George I. this power was extended to the non-payment of Easter and other dues; but his Lordship showed that of late the clergy had preferred to resort to an Act of Henry VIII., a time when Quakers did not exist, which empowered the clergy, by warrant from two justices of peace, to seize the persons of the defaulters and throw them into prison, where, unless they paid the uttermost farthing, they might remain for life. Thus the clergy of the eighteenth century in England were not satisfied with the humane enactments of William III. or George I., by which they could easily and fully obtain their demands, but they thirsted for a little vengeance, a little of the old enjoyment of imprisoning and tormenting their neighbours, and therefore went back to the days of the brutal Henry VIII. for the means. They had, two months before, thrown a Quaker of Worcester into gaol for the non-payment of dues, so called, amounting to five shillings, and there was every prospect that he might lie there for life. At Coventry six Quakers had lately been prosecuted by the clergyman for Easter offerings of the amount of fourpence each; and this sum of two shillings amongst them had, in the ecclesiastical court, been swelled to three hundred pounds. For this three hundred pounds they were cast into prison, and might have lain there for life, but being highly respected by their townsmen, these had subscribed the money and let them out. But this, his Lordship observed, would prove a ruinous kindness to the Quakers, for it would whet the avarice of the clergy and proctors to such a degree that the people of that persuasion would everywhere be hunted down without mercy for small sums, which might be recovered at once by the simple process of distraint. He declared that he would have all clerical demands satisfied to the utmost, but not by such means, worthy only of the dark ages; and he therefore, in this Bill, proposed the repeal of the obnoxious Act of 27 Henry VIII. But the glutting of their vengeance was too precious to the clergy of this period, and the Bill was rejected without a division.[137]Miserably as Arnold had passed the winter in his camp, as spring approached he again planted his batteries above Quebec, but produced so little effect that Carleton lay still in expectation of his reinforcements on the breaking up of the river. On the 1st of April General Wooster arrived, and took the command, much to the disgust of Arnold, who was sent to command a detachment at[224] Montreal. On the 1st of May, General Thomas, who was to be supreme in command, arrived, and found the forces amounting to about two thousand men. The river was now opening; and on the 6th of May three English ships had made their way up to Quebec, full of troops. Two companies of the 29th Regiment and one hundred marines were immediately landed amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants; and General Carleton gave instant orders to issue forth and attack the American lines. But General Thomas, conscious that, so far from being able to take Quebec, he should be himself taken, unless he decamped with all haste, was already on the move. General Carleton pursued him vigorously, and the retreat of the Americans became a regular rout. They threw themselves into boats at the Three Rivers, leaving behind them all their artillery and stores, as well as the sick, who were numerous, the smallpox having broken out amongst them. Thomas managed to reach Fort Chambly and St. John's on the Sorel; but there he died, having taken the smallpox.

But the Nabob of Oude held out new temptations of gain to Hastings. The Rohillas, a tribe of Afghans, had, earlier in the century, descended from their mountains and conquered the territory lying between the Ganges and the mountains to the west of Oude. They had given it the name of Rohilcund. These brave warriors would gladly have been allies of the British, and applied to Sujah Dowlah to bring about such an alliance. Dowlah made fair promises, but he had other views. He hoped, by the assistance of the British, to conquer Rohilcund and add it to Oude. He had no hope that his rabble of the plains could stand against this brave mountain race, and he now artfully stated to Hastings that the Mahrattas were at war with the Rohillas. If they conquered them, they would next attack Oude, and, succeeding there, would descend the Ganges and spread over all Bahar and Bengal. He therefore proposed that the British should assist him to conquer Rohilcund for himself, and add it to Oude. For this service he would pay all the expenses of the campaign, the British army would obtain a rich booty, and at the end he would pay the British Government besides the sum of forty lacs of rupees. Hastings had no cause of quarrel with the Rohillas, but for the proffered reward he at once acceded to the proposal. In April, 1774, an English brigade, under Colonel Champion, invaded Rohilcund, and in a hard-fought field defeated the Rohillas. In the whole of this campaign nothing could be more disgraceful in every way than the conduct of the troops of Oude. They took care to keep behind during the fighting, but to rush forward to the plunder. The Nabob and his troops committed such horrors in plundering and massacreing not only the Rohillas, but the native and peaceful Hindoos, that the British officers and soldiers denounced the proceedings with horror. It was now, however, in vain that Hastings called on the Nabob to restrain his soldiers, for, if he did not plunder, how was he to pay the stipulated forty lacs of rupees? and if he ruined and burnt out the natives, how were they, Hastings asked, to pay any taxes to him as his new subjects? All this was disgraceful enough, but this was not all. Shah Allum now appeared upon the scene, and produced a contract between[326] himself and the Nabob, which had been made unknown to Hastings, by which the Nabob of Oude stipulated that, on condition of the Mogul advancing against the Rohillas from the south of Delhi, he should receive a large share of the conquered territory and the plunder. The Nabob now refused to fulfil the agreement, on the plea that the Mogul ought to have come and fought, and Hastings sanctioned that view of the case, and returned to Calcutta with his ill-gotten booty.



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