类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-19 23:38:06


THE "VICTORY" AT PORTSMOUTH.GEORGE WASHINGTON. (After the Portrait by Smart.)In the interval, the character and conduct of the Prince of Wales came prominently before the public. The two great friends of the prince were Fox and Sheridan. If the intellectual qualities of these two remarkable men had been equalled by their moral ones, no fitter companions for a young prince could have been found. But, unfortunately, they were as distinguished for their drinking and dissipation, and Fox for his reckless gambling, as for their talents. Pitt and they were in violent opposition, and as Pitt, with his cold, unimpulsive nature, stood firmly by the king, Fox and Sheridan were, as matters of party, warmly the advocates of the prince. Hence the king and his son, sufficiently at strife on the ground of the prince's extravagance and debauchery, were rendered doubly so by the faction fire of their respective adherents. Pitt, who might have softened greatly the hostile feeling between the royal father and son, by recommending less parsimony on the part of the king, and kindly endeavouring to induce the prince to exhibit more respect for his father, never displayed the slightest disposition to act so generous and truly politic a part. Sheridan and some others of the Whig party mentioned the prince's debts, and urged the propriety of something being done to save the honour of the Heir Apparent; but Pitt turned a deaf ear, and the king informed the prince that he could not sanction the payment of his debts by Parliament, nor was he disposed to[337] increase his allowance from the Civil List. On this the prince determined to break up his household, which had been appointed by the king, and cost the prince twenty thousand pounds, to sell his horses and carriages, and to live in a few rooms like a private gentleman. This he did; his fine horses were paraded through the streets on their way to Tattersall's to be sold, and he stopped the building of Carlton House. All this would have been admirable had it proceeded from a real desire to economise on the part of the prince, in order to satisfy his clamorous creditors, and to commence a real reform of his habits; but the whole was only a mode of mortifying the king and Court party by thus exhibiting the Heir Apparent as compelled, by the refusal of a proper allowance, to abandon the style befitting his rank, and sink himself into that of a mere lodger of scanty means. If this grand man?uvre did not accomplish its object at Court, it, however, told on his own party, who resolved in the next Session to make a grand effort for the liquidation of his debts.

An address, founded on this resolution, was carried to the king, who faithfully kept the word he had given nearly three years before. Chatham had then, through Lord North, sought to get his own pension continued to his second son, William Pitt, afterwards the celebrated Minister. On that occasion, George III. had declared that the conduct of Chatham of late had totally obliterated any sense of gratitude for his former merits; but that, when decrepitude or death should put an end to him as a trumpet of sedition, he would not punish the children for the father's sins, but would place the second son's name where Chatham's had been. He now consented to that; an annuity bill settled four thousand pounds a-year on the heirs of Chatham to whom the title should descend, which received the sanction of Parliament; and the Commons, moreover, voted twenty thousand pounds to pay the deceased Earl's debts. Both these motions passed the House of Commons unanimously; but, in the Upper House, the Duke of Chandos attacked the grants, and condemned severely the custom of loading the country with annuities in perpetuity. The bill was, however, carried by forty-two votes to eleven, though four noble Lords entered a protest against it, namely, Lord Chancellor Bathurst, the Duke of Chandos, Lord Paget, and Markham, Archbishop of York.

The Sicilian Chambers met on the 13th of April, and voted the deposition of the royal family of Naples. It was resolved to elect a new king, and to join the league for the independence of Italy. The prince chosen King of Sicily was the Duke of Genoa, second son of Charles Albert, with the title of Albert Amadeus I., King of Sicily. Messina had revolted, and a fleet was sent from Naples to reduce it. A bombardment commenced on September 3rd, and was continued night and day. The insurgents bravely defended themselves till their provisions were exhausted, and they were scarcely able to stand to their guns. Their ammunition had been all consumed. On the other hand, reinforcements by thousands were poured in from a fleet of Neapolitan steamers. The city was now on fire in every quarter. The insurgents were unable to return a single shot. The victorious royalists then began to massacre the inhabitants, who fled in every direction from their murderous assailants, 10,000 of them finding shelter on board French and English vessels while the Bourbon standard floated over the smoking ruins of Messina. The king promptly withdrew his fleet and contingent of 20,000 men from Northern Italy.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.


On the other hand, the Corresponding Society and the Society for Constitutional Information kept up an open correspondence with the National Convention of France, even after the bloody massacres of September of this year, which we have yet to mention. Unwarned by these facts, they professed to see, in the example of Frenchmen, the only chance of the liberation of the English nation from the oppressions of the Crown and of an overgrown aristocracy. They made no secret of their desire to establish a Republic in Great Britain; and the Society for Constitutional Information included amongst its members a number of red-hot Americans. These Societies and the Revolutionary Society in London continued to send over glowing addresses to the French Convention, declaring their desire to fraternise with them for liberty and equality, and their determination never again to fight with Frenchmen at the command of despots.

It is impossible to conceive the extent of suffering and desolation inflicted upon society, almost every family being involved, more or less, in the general calamity. Flourishing firms were bankrupt, opulent merchants impoverished, the masses of working people suddenly thrown out of employment, and reduced to destitution; and all from causes with which the majority had nothing to do—causes that could have been prevented by a proper monetary system. If Bank of England notes had been a legal tender, to all intents and purposes supplying the place of gold as currency; if these notes had been supplied to the country banks in any quantities they required, ample security being taken to have assets equal to their respective issues, then the currency would have had an elastic, self-adjusting power, expanding or contracting according to the requirements of commerce. Inordinate speculation would not have been stimulated by a reckless system of credit, and business would have been conducted in a moderate and judicious manner, instead of rushing on at a high pressure that rendered a crash inevitable. The Government, after anxious and repeated deliberations, supplied a remedy on this principle. They determined to issue one-pound and two-pound notes of the Bank of England, for country circulation, to any amount required. In the meantime the Mint was set to work with all its resources in the coining of sovereigns[244], which, for the course of a week, were thrown off at the rate of 150,000 a day. The notes could not be manufactured fast enough to meet the enormous demand for carrying on the business of the country. In this dilemma the Bank was relieved by a most fortunate discovery—a box containing £700,000, in one- and two-pound notes that had been retired, but which were at once put into circulation. The people having thus got notes with Government security, the panic subsided, and the demand for gold gradually ceased. The restoration of confidence was aided by resolutions passed at a meeting of bankers and merchants in the City of London, declaring that the unprecedented embarrassments and difficulties under which the circulation of the country laboured were mainly to be ascribed to a general panic, for which there were no reasonable grounds; that they had the fullest confidence in the means and substance of the banking establishments of the capital and the country; that returning confidence would remove all the symptoms of distress caused by the alarms of the timid, so fatal to those who were forced to sacrifice their property to meet unexpected demands. The new measures so promptly adopted and so vigorously carried into effect, raised the circulation of the Bank of England notes in three weeks from £17,477,290 to £25,611,800. Thus the regular and healthful action of the monetary system was restored by an adequate circulation of paper money, on Government security, without specie to sustain it. There were at the time of the crash 770 country bankers; 63 stopped payment, 23 of them having subsequently resumed business, and paid twenty shillings in the pound; and even those that were not able to resume, paid an average of seventeen shillings and sixpence in the pound. It was estimated that the total loss to the country by this panic was one hundred million pounds.DR. CHALMERS. (After the Portrait by John Faed, R.S.A.)

But at length the thunder of the Russian cannon roused him from this delirious dreaming. Kutusoff, inducing Murat by a stratagem to declare the armistice at an end, attacked his position and defeated him, with a loss of two thousand men killed, and one thousand five hundred taken prisoners. He took his cannon and baggage, and drove him from his entrenchments. The only food found in the French camp was horseflesh and flayed cats; the King of Naples had no better for his table—thus showing the miserable straits to which they were reduced. On the 19th of October Buonaparte marched out of Moscow, leaving, however, a strong garrison in the Kremlin, under Mortier, for it would appear that he still intended to return thither. The army which followed him still consisted of nearly one hundred and twenty thousand men, accompanied by five hundred and fifty pieces of cannon, and two thousand artillery waggons. Buonaparte spoke with affected cheerfulness to his generals, saying that he would march by Kaluga to the frontiers of Poland, where they would go into comfortable winter quarters. After the army came another host of camp-followers of French who had been resident at Moscow but dared not remain behind, and a vast train of carriages loaded with baggage and the spoils of Moscow.[49]

Philip V. of Spain died on the 9th of July, and his son and successor, Ferdinand VI., showed himself far less anxious for the establishment of Don Philip in Italy—a circumstance unfavourable to France. On the contrary, he entered into separate negotiations with England. A Congress was opened at Breda, but the backwardness of Prussia to support the views of England, and the successes of the French in the Netherlands, caused the Congress to prove abortive.



MR. HUSKISSON.The first transactions of the campaign of 1795 which demand our attention, are those of Holland. To the British army these were most disastrous, and came to an end before the winter closed. The Duke of York had returned to England early in December, 1794, leaving the chief command to General Walmoden, a Hanoverian, second to whom was General Dundas. Walmoden had gone quietly into winter quarters in the isle of Bommel, forgetting that the firmness of the ice would soon leave him exposed with his small force to the overwhelming swarms of the French, under Pichegru, who, in the middle of December, crossed the Waal with two hundred thousand men, and drove in his lines. General Dundas advanced against him with eight thousand men, and, for the time, drove the French back, on the 30th of December, across the Waal. But this could not last with such disproportionate forces, especially as our troops were left with the most wretched commissariat, and an equally wretched medical staff; in fact, there were neither surgeons to attend the greater part of the wounded, nor medicines for the sick. On the 4th of January, 1795, the French came back with their overpowering numbers, and on the 6th the British were compelled to retire across the Leck, and continue their retreat, suffering indescribable miseries from the want of food, tents, and proper clothes, in the horrors of a Dutch winter. Notwithstanding this, the British repeatedly turned and drove back the enemy with heavy slaughter. But on the 11th of January Pichegru attacked them in a defile between Arnhem and Nimeguen, with a condensed force of seventy thousand men, and took every measure to destroy, or compel the surrender of, the whole British army. They, however, fought their way through and continued their march for the Elbe, the only quarter open to them. During this retreat they were less harassed by the French, who fell off to occupy Utrecht and Rotterdam, than by the fury of the winter and the hostility of the Jacobinised Dutch, who cursed them as the cause of all the sufferings of their country. Such was the end of Britain's campaign for the defence of her Dutch allies. Holland was proclaimed a free Republic under the protection of France, and Britain immediately commenced operations for indemnifying herself, by seizing the ships and colonies of her late ally in every quarter of the globe. They intercepted the homebound Dutch Indiamen, and when the Council of Government sent deputies to London to reclaim them, Lord Grenville, the Foreign Minister, asked them in what character they came. They replied, that they came as representatives of the sovereign people of Batavia. The Foreign Minister said he knew of no such Power, and declined to receive them. No time was lost in seizing the Dutch colonies and factories. On the 14th of July Admiral Sir G. Keith Elphinstone appeared in Table Bay, and landed a considerable force under command of Major-General Craig. They possessed themselves of Simon's Town and the strong fort of Muyzenberg, and in the beginning of September, being reinforced by another body of troops, under Major-General Alured Clarke, on the 23rd of that month they were masters of Cape Town. A similar activity was displayed in the East Indies; and in the course of the year, or early in 1796, all the Dutch possessions in Ceylon, Malacca, Cochin, Amboyna, and other places were surrendered to the British. The same seizures were in course of execution on the settlements of the Dutch in the West Indies, and on the coast of South America.

EDMUND BURKE. (After the portrait by George Romney.)The spring of 1810 witnessed one of the most important events of the reign of Napoleon, and one which, no doubt had a decided influence on his fate—his divorce from Josephine and his marriage with Maria Louisa, the archduchess of Austria. It had long been evident to those about[2] Napoleon that a change of this kind would take place. Josephine had brought the Emperor no child, and, ambitious in every way, he was as much so of leaving lineal successors to the throne and empire which he had created, as he was of making that empire co-extensive with Europe. Josephine, strongly attached to him, as well as to the splendour of his position, had long feared such a catastrophe, and had done all in her power to divert his mind from it. She proposed to him that he should adopt an heir, and she recommended to him her own son, Eugene Beauharnais. But this did not satisfy Buonaparte. She then turned his attention to a child of her daughter, Hortense Beauharnais, by his brother Louis, the King of Holland. This would have united her own family to his, and to this scheme Buonaparte appeared to consent. He showed much affection for the child, and especially as the boy displayed great pleasure in looking at arms and military man?uvres; and on one occasion of this kind Buonaparte exclaimed, "There is a child fit to succeed, perhaps to surpass me!" But neither was this scheme destined to succeed. The child sickened and died, and with it almost the last hope of Josephine. Whilst at Erfurt with the Emperor Alexander, in 1808, Buonaparte had actually proposed for a Russian archduchess; nay, in 1807 he had made such overtures at the Treaty of Tilsit. Thus the idea had been settled in his mind three years, at least, before it was realised. The Russian match had on both occasions been evaded, on the plea of the difference of religion; but the truth was that the notion of such an alliance was by no means acceptable to the Imperial family of Russia. The Empress and the Empress-mother decidedly opposed it; and though the plea of difference of religion was put forward, Buonaparte could not but feel that the real reasons were very different—that he was looked on as a successful adventurer, whose greatness might some day dissolve as speedily as it had grown, and that, be this as it might, the Russian family were not disposed to receive him, a parvenu monarch, into their old regal status.


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