CHAPTER VIII. REIGN OF WILLIAM IV.
FIVE-GUINEA PIECE OF GEORGE I.[See larger version]
On the 17th of February he introduced this plan in two Bills. He declared that his policy had always been pacific; that he had never proposed any tax on the Americans—when he came into office he had found them taxed already; that he had tried conciliatory means before the sword was drawn, and would still gladly try them. He had thought the former propositions to the Americans very reasonable, and he thought so still. Forgetful of the hopes that he had held out, of assisting the revenues of Great Britain by the taxation of Americans, he now surprised his auditors by asserting that he had never expected to derive much revenue from America, and that, in reality, the taxes imposed had not paid the expenses of the attempt to collect them. The first of his Bills, therefore, he entitled one "For removing all doubts and apprehensions concerning taxation by the Parliament of Great Britain in any of the colonies." It repealed entirely the tea duty in America, and declared "that from and after the passing of this Act, the king and Parliament of Great Britain will not impose any duty, tax, or assessment whatever, in any of his Majesty's colonies, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of commerce, the nett produce of such duty to be always paid and applied to and for the use of the colony in which the same shall be levied." The second Bill removed some otherwise insuperable obstacles to a treaty. The Commissioners—five in number—were to raise no difficulties as to the legal ranks or titles of those with whom they would have to negotiate. They were empowered to proclaim a cessation of hostilities on the part of the king's forces by sea or land for any necessary term and on any necessary conditions. They might suspend all the Acts of Parliament respecting America passed since 1763, yet the Bill excepted the repeal of the Massachusetts Charter, and introduced that into a separate Act—another weak measure, for on such an occasion the only wisdom was to wipe away all Acts, or repeal of Acts, which had arisen out of these unhappy differences. The effect of this statement has been well described in the Annual Register of that year, in an article supposed to be from the hand of Burke:—"A dull, melancholy silence for some time succeeded this speech. It had been heard with profound attention, but without a single mark of approbation of any part, from any description of men, or any particular man in the House. Astonishment, dejection, and fear overclouded the whole assembly. Although the Minister had declared that the sentiments he had expressed that day had been those which he always entertained, it is certain that few or none had understood him in that manner, and he had been represented to the nation at large as the person in it the most tenacious of those Parliamentary rights which he now proposed to resign, and the most adverse to the submissions which he now proposed to make."Having reported to Mr. Canning the result of his diplomatic efforts at Paris, the Duke set out on his journey to Vienna, where he arrived on the 29th of September, and where he expected the Congress to be held. But there again England's plenipotentiary, the great conqueror of Napoleon, who had restored the legitimate despots to their thrones, was treated with as little consideration as at Paris. Not till his arrival did he learn that the Congress which he was invited to attend was not to be held at Vienna at all, but at Verona. Meanwhile, in the interval between the adjournment from one city to another, the Allied Sovereigns were paying a visit of friendship to the King of Bavaria, whose system of government no doubt met with their unqualified approval. As the Duke's instructions forbade him to meddle with Italian affairs, he tarried at Vienna till he should receive further instructions from his own Government. While awaiting an answer he had opportunities of conferring personally with the Czar, who had obtained an ascendency in the councils of the Holy Alliance which rendered him the virtual master of every situation. With regard to the affairs of Turkey, the Duke succeeded in obtaining from his Imperial Majesty an assurance that, unless driven to it by some unforeseen and irresistible necessity, he would not come to an open rupture with the Sultan. He was not so successful in his exertions with regard to the Spanish question, on which the Czar was in an irritable mood. He said that Spain was the very centre and focus of revolutionary principles, and he felt it to be the duty not less than the policy of the Allied Sovereigns to trample them out at their source, and for this purpose he had proposed to contribute 150,000 men, whom he intended to march into Spain through French territory. In reply to the Duke's earnest remonstrances against this course, the Czar put a question which betrays the aggressive policy of military despots. He asked what he was to do with his army. It insisted upon being led against Turkey, and was only restrained because he had expressed his determination of employing it in putting down what he called Jacobinism in the west.
It might have been supposed that Europe, or at least the southern portion of it, was likely to enjoy a considerable term of peace. France, under a minor and a Regent, appeared to require rest to recruit its population and finances more than any part of the Continent. The King of Spain was too imbecile to have any martial ambition; and though his wife was anxious to secure the succession to the French throne in case of the death of the infant Louis XV., yet Alberoni, the Prime Minister, was desirous to remain at peace. This able Churchman, who had risen from the lowest position, being the son of a working gardener, and had made his way to his present eminence partly by his abilities and partly by his readiness to forget the gravity of the clerical character for the pleasure of his patrons, was now zealously exerting himself to restore the condition of Spain. He was thus brought into collision with Austria and France, and eventually with this country to which at first he was well disposed. England was under engagement both to France and the Empire, which must, on the first rupture with either of those Powers and Spain, precipitate her into war. The treaty with the Emperor—as it guaranteed the retention of the Italian provinces, which Spain beheld with unappeasable jealousy, in Austrian hands—was the first thing to change the policy of Alberoni towards Britain. This change was still further accelerated by the news of the Triple Alliance, which equally guaranteed the status quo of France. The Spanish Minister displayed his anger by suspending the Treaty of Commerce, and by conniving at the petty vexations practised by the Spaniards on the English merchants in Spain, and by decidedly rejecting a proposal of the King of England to bring about an accommodation between the Emperor and the Court of Spain.
LOUIS KOSSUTH.Perceiving the fatal separation of the Prussians from each other, and from their supplies at Naumburg, he determined to cut their army in two, and then to cut off and seize their magazines at this place. He therefore ordered the French right wing, under Soult and Ney, to march upon Hof, while the centre, under Bernadotte and Davoust, with the guard commanded by Murat, advanced on Saalburg and Schleitz. The left wing, under Augereau, proceeded towards Saalfeld and Coburg. Naumburg was seized, and its magazines committed to the flames, and this, at the same moment that it ruined their resources, apprised them that the French were in their rear; and, still worse, were between them and Magdeburg, which should have been their rallying-point. To endeavour to make some reparation of their error, and to recover Naumburg, the Duke of Brunswick marched in that direction, but too late. Davoust was in possession of the place, and had given the magazine to the flames, and he then marched out against Brunswick, who was coming with sixty thousand men, though he had only about half that number. Brunswick, by activity, might have seized the strong defile of Koesen; but he was so slow that Davoust forced it open and occupied it. On the evening of the 13th of October the duke was posted on the heights of Auerstadt, and might have retained that strong position, but he did not know that Davoust was so near; for the scout department seemed as much neglected as other precautions. Accordingly, the next morning, descending from the heights to pursue his march, his advanced line suddenly came upon that of Davoust in the midst of a thick fog, near the village of Hassen-Haussen. The battle continued from eight in the morning till eleven, when the Duke of Brunswick was struck in the face by a grape-shot, and blinded of both eyes. This, and the severe slaughter suffered by the Prussians, now made them give way. The King of Prussia, obliged to assume the command himself, at this moment received the discouraging news that General Hohenlohe was engaged at Jena on the same day (October 14) with the main army, against Buonaparte himself. Resolving to make one great effort to retrieve his fortunes, he ordered a general charge to be made along the whole French line. It failed; the Prussians were beaten off, and there was a total rout. The Prussians fled towards Weimar, where were the headquarters of their army, only to meet the fugitives of Hohenlohe, whose forces at the battle of Jena were very inferior to those of the French, and whose defeat there was a foregone conclusion.
The Parliamentary Session for 1845 was opened by the Queen in person on the 4th of February. At a meeting a few days earlier, Mr. Cobden had warned his hearers that no change in the Corn Laws could be expected from Sir Robert Peel so long as the Ministry could avail themselves of the old excuse, the revived prosperity of manufactures and commerce. "Ours," he had said, "is a very simple proposition. We say to the right honourable baronet, 'Abolish the monopolies which go to enrich that majority which placed you in power and keeps you there.' We know he will not attempt it; but we are quite certain he will make great professions of being a Free Trader, notwithstanding."Wellington proceeded to put Badajoz into a strong state of defence, but he was soon called off by the movements of Marmont, who, in his absence, had advanced and invested both Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida. Wellington left General Hill to watch the south, which was the more necessary as Soult was in strong force at Seville, and Victor before Cadiz. That general had made a vigorous attack on Tarifa towards the end of December, but was repulsed with much loss by Colonel Skerrett. Hill, who had about twelve thousand men, made a successful attack on some strong forts near Almaraz, on the Tagus, erected by the French to protect their bridge of boats there—thus closing the communication between Soult in the south and Marmont in the north. In these satisfactory circumstances, Wellington broke up his cantonments between the Coa and the Agueda on the 13th of June, and commenced his march into Spain with about forty thousand men. Of these, however, one column consisted of Spaniards, on whom he wisely placed little reliance, and his cavalry was small and indifferently officered in comparison with the infantry. Marmont had as many infantry as himself, and a much more numerous and better disciplined cavalry. As Wellington advanced, too, he learned that General Bonnet, with a force upwards of six thousand strong, was hastening to support Marmont. That general abandoned Salamanca as Wellington approached, and on the 17th the British army entered the city, to the great joy of the people, who, during the three years which the French had held it, had suffered inconceivable miseries and insults; not the least of these was to see the usurper destroy twenty-two of the twenty-five colleges in this famous seat of learning, and thirteen out of twenty-five convents. Troops were left in different forts, both in the city and by the bridge over the river Tormes, which forts had chiefly been constructed out of the materials of the schools and monasteries. These were soon compelled to surrender, but not without heavy loss. Major Bowes and one hundred and twenty men fell in carrying those by the bridge. After different man?uvres, Marmont showed himself on the British right, near San Christoval, where he was met by a division under Sir Thomas Graham, who had beaten the French at Barrosa. Fresh man?uvres then took place: Marmont crossing and recrossing the Douro, and marching along its banks, to cut off Wellington from his forces in Salamanca, and to enable himself to open the way for King Joseph's troops from Madrid. This being accomplished, and being joined by General Bonnet, he faced the army of Wellington on the Guare?a. On the 20th of July he crossed that river, and there was a rapid movement of both armies, each trying to prevent the other from cutting off the way to Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo. On that day both armies were seen marching parallel to each other, and now and then exchanging cannon-shots. The military authorities present there describe the scene of those two rival armies—making a total of ninety thousand men, and each displaying all the splendour and discipline of arms, each general intent on taking the other at some disadvantage—as one of the finest spectacles ever seen in warfare. The next day both generals crossed the river Tormes—Wellington by the bridge in his possession, the French by fords higher up. They were now in front of Salamanca, Marmont still man?uvring to cut off the road to Ciudad Rodrigo. On the morning of the 22nd Marmont, favoured by some woods, gained some advantage in that direction; but Wellington drew up his troops in great strength behind the village of Arapiles, and Marmont extending his left to turn the British right flank, Wellington suddenly made a desperate dash at his line, and cut it in two. Marmont's left was quickly beaten on the heights that he had occupied, and was driven down them at the point of the bayonet. Marmont was so severely wounded that he was compelled to quit the field, and give up the command to Bonnet; but Bonnet was soon wounded too, and obliged to surrender the command to General Clausel, who had just arrived with reinforcements from "the army of the north," of which Wellington had had information, and which induced him to give battle before he could bring up all his force. Clausel reformed the line, and made a terrible attack on the British with his artillery; but Wellington charged again, though the fight was up hill; drove the French from their heights with the bayonet once more, and sent them in full rout through the woods towards the Tormes. They were sharply pursued by the infantry, under General Anson, and the cavalry, under Sir Stapleton Cotton, till the night stopped them. But at dawn the same troops again pursued them, supported by more horse; and overtaking the enemy's rear at La Serna, they drove it in—the cavalry putting spurs to their horses, and leaving the foot to their fate. Three battalions of these were made prisoners. As the French fled, they encountered the main body of Clausel's army of the north, but these turned and fled too; and on the night of the 23rd the fugitives had reached Flores de Avila, thirty miles from the field of battle. The flight and pursuit were continued all the way from Salamanca to Valladolid.
The new Administration took measures to render themselves popular. They advised the king to go down to the House on the 6th of May, and propose a reduction of the army to the extent of ten thousand men, as well as an Act of Grace to include many persons concerned in the late rebellion. Walpole and his friends, on the contrary, did all in their power to embarrass the Government. Lord Oxford was not included in the Act of Indemnity, and it was resolved now by his friends to have his trial brought on. Before this was effected, however, a violent attack was made on Lord Cadogan. As Ambassador at the Hague, he had superintended the embarkation of the Dutch troops sent to aid in putting down the rebellion. He was now charged with having committed gross peculations on that occasion. Shippen led the way in this attack, but Walpole and Pulteney pursued their former colleague with the greatest rancour, and Walpole declaimed against him so furiously that, after a speech of nearly two hours in length, he was compelled to stop by a sudden bleeding at the nose. Stanhope, Craggs, Lechmere, and others defended him; but such was the combination of enemies against him, or rather, against the Ministers, that the motion was only negatived by a majority of ten.
But the fleet at Sheerness, which sympathised with that at Portsmouth, did not think fit to accept the terms which had satisfied the seamen of Portsmouth. They were incited by a sailor, named Richard Parker, to stand for fresh demands, which were not likely to meet with the sympathy of either sailors or landsmen, being of a political character and including a revision of the Articles of War. On the 20th of May, the ships at the Nore, and others belonging to the North Sea fleet, appointed delegates, and sent in their demands, in imitation of the Portsmouth men. The Admiralty flatly rejected their petition. On the 23rd of May the mutineers hoisted the red flag; and all the ships of war lying near Sheerness dropped down to the Nore. On the 29th, a committee from the Board of Admiralty went down to Sheerness, to try to bring them to reason, but failed. The mutineers then drew their ships in a line across the Thames, cutting off all traffic between the sea and London. On this, the Government proceeded to pull up the buoys at the mouth of the river, to erect batteries along the shores for firing red-hot balls; and a proclamation was issued declaring the fleet in a state of rebellion, and prohibiting all intercourse with it. This soon brought some of the mutineers to their senses. They knew that every class of people was against them. On the 4th of June, the king's birthday, a royal salute was fired from the whole fleet, as a token of loyalty; the red flag was pulled down on every ship but the Sandwich, on board of which was Parker, and all the gay flags usual on such occasions were displayed. Several of the ships now began to drop away from the rest, and put themselves under protection of the guns of Sheerness. On the 13th of June the crew of the Sandwich followed this example, and delivered up the great agitator, Richard Parker, who was tried, and hanged at the yard-arm of that ship on the 30th. Some others of the delegates were executed, and others imprisoned in the hulks; and thus terminated this mutiny, as disgraceful to the sailors as that at Portsmouth was reasonable and honourable.Even now, had the Russians and Austrians possessed the spirit which the circumstances of the time demanded of them, they were far from being in a hopeless condition. Buonaparte was at an immense distance from his country. Besides the army still remaining with the two Emperors—at least sixty thousand in number—there were the strong forces of the Archdukes Charles and John in Hungary, and of Prince Ferdinand in Bohemia. By bold and skilful man?uvres they might have cut off his communications with France and Italy, and have harassed him, without committing themselves to a decided battle, till he must have found himself in a most perilous position. But Francis of Austria gave up the struggle in despair; he sent Prince John of Lichtenstein to propose a suspension of arms. Buonaparte insisted that they should first break with the Russians, and Lichtenstein said that Francis was quite willing, and to treat with Napoleon for a separate peace, but that he must claim for the Emperor Alexander the privilege of retreating into his own country without molestation. Buonaparte granted this as a favour, and added words so complimentary to Alexander, that they betrayed a wish to complete an agreement also with him. He returned to Vienna, and again occupied the palace of Sch?nbrunn. There he and Talleyrand concerted the demands which should be made; and an armistice was signed, on these terms, with Prince John of Lichtenstein, on the 6th of December. The final treaty was signed by the Emperor Francis, at Pressburg, on the 26th of December, a fortnight after Austerlitz. By this treaty Austria surrendered to Buonaparte all her territories in Italy, as well as her Venetian provinces of Dalmatia and on the coast of Albania. She surrendered her only seaport on the Adriatic, Trieste, and thus reduced herself to a mere inland power. She was compelled to cede to her rival, Bavaria, the Tyrol—a country most faithfully attached to the House of Hapsburg,—the bishopric of Passau, and other regions. Bavaria and Würtemberg, for their hostility to their own German race, were elevated into kingdoms, and Baden, for the same unpatriotic services, into a grand duchy. Thus France and her allies, or rather subjects, were now in possession of Switzerland, Italy, and the Tyrol on one side, and of Holland and Belgium on the other, so that she had everywhere an open high road into Germany, and nations of tributary princes, which were to aid in further enslaving it. Prussia had made up her mind on hearing of the victory of Austerlitz, and Haugwitz appeared at Sch?nbrunn, not to declare war on Buonaparte, but to compliment him on his victory. Buonaparte could not conceal his contempt for this despicable conduct. He said, "Ah! this compliment was intended for others, but fortune has transferred it to me;" but as he still intended to make use of Prussia, and could humiliate George III. by her means, he concluded a treaty with Haugwitz, by which he handed over Hanover to our late ally, and claimed Anspach in lieu of it. He then strengthened the Confederation of the Rhine, of which he was Protector, and so completely broke up the old federation of Germany, that Francis of Austria soon abandoned the title of Elective Emperor of Germany, and assumed that of Hereditary Emperor of Austria.详情
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