The demoralisation appeared further in the abuses connected with the distribution of relief. The reports of the Commissioners have stated that, in those districts where the relief committees worked together with zeal and in good faith, the administration was excellent, checking fraud and imposture, while it relieved the really distressed. But in some districts this was unhappily not the case. Abuses existed, varying from apathy and neglect to connivance at frauds and misappropriation of the funds. Gross impositions were daily practised by the poor. The dead or absent were personated; children were lent for a few days in order to give the appearance of large families, and thus entitle the borrowers to a greater number of rations. Almost the whole population, in many cases, alleged poverty and looked for relief; and then, conceiving the receipt of cooked food a degradation, they endeavoured to compel the issue of raw meal. One universal spirit of mendicancy pervaded the people, to which in several places the committees offered no opposition. Yielding to intimidation, or seeking for popularity, they were willing to place the whole population indiscriminately on the lists to be supported by public charity.
On the 28th of September the combined army of French and Americans came in sight of York Town, and encamped about two miles from the outworks. The next morning they extended themselves towards the left of Cornwallis, but cautiously; and the English pickets slowly retired within the outer lines at their approach. That evening Cornwallis received a despatch from Sir Henry Clinton, dated September 24th, which gave the cheering expectation that he was duly sensible of the imminence of the danger, and of his responsibility. He said:—"At a meeting of the general and flag officers held this day, it is determined that above five thousand men, rank and file, shall be embarked on board the king's ships, and the joint exertions of the navy and army made in a few days to relieve you, and afterwards to co-operate with you. The fleet consists of twenty-three sail of the line, three of which are three-deckers. There is every reason to hope that we start on the 5th of October." On this promising intimation of speedy aid, Cornwallis immediately drew in his small force from the extended outworks, and concentrated them within the entrenchments round the town. Undoubtedly it was a measure calculated to save much life, which must have been lost in defending outworks too widely extended for the enclosed force; but it encouraged the Americans, who did not expect to gain them thus easily. Two thousand men took up their ground before Gloucester. Round York Town itself Washington, Rochambeau, Lafayette, and St. Simon concentrated their forces. On the night of the 1st of October, the French on the right and the Americans on the left drew nearer, and commenced breaking ground. Six days were then spent in bringing from the ships fifty pieces of cannon, some of them very heavy, ammunition, and other military stores; in fact, as much preparation was made for carrying this single post as if it had been a regular and first-rate fortress. On the night of the 6th of October the French and Americans began casting up their first parallel within six hundred yards of Cornwallis's lines. By the 9th of October their trenches and batteries were completed, and that afternoon they opened a tremendous fire on the town. Cornwallis replied to them with vigour, but he found many of his guns on the left silenced, and his works greatly damaged. On the night of the 11th the enemy began their second parallel within three hundred yards of the lines. In its progress, for three days, Cornwallis committed much havoc amongst them by opening fresh embrasures for guns, and pouring an incessant shower upon them of balls and shells. Two redoubts on the left flank of the British more particularly annoyed them, and Washington determined to carry these by storm. Of course they were carried, and their guns then turned on York Town.An attempt was made during the Session to mitigate the evils of the Game Laws, and a Bill for legalising the sale of game passed the Commons with extraordinary unanimity. In the House of Lords the Bill met with determined opposition. In vain Lord Wharncliffe demonstrated the demoralising and disorganising effects of the Game Laws. Lord Westmoreland was shocked at a measure which he declared would depopulate the country of gentlemen. He could not endure such a gross violation of the liberty of the aristocratic portion of the king's subjects; and he thought the guardians of the Constitution in the House of Commons must have been asleep when they allowed such a measure to pass. Lord Eldon, too, who was passionately fond of shooting, had his Conservative instincts aroused almost as much by the proposal to abolish the monopoly of killing hares and pheasants, as by the measure for admitting Roman Catholics into Parliament. The Bill was read a second time, by a majority of ten; but more strenuous exertions were called forth by the division, and the third reading of this Bill to mitigate an iniquitous system was rejected by a majority of two. Lord Eldon's familiarity with the principles of equity did not enable him to see the wrong of inflicting damage to the amount of ￡500,000 a year on the tenant farmers of the country, by the depredations of wild animals, which they were not permitted to kill, and for the destruction caused by which they received no compensation.
The next person to attempt the impossible in the vain endeavour to keep the vessel of the old French monarchy afloat with all its leaks and rottenness, was the Archbishop of Toulouse, Loménie de Brienne. He had vigorously opposed Calonne; but there was no way of raising the necessary revenue but to adopt some of the very proposals of Calonne, and tax the privileged classes, or to attempt to draw something still from the exhausted people. As the less difficult experiment of the two, he was compelled to cast his eyes towards the property of the nobles and the Church; but he found the nobles and the clergy as ready to sacrifice him as they had been to sacrifice Calonne. When one or two of the more pliant or more enlightened members of those classes ventured to remark on the vast amount of untaxed property, and particularly of tithes, there was an actual tempest of fury raised. Tithes were declared to be the voluntary offerings of the piety of the faithful, and therefore not to be touched. As further loans were out of the question, some one ventured to assert that the only means of solving the difficulty was to assemble the States General. "You would convoke the States General?" said the Minister in consternation. "Yes," replied Lafayette, who was bent on revolutionising France, as he had helped to revolutionise America—"yes, and something more than that!" These words were taken down as most exceptionable and dangerous. All that the Assembly of Notables could be brought to do was to confirm the abolition of the corvée, and to pass a stamp act. They would not move a step further, and they were dismissed by the king on the 25th of May, 1787. The Parliament, or Chief Court of Justice, adopted a similar course, and it also was dismissed. The king then promulgated a new constitution, but it fell hopelessly to the ground.In Germany, Frederick of Prussia was hard put to it. A fresh army of Russians, under General Soltikow, advanced to the Oder, and another army of Austrians, under Laudohn, advanced to form a junction with them. To prevent this, Frederick sent General Wedel to encounter the Russians, but he was defeated by them on the 23rd of July, with heavy loss. Frederick himself then hastened against them, but, before his arrival, the Austrians had joined Soltikow, making a united force of sixty thousand, which Frederick attacked, on the 12th of August, with forty-eight thousand, at the village of Kunersdorf, close to Frankfort-on-the-Oder. At first he was successful; but, attempting to push his advantages, he was completely beaten, the whole of his army being killed or scattered to three thousand men. So completely did his ruin now seem accomplished, that, expecting the Russians, Austrians, Poles, Swedes, and Saxons to come down on him on all sides, he once more contemplated taking the poison that he still carried about him; wrote a letter to that effect to his Prime Minister, and directed the oath of allegiance to be taken to his nephew, and that his brother, Prince Henry, should be regent; but finding that the Russians, who had lost twenty thousand men, were actually drawing off, he again took courage, was soon at the head of thirty thousand men, and with these was hastening to the relief of Dresden, when he was paralysed by the news that General Finck, with twelve thousand men, had suffered himself to be surrounded at Maxen, and compelled to surrender. Despairing of relieving Dresden during this campaign, Frederick eventually took up his winter quarters at Freiberg, in Saxony, and employed himself in raising and drilling fresh soldiers; compelled, however, to pay his way by debasing both the Prussian coin, and the English gold which he received in subsidy, by a very large alloy.
In Britain there were terrible outcries in consequence of the scarcity of bread. There were rioting and plundering of corn-factors' and bakers' shops, and Government passed a number of Acts giving premiums on the importation of grain, and forbidding the making of any but mixed and coarse breads. Had not large subscriptions been raised, and private benevolence been called forth to an immense extent for the relief of the distress, the consequences would have been more terrible. Pitt was in favour of remedial legislation, but Grenville was against interfering with the laws of supply and demand.The enemy, meanwhile, were on the alert, trying, by their fleets and armies, to assail us in almost every quarter. In the very opening days of the year—at the very commencement of January, 1781—the French made an attack on the island of Jersey. They had sent across the Channel a fleet carrying nearly two thousand men; but their ships met the common fortune that has ever attended invaders of Britain: they were scattered by tempests, many of them dashed on the rocks of those iron-bound shores, and some driven back to port. They managed, however, to land eight hundred men by night, and surprised the town of St. Helier's, taking prisoner its Lieutenant-Governor, Major Corbet, who thereupon thinking all lost, agreed to capitulate. But the next officer in command, Major Pierson, a young man of only twenty-five, refused to comply with so pusillanimous an order. He rallied the troops and encouraged the inhabitants, who fired on the French from their windows. The invaders, surrounded in the market-place, were compelled to surrender, after their commander, the Baron de Rullecourt, and many of his soldiers, were killed. The gallant young Pierson was himself killed by nearly the last shot.The Budget did not retrieve the popularity of Ministers. Sir Francis Baring proposed to make up for an estimated deficit of ￡2,421,000 by an alteration of the timber duties producing ￡600,000 a year, and an alteration of the sugar duties producing ￡700,000. Both these changes were in the direction of free trade, and a still more significant proposal was the repeal of the existing corn law, and the substitution of a low fixed duty of 8s. a quarter on wheat. The House, however, would not accept such a budget from a Government whose Premier had in the previous year declared that "the responsible advisers of the Crown would not propose any change in the Corn Laws." After a debate of eight nights the Ministry were defeated on the sugar duties by 317 votes to 281. Still they did not resign, and the Opposition in consequence had recourse to a direct vote of censure.
The changes in the manners and morals of the age since the reign of George III. have been sufficiently indicated in the preceding pages. Corresponding changes were gradually introduced in the world of fashion, though the conservative instinct of the aristocracy and the spirit of exclusiveness resisted innovation as long as possible. What was called "good society" was wonderfully select. The temple of fashion at the beginning of the reign of George IV. was Almack's; and the divinities that under the name of lady patronesses presided there were the Ladies Castlereagh, Jersey, Cowper, and Sefton, the Princess Esterhazy and the Countess Lieven. These and their associates gave the tone to the beau monde. We can scarcely now conceive the importance that was then attached to the privilege of getting admission to Almack's. Of the 300 officers of the Foot Guards, not more than half a dozen were honoured with vouchers. The most popular and influential amongst the grandes dames was Lady Cowper, afterwards Lady Palmerston. Lady Jersey was not popular, being inconceivably rude and insolent in her manner. Many diplomatic arts, much finesse, and a host of intrigues were set in motion to get an invitation to Almack's. Very often persons whose rank and fortune entitled them to the entrée anywhere were excluded by the cliquism of the lady patronesses. Trousers had come into general use. They had been first worn by children, then adopted in the army, and from the army they came into fashion with civilians. But they were rigidly excluded from Almack's, as well as the black tie, which also came into use about this time. The female oligarchy who ruled the world of fashion, or tried to do so, issued a solemn proclamation that no gentleman should appear at the assemblies without being dressed in knee-breeches, white cravat, and chapeau bras. On one occasion, we are told, the Duke of Wellington was about to ascend the staircase of the ball-room, dressed in black trousers, when the vigilant Mr. Willis, the guardian of the establishment, stepped forward, and said, "Your Grace cannot be admitted in trousers." Whereupon the great captain quietly retreated, without daring to storm the citadel of fashion. The principal dances at Almack's had been Scottish reels, and the old English country dance. In 1815 Lady Jersey introduced from Paris the quadrille which has so long remained popular. The mazy waltz was also imported about the same time. Among the first who ventured to whirl round the salons of Almack's was Lord Palmerston, his favourite partner being Madame Lieven. This new dance was so diligently cultivated in the houses of the nobility and gentry that the upper classes were affected with a waltzing mania.On the 5th of February General Pollock reached Peshawur, and found the troops under Brigadier Wild for the most part sick and disorganised. His first care was to restore the morale of the troops. Even the officers had yielded to an unworthy panic. Some of them openly declared against another attempt to force the Khyber Pass, and one said he would do his best to dissuade every sepoy of his corps from entering it again. Owing to this state of things, Pollock was compelled to remain inactive through the months of February and March, though the eyes of all India were turned upon him, and the most urgent letters reached him from Sale and M'Gregor to hasten to their relief. But the general was resolved not to risk another failure, and his duty was to wait patiently till the health, spirits, and discipline of the troops were restored, and until fresh regiments arrived.
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Yet, in that blind and defiant spirit, which he continued to show till he had lost the colonies, George created Bernard a baronet on his reaching home, for having, in effect, brought Massachusetts to the verge of rebellion; and, to show his emphatic sense of these services, he himself paid all the expenses of the patent.De Tolly halted at Rudnia, half way between Vitebsk and Smolensk, and there was considerable man?uvring between the rival generals to surprise one another, but this resulted in nothing but the loss of several days. On the 14th of August they arrived at the Dnieper, and Murat dashed across and attacked the rear-guard of the Russians on the opposite bank. Newerowskoi, the general in command, stood his ground well, and then made a good retreat to Smolensk. His retreat was reckoned an advantage on the part of the French; and as it happened to be Buonaparte's birthday, and the anniversary of the canonisation of St. Napoleon—whom Buonaparte had had made a saint,—a hundred guns were fired in commemoration. On the 15th Buonaparte pressed after the Russians towards Smolensk. The united Russian army now amounted to one hundred and eighty thousand men, and Buonaparte had already lost one-third of his active force. Barclay de Tolly, therefore, appeared here to make a stand, much to the delight of Buonaparte, who cried out, exultingly, "Now I have them!"
From the Painting by Andrew C. Gow, R.A.
Howe's real intention had been to enter the Delaware, and proceed up it direct to Philadelphia; but, understanding that the Americans had placed enormous impediments in the river, he stood away for the mouth of the Elk, in Chesapeake Bay. He was tediously detained by the contrary winds that always prevail on that course in that season, and it was the 28th of August before he entered the Elk, and reached the Elk head, where he landed his troops. On the 2nd of September (1777) he began his march for Philadelphia. He soon came upon a body of Washington's army at Iron Hill, which he charged and drove from the hill. On the 11th he came in sight of Washington's main army, strongly posted and fortified on the forks of the Brandywine river. Here Howe's dispositions were excellent. He sent forward, under General Knyphausen, the second division, which advanced to a ford called Chad's Ford, and drove a detachment of Americans across it. Howe then advanced, and, planting his cannon along the bank of the river, he engaged the Americans in a brisk cannonade across the stream. Meanwhile, Lord Cornwallis was silently marching in the rear of Howe's troops, round to another ford at the forks of the Brandywine, which he crossed, and took Washington's army in the rear. On firing his signal gun, the Americans were thrown into consternation, and at the same moment Knyphausen dashed across Chad's Ford, and drove the surprised Americans from their batteries and entrenchments at the point of the bayonet. The batteries were instantly turned against them, and Cornwallis, who had been checked by a division under Sullivan, coming up, there was a general rout. The Americans fled in utter confusion, having lost three hundred killed, six hundred wounded, and four hundred taken prisoners. The English had one hundred killed and four hundred wounded.THE CORONATION OF QUEEN VICTORIA. (After the Picture by Sir George Hayter.)详情
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