类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-27 07:55:12



Sir Henry arrived at Calcutta in September, 1844. He found that tranquillity prevailed throughout the empire, and applied his energies to the formation of railways. But he had soon to encounter the exigencies of war. Notwithstanding the stringent injunctions he had received to cultivate the most amicable spirit with the Sikhs, he was obliged to tax the resources of the empire in maintaining with them one of the most desperate conflicts recorded in Indian history. The Sikhs were a warlike race, distinguished not less by fanaticism than bravery. They were bound together and inspired by the most powerful religious convictions—a tall, muscular, and athletic race of men, full of patriotic ardour, elevated by an ancient faith. They were confederated in various provinces, to the number of about 7,000,000. They were accustomed to ride upon fleet horses, and had organised an effective cavalry, while their infantry had been disciplined by French and Italian officers. They could, if necessary, bring into the field 260,000 fighting men; but their regular army now consisted of 73,000 men with 200 pieces of artillery. Settled chiefly in the Punjab, a country of extraordinary fertility, they also abounded in Mooltan, Afghanistan, and Cashmere, celebrated from the most ancient times as the favoured abode of manufacturing industry, social order, wealth, and happiness. This warlike race had been governed by Runjeet Singh, a chief of extraordinary ability, energy, and determination. He had but one eye; he was deeply marked with the small-pox; his aspect was repulsive, and his manner rude; yet was he looked up to by this great people with respectful homage, and obeyed with implicit trust. While he lived he maintained an alliance with the British Government; but after his death the Sikhs were divided into two factions—one headed by Gholab Singh, and professing to be favourable to the British; the other by the Ranee, who yielded to the clamours of the unpaid soldiers to be led against the English. Accordingly the[597] military forces of the Sikhs were ordered to march down to the Sutlej. But their intended attack was prevented by the astrologers, who declared that the auspicious day for marching had not yet arrived. Sir Henry Hardinge, however, in common with the most experienced officers of the Indian Government, did not think the Sikh army would cross the Sutlej with its infantry and artillery, or that they would have recourse to offensive operations on a large scale. Up to this period it had committed no act of aggression. In 1843 and 1844 it had moved down the river from Lahore, and after remaining there encamped a few weeks, had returned to the capital. These reasons, and, above all, his extreme anxiety to avoid hostilities, induced him not to make any hasty movement with his army, which, when the two armies came into each other's presence, might bring about a collision. This moderation, however, was misconstrued by the Sikhs. They supposed that the British were afraid to encounter them. Accordingly, on the night of the 9th of December, 1845, a portion of the Sikh army appeared within three miles of the Sutlej; and information was received by our garrison at Ferozepore that preparations were making on a large scale for the movement of infantry, artillery, and stores from the Sikh capital, Lahore. On the 12th of December the Sikh army crossed the Sutlej, and concentrated in great force on the British side of the river. The British reserves, meanwhile, were advancing to meet this formidable enemy; but they were still far off, and Ferozepore had but a garrison of 9,500 men to withstand an army of 60,000 with 100 guns! Sir Charles Napier wrote in his "Memoirs" that he did not think history would let off Sir Henry Hardinge for allowing such an army to cross the river unmolested, and entrench itself on the other side. It is quite certain that Sir Charles would not have given them such an advantage. But their generals did not know how to use it. Sir Henry Hardinge had hastened in person to assist General Gough in conducting the operations against the enemy, and both putting themselves at the head of the advanced guard, they were followed by the reserves, marching at the rate of twenty-six miles a day, full of excitement at the prospect of more fighting.ST. GEORGE'S CATHEDRAL, SOUTHWARK.

THE PORTEOUS MOB. (See p. 67.) [After the Painting by James Drummond, R.S.A.]O'CONNELL'S HOUSE IN MERRION SQUARE, DUBLIN.

Whilst these transactions had been taking place on the Continent, our fleets, which should have kept the French and Spaniards in check, had done worse than nothing. France had subtly delayed to declare war against us, so that, although she joined her fleets and armies to the enemy, we could not attack her without being the first to declare war, or to commence it by direct breach of the peace. Admiral Haddock, who was on the watch in the Mediterranean to harass the Spaniards, was thus baffled. The Spanish fleet was joined by twelve French men-of-war from Toulon, the admiral of which declared that he had orders to defend the Spaniards if they were attacked. As the combined fleet, moreover, doubled his own, Haddock was compelled to fall off and leave them.THE MINT, LONDON.In this awkward dilemma the king resolved to cut his way through the French, superior as they were, and regain communication with their magazines and their auxiliaries at Hanau. But Noailles was closely watching their movements; and, being aware of what was intended, took instant measures to prevent the retreat. He immediately advanced from their front to their rear, threw two bridges over the Main at Selingenstadt, and[84] despatched his nephew, the Duke de Gramont, to secure the defile of Dettingen, through which the English must pass in their retreat. He also raised strong batteries on the opposite bank of the Main, so as to play on the English as they marched along the river. These preparations being unknown to the English, and still supposing Noailles' principal force lay between them and Aschaffenberg, instead of between them and Dettingen, on the 27th of June, at daybreak, the king struck his tents, and the march on Dettingen began. George showed a stout heart in the midst of these startling circumstances, and the soldiers, having the presence of their king, were full of spirits. George took up his position in the rear of his army, expecting the grand attack to come from that quarter; but presently he beheld his advanced posts repulsed from Dettingen, and the French troops pouring over the bridge of the Main. He then perceived that Noailles had anticipated their movements, and, galloping to the head of his column, he reversed the order of his march, placing the infantry in front and the cavalry in the rear. His right extended to the bosky hills of the Spessart, and his left to the river. He saw at once the difficulty of their situation. Gramont occupied a strong position in the village of Dettingen, which was covered by a swamp and a ravine. There was no escape but by cutting right through De Gramont's force—no easy matter; and whilst they were preparing for the charge, the batteries of the French on the opposite bank of the Main, of which they were previously unaware, began to play murderously on their flank. With this unpleasant discovery came at the same instant the intelligence that Noailles had secured Aschaffenberg in their rear with twelve thousand men, and was sending fresh reinforcements to De Gramont in front. Thus they were completely hemmed in by the enemy, who were confidently calculating on the complete surrender of the British army and the capture of the king.

On the 20th of August the Appropriation Bill and other measures of routine having been carried through with great triumph by the Ministry, the king prorogued the Parliament, which did not meet again till the 25th of January following. Fox came into the new Parliament in a very remarkable and anomalous position. In the election for Westminster, the candidates had been, besides himself, Admiral Lord Hood and Sir Cecil Wray. The election was of the most violent kind, distinguished by drunkenness, riot, and gross abuses. It continued from April the 1st to[309] the 16th of May, and the numbers on the poll-books, at its termination, stood as follows:—For Lord Hood, 6,694; for Fox, 6,233; for Sir Cecil Wray, 5,598. The Prince of Wales had shown himself one of the most ardent partisans of Fox, all the more, no doubt, because Fox was detested by the king. The prince had displayed from his carriage the "Fox favour and laurel," and, at the conclusion of the poll, had given a grand fête at Carlton House to more than six hundred Foxites, all wearing "blue and buff." The Duchess of Devonshire and other lady politicians also gave Fox substantial help. But Fox was not allowed to triumph so easily. The Tory candidate, Sir Cecil Wray, as was well understood, instigated and supported by the Government, demanded a scrutiny; and Corbett, the high bailiff, in the circumstances, could make no return of representatives for Westminster. As a scrutiny in so populous a district, and with the impediments which Government and its secret service money could throw in the way, might drag on for a long period, and thus, as Government intended, keep Fox out of Parliament, he got himself, for the time, returned for a small Scottish borough, to the no small amusement of his enemies.About the same time Sir James Yeo, who had dared to attack the superior squadron of Commodore Chauncey on Lake Ontario, and took two of his schooners, now prevailed on the spiritless Sir George Prevost to join him in an attack on Sacketts Harbour. Here the Americans had a dockyard, where they built vessels for the lake fleet, and had now a frigate nearly ready for launching. Sir George consented, but, on reconnoitring the place, his heart failed him, and he returned across the water towards Kingston. Sir James was highly chagrined, but prevailed on this faint-hearted governor to make the attempt. Seven hundred and fifty men were landed, who drove the Americans at the point of the bayonet from the harbour, and set fire to the new frigate, to a gun-brig, and to the naval barracks and arsenal abounding with stores. Some of the Americans were in full flight into the woods, and others shut themselves up in log barracks, whence they could soon have been burnt out. In the midst of this success the miserable Sir George Prevost commanded a retreat. Men and officers, astonished at the order, and highly indignant at serving under so dastardly a commander, were, however, obliged to draw off. The Americans, equally amazed, turned back to endeavour to extinguish the flames. The arsenal, the brig, and the stores were too far gone; but the new frigate, being built of green wood, had refused to burn, and they recovered it but little injured. Thus, however, was lost the chance of crushing the American superiority on the lake, which must have been the case had Sacketts Harbour been completely destroyed.

The real fact was, that exertions equally strenuous were all this time being made on the part of the Pretender. As the state of Anne's health became more and more precarious, both parties increased their efforts to secure their ground, and there was a most active and incessant struggle going on round the throne to enable the head of either party to step into it the moment it became vacant. It was considered essential for the claimant to be on the spot, and, therefore, every means was used to induce the queen to admit the Pretender as well as a member of the Electoral House to Court. It was a scheme of the Duke of Berwick, which he communicated to Oxford through the Abbé Gualtier, that the queen should be induced to consent to do her brother justice; that he should go to St. James's, and that on the understanding that he consented to allow liberty of the subject and of religion, the queen should pass such Acts as were necessary for the public security on these heads, and that then she should suddenly introduce him in full Parliament.

"Know, then, 'twas I;Whilst the French were seizing on Portugal, the Spanish royal family was convulsed by quarrels. Ferdinand, the Prince of Asturias, and heir to the throne, hated Godoy, as usurping the power which he himself ought to enjoy, and, stimulated by his friends, who shared in his exclusion, appealed to Napoleon for his protection, and to win his favour requested him to choose a wife for him out of his own family. This[550] at one time would have been a subject of the highest pride to Buonaparte, that a member of the Bourbon family, and future King of Spain, should solicit a personal alliance with his; but that day was gone by. Buonaparte had determined to make himself master of Spain, and he left the request of the Prince without any answer. Urged on by his party, the Prince seems to have determined to do without Buonaparte, and to depose his father, but the plot was discovered, and the person of the Prince secured. The imbecile king, instead of contenting himself by the exercise of his own authority, appealed to Napoleon; and at the same time, to make the disgrace of his family as public as possible, he appealed to the Spanish people, by a proclamation against the conduct of his son, and informing them that he had put the Prince under arrest. But the appeal to Buonaparte did not succeed; for his own purposes, the French Emperor appeared to take part with the Prince, and caused his Ambassador, Beauharnais, to remonstrate with the king on his severity towards him. Charles IV. wrote again to Napoleon, and ventured to mention the Prince's private application to him for a wife, hoping, the king said, that the Emperor would not permit the Prince to shelter himself under an alliance with the Imperial family. Buonaparte professed to feel greatly insulted by such allusions to his family, and the poor king then wrote very humbly, declaring that he desired nothing so much as such an alliance for his son. Ferdinand, through this powerful support, was immediately liberated. But these mutual appeals had greatly forwarded Buonaparte's plans of interference in Spain. He levied a new conscription, and avowed to Talleyrand and Fouché that he had determined to set aside the royal family of Spain, and to unite that country to France. Both those astute diplomatists at once disapproved, and endeavoured to dissuade him from the enterprise. They reminded him of the pride of the Spanish character, and that he might rouse the people to a temper of most stubborn resistance, which would divide his attention and his forces, would be pretty certain to bring Britain into the field for their support, and unite Britain again with Russia, thus placing himself between two fires. Talleyrand, seeing that Buonaparte was resolutely bent on the scheme, dropped his opposition, and assisted Napoleon in planning its progress; thus enabling the Emperor afterwards to charge Talleyrand with the responsibility of this usurpation, as he had before charged him with counselling the death of the Duke d'Enghien. In after years, Napoleon used to denounce his own folly in meddling with Spain, calling it "that miserable war" and describing it as the origin of his ruin.

INTERIOR OF THE JERUSALEM CHAMBER, WESTMINSTER ABBEY.The art of coining received, like other things, a new facility and perfection from the application of the steam-engine. Messrs. Boulton and Watt, at the Soho Works, set up machinery, in 1788, which rolled out the metal, cut out the blanks, or circular pieces, shook them in bags to take off the rough edges, and stamped the coins—in higher perfection than ever before attained—at the rate of from thirty to forty thousand per hour.Such was Massena's situation, so early as the commencement of November—having to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of Portugal—Oporto, Coimbra, Abrantes—and all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena's army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: "It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial exposé as the whole expense of the entire French army."



CAPTURE OF MURAT. (See p. 117.)"When corn is at 59s., and under 60s., the duty at present is 27s. 8d. When corn is between those prices, the duty I propose is 13s. When the price of corn is at 50s. the existing duty is 36s. 8d., increasing as the price falls; instead of which I propose, when corn is at 50s. that the duty shall only be 20s., and that that duty shall in no case be exceeded. At 56s. the existing duty is 30s. 8d.; the duty I propose at that price is 16s. At 60s. the existing duty is 26s. 8d.; the duty I propose at that price is 12s. At 63s. the existing duty is 23s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 9s. At 64s. the existing duty is 22s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 8s. At 70s. the existing duty is 10s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 5s. Therefore it is impossible to deny, on comparing the duty which I propose with that which exists at present, that it will cause a very considerable decrease of the protection which the present duty affords to the home grower, a decrease, however, which in my opinion can be made consistently with justice to all the interests concerned."

Austria, the centre of despotic power on the Continent, the model of absolutism, in which the principle of Divine Right was most deeply rooted, enjoyed peace from 1815, when Europe was tranquillised by the Holy Alliance, down to 1848, when it felt in all its force the tremendous shock of revolution. During that time Prince Metternich ruled the Austrian Empire almost autocratically. This celebrated diplomatist was the greatest champion and most powerful protector in Europe of legitimacy and ultra-conservatism. The news of the French Revolution reached Vienna on the 1st of March; and no censorship of the press, no espionage, no sanitary cordon designed to exclude the plague of revolution, could avert its electric influence, or arrest its momentous effects. On the 13th the people rose, defeated the Imperial troops, forced Metternich to fly, and the emperor to promise constitutional reforms. The emperor and his family, however, soon felt that Vienna was too hot for them, and notwithstanding unlimited concessions, Ferdinand began to fear that his throne might share the fate of Louis Philippe's. Therefore, he secretly quitted the capital with the imperial family, on the evening of the 17th of May, 1848, alleging the state of his health as a reason for his flight, which took his Ministers quite by surprise. He proceeded to Innsbruck in Tyrol.



Copyright © 2020