In the midst of these secret correspondences the queen was seized at Windsor with a serious illness, and, considering the general state of her health, it was most threatening. The hopes of the Jacobites rose wonderfully; the Funds went rapidly down; there was a great run upon the Bank, and the Directors were filled with consternation by a report of an armament being ready in the ports of France to bring over the Pretender at the first news of Anne's decease. They sent to the Lord Treasurer to inform him of the danger which menaced the public credit. The whole of London was in excitement, from a report that the queen was actually dead. The Whigs did not conceal their joy, but were hurrying to and fro, and meeting in large numbers at the Earl of Wharton's. The Lord Treasurer, to keep down the public alarm, remained in town, and contented himself with sending expresses to obtain constant news of the queen's state, for his hurrying to Windsor would have had an inconceivable effect. He, therefore, let himself be seen publicly where he could be questioned regarding the condition of the queen, and gave assurances that she was better. To allay the panic, Anne was induced to sign a letter prepared for her, announcing to Sir Samuel Stancer, the Lord Mayor, that she was now recovering, and would be in town and open Parliament on the 16th of February. This news being confirmed, those who had been too hasty in pulling off their masks found some awkwardness in fitting them on again. The Press was active. Steele published a pamphlet called "The Crisis," in advocacy of the Revolution, and on the danger of a Popish succession; whilst on the other hand came out a reply, supposed to be written by Swift, not without a few touches from Bolingbroke; it was styled "The Public Spirit of the Whigs," and was distinguished by all the sarcasm of the authors. The queen's recovery, and the fact that the French armament was a fiction, quieted the storm and again restored the Funds.[See larger version]
For this Keppel was much blamed, as it was considered that the papers might have been made out in order to deceive him. The number of the French fleet, however, soon proved to be correct, for, during Keppel's absence, it sailed out of Brest, under the command of Admiral D'Orvilliers. Keppel, returning with his squadron augmented to thirty vessels of the line, found D'Orvilliers out at sea, and the Lively, twenty-gun brig, which he had left to watch the motions of the French, surprised by them in a fog, and captured. On the 27th of July Keppel came up with D'Orvilliers off Ushant, and instantly gave battle. The two fleets passed each other on different tacks, keeping up a furious cannonade for two hours. Keppel then signalled his second in command, Sir Hugh Palliser, to wear round and renew the attack; but Palliser had received so much injury, that he could not or did not obey the signal. Keppel, therefore, bore down to join Palliser's division, and formed afresh for the fight. But by this time D'Orvilliers was making for Brest as fast as he could, claiming a victory. Night came down, and the next morning the French fleet was nearly out of sight. On this, Keppel returned to England to refit, much out of humour with Palliser.[See larger version]
Whilst these affairs had been taking place in England, the Emperor had been finding himself less and less able to contend against France and Spain. He had in vain exerted himself to engage the Dutch and English in his quarrel. He called upon them as bound by the faith of treaties; he represented the balance of power for which both Holland and England had made such sacrifices, as more in danger than ever; but none of these pleas moving Walpole or the Dutch, he threatened to withdraw his troops from the Netherlands, and make over that country to France. The threat of the Emperor did not move Walpole; he knew too well that it was but a threat. The Emperor, therefore, was now compelled to come to terms. A treaty was to be entered into under the mediation of the maritime Powers. As Fleury and Walpole, too, were bent on peace, they submitted to all the delays and punctilios of the diplomatists, and finally were rewarded by a peace being concluded between the different parties on these terms:—Don Carlos was to retain Naples and Sicily, but he was to resign the possession of Parma and the reversion of Tuscany; of the claimants to the Polish Crown, Augustus was to remain King of Poland, and Stanislaus was to receive, as an equivalent, the Duchy of Lorraine, which, after his decease, was to devolve to the Crown of France. This was an aim which France had had in view for ages, but which neither the genius of Richelieu nor of Mazarin could accomplish. It was rendered comparatively easy now, as the young Duke of Lorraine was about to marry the Empress's only child, the Princess Maria Theresa, and thus to succeed through her to the Empire. Yet the Duke ceded his patrimonial territory with extreme regret, and not till he had received in return the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and a pension from France. The regnant Grand Duke of Tuscany, the last of the Medicis, was on the verge of death, and his decease took place in less than two years, when the Duke of Lorraine was put in possession. France and Sardinia gave their guarantee to the Pragmatic Sanction, and Sardinia obtained, in consequence, Novara, Tortona, and some adjoining districts. England appears to have looked on with strange apathy at this aggrandisement of France by the acquisition of Lorraine, but it was impossible to prevent it, except by a great war, and Walpole was not disposed for even a little one. This treaty is known as the Definitive Peace of Vienna (Nov. 8, 1738).The greater part of the House, as well as the public out of doors, were captivated with the scheme, which promised thus easily to relieve them of the monster debt; but Sir Grey Cooper was the first to disturb these fairy fancies. He declared that the whole was based on a fallacious statement; that it was doubtful whether the actual surplus was as described; but even were it so, that it was but the surplus of a particular year, and that it was like the proprietor of a hop-ground endeavouring to borrow money on the guarantee of its proceeds in a particularly favourable year. Fox, Burke, and Sheridan followed in the same strain. They argued that, supposing the assumed surplus actually to exist, which they doubted, it would immediately vanish in case of war, and a fresh mass of debt be laid on. Sheridan said, the only mode of paying off a million a year would be to make a loan of a million a year, for the Minister reminded him of the person in the comedy who said, "If you won't lend me the money, how can I pay you?" On the 14th of May he moved a string of fourteen resolutions unfavourable to the report of the Committee, which he said contained facts which could not be negatived; but the House did negative them all without a division, and on the 15th of May passed the Bill. In the Lords it met with some proposals from Earl Stanhope, which were to render the violation of the Act equivalent to an act of bankruptcy, but these were negatived, and the Bill was passed there on the 26th. It was not until 1828 that the fallacy on which the Bill rested was finally exposed by Lord Grenville, who, curiously enough, had been chairman of the Committee which recommended its adoption.The indignation of all parties in England was unbounded. They were persuaded that Junot might have been compelled to surrender with all his army as prisoners of war; that his arms and booty ought to have been given up entirely, as well as the Russian fleet; and the army prevented from taking any part in the after war, except upon a proper exchange. And no doubt this might have been the case had Wellesley been permitted to follow his own judgment. A court of inquiry was appointed to sit in the great hall of Chelsea College, which opened on the 14th of November and closed on the 27th of December. Yet matters were so managed that scarcely any blame was cast on Sir Harry Burrard, and all the generals were declared free from blame. Sir Harry was, indeed, included in the praise bestowed by the committee—that Sir Hew Dalrymple, Sir Harry himself, and Sir Arthur Wellesley, as well as the rest of the officers and men, had displayed an ardour and gallantry on every occasion during the expedition that reflected the highest lustre on his Majesty's troops. But the public was not at all mystified by this strange sentence.
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.Such were the difficulties under which Congress and Washington had been struggling through this winter to raise and keep together any considerable force; whilst General, now Sir William Howe, had been completely dozing at New York. The first movements of Howe were to execute several detached evolutions, and a vast quantity of stores were destroyed. As a retaliation, the Americans sent Colonel Meigs over to Long Island, to a place called Sag Harbour, where the English had a great quantity of provision stores, which they learned were very remissly guarded. Meigs, who had been trained under Arnold, conducted the enterprise very adroitly. He passed the Sound in whale-boats in the night, landed without much difficulty before the break of day, and began to fire the magazines. He met with a brave resistance from the crews of the merchants' vessels; but, having two hundred men, and there being no soldiers to oppose him, he destroyed twelve of the trading vessels, took ninety prisoners, and returned triumphantly without the loss of a single man. In the meantime, Washington had quitted his encampment at Morristown, and taken up a strong position at Middlebrook, about twelve miles from Princeton. On the 13th of June Howe at last marched out of New Brunswick to attack him. On this, Washington called to his assistance a great part of the troops in the highlands, the whole force of the Jersey militia, whilst Arnold, who had the command at Philadelphia, was actively engaged with Mifflin in preparing defences for the Delaware. The object of Howe was to draw Washington from his entrenchments, certain that, on fair ground, it would require little exertion to totally dissipate his army; therefore, after marching up almost to the American lines, he commenced a retreat, evacuated even New Brunswick, and fell back to Amboy. Washington fell into the snare; he sent a strong force in pursuit of Howe, who, keeping up the ruse, threw a bridge over the narrow strait which divides Staten Island from the mainland, and sent over part of his baggage and a number of troops. Satisfied then that Howe was bent on resuming his old quarters at New York, Washington quitted his camp, which had cost him so much labour to create, and descended with his main body to Quibbletown. On seeing this, Howe advanced again, and dispatched several bodies of soldiers by different routes, to get, if possible, between Washington and his old post on the hills, so as to bring him to an engagement on the plain. Washington instantly became aware of his design, and retreated with all speed. Lord Cornwallis, who led the British van, notwithstanding, managed to come up with him, and fell upon a division of three thousand strong, advantageously posted, and defended with cannon. Cornwallis's charge, however, threw him into confusion, the rout became general, and the British pursued them as far as Westfield, when, coming to a woody country, and the heat of the day being intense, they halted for the night. This halt was the salvation of Washington: it enabled him to regain his old fortified post in the hills, leaving behind him part of his cannon, and about two hundred men killed.[See larger version]
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The Government was paralysed by the greatness of the evil. While the House of Commons had been sitting, the mob had attacked Lord North's house, in Downing Street, close by; but a party of soldiers had succeeded in interposing themselves between the mansion and its assailants. The house of the Minister was saved; but the gigantic mass of rioters then rolled towards the City, vowing that they would sack Newgate, and release their comrades, who had been sent there on Friday. On the 6th they appeared in vast numbers before that prison, and demanded of Mr. Akerman, the keeper, the delivery of their associates. Their cry was still "No Popery!" though their object was havoc: they were armed with heavy sledge-hammers, crowbars, and pick-axes; and on the keeper refusing to liberate the prisoners, they commenced a desperate attack on his doors and windows, and, collecting combustibles, flung them into the dwelling. It was speedily in flames, and, whilst it burned, the mob thundered on the iron-studded doors of the prison with their tools. But, as they made no impression, they formed heaps of the keeper's furniture, and made a fire against the doors. The fires spread from the keeper's house to the prison chapel, and thence to some of the doors and passages leading into the wards. The mob raised terrible yells of rage and triumph, which were as wildly echoed by the prisoners within, some of whom were exulting in the expectation of rescue, and others shrieking, afraid of perishing in the conflagration. The crowd, now more furious than ever, from greedily drinking the wine and spirits in the keepers cellar, rushed through the gaps made by the flames, and were masters of the prison. They were led on by ferocious fellows, who were but too familiar with the interior of the place. The different cells were forced open, and the now half-maddened prisoners were either rudely dragged out, or they rushed forth in maniacal delight. Three hundred of these criminals, some of them stained with the foulest offences, and four of them under sentence of execution on the following Thursday, were let out, to add to the horrors of the lawless tumult. They came out into the surging, roaring multitude to raise their shouts at the sight of the great prison, which had lately been rebuilt at a cost of one hundred and forty thousand pounds, in one vast conflagration. Nothing was left of it the next morning but a huge skeleton of blackened and frowning walls.[See larger version]
His steady helm amid the struggling tides;Ministers were soon compelled to pursue the policy which Pitt had so successfully inaugurated. With all the determination of Lord Bute and his colleagues to make a speedy peace, they found it impossible. The Family Compact between France and Spain was already signed; and in various quarters of the world Pitt's plans were so far in progress that they must go on. In East and West, his plans for the conquest of Havana, of the Philippine Isles, and for other objects, were not to be abruptly abandoned; and Ministers were compelled to carry out his objects, in many particulars, in spite of themselves. And now the unpleasant truth was forced on the attention of Ministers, that the war which Pitt declared to be inevitable was so, and that he had recommended the only wise measure. The country was now destined to pay the penalty of their folly and stupidity in rejecting Pitt's proposal to declare war against Spain at once, and strip her of the means of offence, her treasure ships. Lord Bristol, our ambassador at Madrid, announced to Lord Bute, in a despatch of the 2nd of November, that these ships had arrived, and that all the wealth which Spain expected from her American colonies for the next year was safe at home. And he had to add that with this, Wall, the Minister, had thrown off the mask, and had assumed the most haughty and insolent language towards Great Britain. This was a confession on the part of Lord Bristol that he had suffered Wall to throw dust in his eyes till his object was accomplished, and it made patent the fact that Pitt had been too sagacious to be deceived; but that the new Ministers, whilst insulting Pitt and forcing him to resign, had been themselves completely duped. Spain now, in the most peremptory terms, demanded redress for all her grievances; and, before the year had closed, the Bute Cabinet was compelled to recall Lord Bristol from Madrid, and to order Fuentes, the Spanish ambassador in London, to quit the kingdom. On the 4th of January, 1762, declaration of war was issued against Spain. Neither king nor Ministers, seeing the wisdom of Pitt's policy and the folly of their own, were prevented from committing another such absurdity. They abandoned Frederick of Prussia at his greatest need. They refused to vote his usual subsidy. By this execrable proceeding—for we not only abandoned Frederick, but made overtures to Austria, with which he was engaged in a mortal struggle—we thus threw him into the arms and close alliance of Russia, and were, by this, the indirect means of that guilty confederation by which Poland was afterwards rent in pieces by these powers. On the 5th of January, 1762, died the Czarina Elizabeth. She was succeeded by her nephew, the Duke of Holstein, under the title of Peter III. Peter was an enthusiastic admirer of the Prussian king; he was extravagant and incessant in his praises of him. He accepted the commission of a colonel in the Prussian service, wore its uniform, and was bent on clothing his own troops in it. It was clear that he was not quite sane, for he immediately recalled the Russian army which was acting against Frederick, hastened to make peace with him, and offered to restore all that had been won from him in the war, even to Prussia proper, which the Russians had possession of. His example was eagerly seized upon by Sweden, which was tired of the war. Both Russia and Sweden signed treaties of peace with Frederick in May, and Peter went farther: he dispatched an army into Silesia, where it had so lately been fighting against him, to fight against Austria. Elated by this extraordinary turn of affairs, the Prussian ambassador renewed his applications for money, urging that, now Russia had joined Frederick, it would be easy to subdue Austria and terminate the war. This was an opportunity for Bute to retrace with credit his steps; but he argued, on the contrary, that, having the aid of Russia, Frederick did not want that of England; and he is even accused of endeavouring to persuade Russia to continue its hostilities against Prussia; and thus he totally alienated a power which might have hereafter rendered us essential service, without gaining a single point. The Duke of Newcastle, man of mediocre merit as he was, saw farther than Bute into the disgraceful nature of thus abandoning a powerful ally at an extremity, as well as the impolicy of converting such a man into a mortal enemy; and, finding all remonstrances vain, resigned. Bute was glad to be rid of him; and Newcastle, finding both his remonstrance and resignation taken very coolly, had the meanness to seek to regain a situation in the Cabinet, but without effect, and threw himself into the Opposition.
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In sculpture at this period we stood much lower than in painting. Here we had no Hogarth, nor even a Thornhill. All that was of any value in this art proceeded from the chisels of foreigners, and even in that what an immense distance from the grand simplicity of the ancients! The sculpture of Italy and France was in the ascendant, but Bernini and Roubiliac had little in common with Phidias and Praxiteles, and our own sculptors presented a melancholy contrast to the work of artists of the worst age of Greece or Rome; there is scarcely a name that is worth mentioning. The best of the native sculptors was John Bushnell, who was employed by Wren to execute the statues of the kings at Temple Bar; and Francis Bird, who was also employed later by Wren to execute "The Conversion of St. Paul," in the pediment of the new cathedral, the bas-reliefs under the portico, and the group in front, all of a very ordinary character. His best work is the monument of Dr. Busby in the transept of Westminster Abbey. Besides this he executed the monument of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, also at Westminster, and the bronze statue of Henry VI., in the quadrangle of Eton College, both very indifferent. Gibbs and Bird executed the ponderous and tasteless monument of Holles, Duke of Newcastle, at Westminster, and the fine old minster is disgraced by a crowd of still more contemptible productions of this period. These can only be equalled in wretchedness by the works of a trading school, who supplied copies in lead of ancient gods, goddesses, shepherds, shepherdesses, etc., for the gardens of the nobility, which soon swarmed in legions in all the gardens and areas in and around the metropolis. Amongst the chief dealers in this traffic were Cheere and Charpentier, who employed foreign artists, even, for such images, and it was the fortune of Roubiliac to commence his English career with the former of these traders. The three chief foreigners of this period were Rysbraeck, Scheemakers, and Roubiliac, who were copyists of the French sculptors Coysevox, Bouchardon, and Le Moyne, as these had been of Bernini.
This proclamation was speedily followed by the steady march of soldiers to various quarters. At one moment was heard the loud roar of innumerable voices in the full commission of outrage, and at the next the rattle of musketry and the shrieks of the wounded and dying, followed by a strange silence. The first troops who commenced the bloody duty of repression were the Northumberland militia, who had come that day by a forced march of twenty-five miles, and who were led by Colonel Holroyd against the rioters at Langdale's distillery in Holborn. A detachment of the Guards at the same time drove the mob from the possession of Blackfriars Bridge. Numbers were there killed, or were forced by the soldiers or their own fears over the parapet of the bridge, and perished in the Thames. Where the mob would not disperse, the officers now firmly gave the word of command, and the soldiers fired in platoons. Little resistance was offered; in many quarters the inhabitants, recovering their presence of mind, armed themselves, and came forth in bodies to assist the soldiers. The number of troops now assembled in and around London amounted to twenty-five thousand, and before night the whole city was as quiet—far quieter, indeed—than on ordinary occasions, for a sorrowful silence seemed to pervade it; and besides two hundred men shot in the streets, two hundred and fifty were carried to the hospitals wounded, of whom nearly one hundred soon expired. But these bore no proportion to the numbers who had fallen victims to their own excesses, or who had been buried under the ruins of falling buildings, or consumed in the flames in the stupor of intoxication. The king's decision had saved London.[See larger version]详情
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