This open breach of the Royal Family was quickly followed by the death of the queen. Besides the misery of seeing her son and husband so awfully at variance, she had long been struggling with a complaint which, out of false delicacy, she had carefully concealed. "The queen's great secret," says Horace Walpole, "was her own rupture, which, till her last illness, nobody knew but the king, her German nurse, Mrs. Mailborne, and one other person, Lady Sundon."[See larger version]Foiled in these quarters, Alberoni appeared more successful in the North. A negotiation had been opened between the two potentates, so long at bitter variance, the Czar and Charles XII. of Sweden. They were induced to meet in the island of ?land, and to agree that the Czar should retain Livonia, and other Swedish territories south of Finland which he had torn from Sweden, but, in compensation, Charles was to be allowed to reconquer Bremen and Verden from George of Hanover and England, and Norway from Denmark; and the two monarchs were to unite their arms for the restoration of Stanislaus to the throne of Poland, and of the Pretender to that of Great Britain. The success of these arrangements appeared to Alberoni so certain that he boasted that the Northern tempest would burst ere long over England with annihilating fury; but even here he was doomed to disappointment. Charles XII. delighted in nothing so much as in wild and romantic enterprise. Such was that of the conquest of Norway; and he was led by his imagination to commence it without delay. With his characteristic madness, he divided his army into two parts, with one of which he took the way by the coast of Norway, and the other he sent over the mountains at the very beginning of winter. There that division perished in the snow amid the most incredible horrors; and he himself, whilst carrying on the siege of Frederickshall, was killed on the 11th of December, as appears probable, by the treacherous shot of a French engineer in his service. Almost simultaneously the Duke of Maine's conspiracy against the French Government was detected, and he and his wife, together with the Spanish Ambassador, were apprehended. There was nothing for it on the part of the Regent but to proclaim war against Spain—a measure which England had long been urging on him. The English declaration appeared on the 28th of December, 1718, and the French on the 9th of January, 1719.
On the 19th Collingwood signalled Nelson that the French fleet was coming out of Cadiz. On the morning of the 21st, when the British fleet lay about seven leagues north-west of Cape Trafalgar, the hostile fleet was discovered about seven miles to the eastward. Nelson ordered the fleet to bear down on the enemy. As Villeneuve approached, he veered so as to bring Cadiz under his lee, and thus secure a retreat into it. This compelled Nelson to shift his course a little more northward. Villeneuve had preconcerted a plan of action which he boasted would prevent Nelson from cutting his line, as was his custom. He determined to advance in two lines, with each alternate ship about a cable's length to the windward of her second ahead and astern, so that his fleet would represent the chequers of a draft-board. This plan, however, did not succeed. Nelson found now the shoals of San Pedro and Trafalgar under the lee of both fleets, and, dreading that he might be carried upon them at the end of the battle, he signalled, from the Victory, for the fleet to anchor at the close of the day. He then told Blackwood that he should not be satisfied unless he took twenty of the enemy's ships, and asked him whether he thought a general signal of action were not wanting. Blackwood replied that he thought the fleet all understood what they were about. But Nelson hoisted on his mizen top-mast his last signal—"England expects every Man to do his Duty." It was seen, and responded to with loud hurrahs.But though the 21st of January was to be the day of the grand attack on the Ministry, the battle was not deferred till then. Every day was a field-day, and the sinking Minister was dogged step by step, his influence weakened by repeated divisions, and his strength worn out by the display of the inevitable approach of the catastrophe. The first decided defeat that he suffered was in the election of the Chairman of Committees. The Ministerial candidate, Giles Earle, was thrown out by a majority of two hundred and forty-two to two hundred and thirty-eight, and the Opposition candidate, Dr. Lee, was hailed by a shout that rent the House. Other close divisions followed. The fall of Walpole was now certain, and he would have consulted both his dignity and comfort in resigning at once. This was the earnest advice of his friends, but he had been too long accustomed to power to yield willingly. He was oppressed with a sense of his defeats, and the insolence of enemies whom he had so long calmly looked down upon without fear. He was growing old and wanted repose, but he still clung convulsively to his authority, though he had ceased to enjoy it.
AN IRISH EVICTION, 1850.A Privy Council was held at Dublin Castle, at which it was determined to offer rewards for the arrest of the principal conspirators—￡500 for William Smith O'Brien, and ￡300 each for Meagher, Dillon, and O'Doherty. The offence charged was, having taken up arms against her Majesty. The rewards offered soon brought matters to a crisis. As soon as the proclamations were posted up, Sub-Inspector Trant proceeded from Callan, in the county Kilkenny, with a body of between fifty and sixty of the constabulary, in the hope of capturing some of the proclaimed rebels. Arrived on Boulagh Common, near Ballingarry, on the borders of Tipperary and Kilkenny, they took possession of a slated farmhouse, belonging to a widow named Cormack. This house they hastily fortified, by piling tables, beds, and other articles against the doors and windows. The insurrection actually commenced at a place called Mullinahone, where, at the ringing of the chapel bell, large numbers of the peasantry assembled in arms, and hailed Smith O'Brien as their general. He was armed with a short pike and several pistols, which he had fastened to a belt. On the 26th of July he went to the police barrack, where there were but six men, and endeavoured to persuade them to join him, promising better pay and promotion under the republic, and telling them that they would resist at their peril. They refused. He then demanded their arms, but they answered that they would die rather than surrender them. He gave them an hour to consider, but departed without carrying his threat into execution. On the 29th Mr. Smith O'Brien appeared on Boulagh Common with increased forces, who surrounded the house in which the constabulary were shut up. He went into the cabbage garden to speak to the police at an open window. He addressed one of the men, and earnestly pressed them to surrender and give up their arms. The constable said he would call Mr. Trant. That gentleman immediately hastened to the spot; but the rebel chief had taken his departure. Apprehending an attack, Mr. Trant immediately ordered his men to fire, when a battle commenced, which speedily terminated in the defeat of the rebels, of whom two were killed and several wounded. Two shots were aimed at Smith O'Brien without effect; but one of them hit a rebel who was standing by his side brandishing a pike. He was killed on the spot. Another party of police under the command of Mr. Cox, and accompanied by Mr. French, the stipendiary magistrate, came up at the instant, and fired on the rebels, after which they fled in the greatest disorder. Eighteen were killed, and a large number wounded. The police suffered no loss whatever. A large detachment of the 83rd Regiment and about 150 of the constabulary, with Inspector Blake, hastened to the defence of the besieged party; but when they arrived the danger was over, and the police returned to Callan. That evening twenty signal fires blazed on the mountain of Slieve-na-mon. Next day, being Sunday, the military did not attend public worship, and were everywhere kept on the alert. The greatest excitement appeared amongst the peasantry at the Roman Catholic chapels, who were in hourly expectation of being called upon to act, the most anxious solicitude being painted upon the countenances of the women. There is no doubt, from the temper of the population, that had the priests given the word, there would have been a general rising. But they almost universally condemned the conduct of the leaders as insane, and as certain to involve them and all who joined them in destruction. In the meantime, General Macdonald, at the head of his flying column, consisting of 1,700 men, pursued the insurgents, while troops and artillery were poured into Clonmel, Kilkenny, and Thurles. Near the latter place General Macdonald encamped on the domain of Turtulla, the seat of Mr. Maher, M.P. The butchers of Thurles refused to supply the men with meat, and consequently provisions had to be brought from the commissariat stores at Limerick, and large quantities of biscuits from Dublin, the people having broken into the house of the baker who supplied them with bread at Thurles and destroyed his furniture.For some time a monster petition to the House of Commons was being signed by the Chartists in all the towns throughout the United Kingdom, and the signatures were said to have amounted to five millions. It was to be presented on the 10th of April. Two hundred thousand men were to assemble on Kennington Common, and thence they were to march to Westminster, to back up their petition. Possibly they might force their way into the House of Commons, overpower the members, and put Mr. Feargus O'Connor in the Speaker's chair. Why might they not in this way effect a great revolution, like that which the working classes of Paris had just accomplished? If the French National Guard, and even the troops of the line, fraternised with the people, why should not the British army do likewise? Such anticipations would not have been unreasonable if Parliamentary and Municipal Reform had been up to this time resisted; if William IV. had been still upon the throne; if a Guizot had been Prime Minister, and a York or a Cumberland at the Horse Guards. The Chartists, when they laid their revolutionary plans, must have forgotten the loyalty of the English people, and the popularity of the young Queen. They could not have reflected that the Duke of Wellington had the command of the army; that he had a horror of riots; and that there was no man who knew better how to deal with them. Besides, every one in power must have profited by the unpreparedness of the French authorities, and the fatal consequences of leaving the army without orders and guidance. All who were charged with the preservation of the peace in England were fully awake to the danger, and early on the alert to meet the emergency. On the 6th of April a notice was issued by the Police Commissioners, warning the Chartists that the assemblage of large numbers of people, accompanied with circumstances tending to excite terror and alarm in the minds of her Majesty's subjects, was criminal; and that, according to an Act of the 13th of Charles II., no more than ten persons could approach the Sovereign, or either House of Parliament, on pretence of delivering petitions, complaints, or remonstrances; and that whereas information had been received that persons had been advised to procure arms and weapons to carry in procession from Kennington Common to Westminster, and whereas such proposed procession was calculated to excite terror in the minds of her Majesty's subjects, all persons were strictly enjoined not to attend the meeting in question, or take part in the procession; and all well-disposed persons were called upon and required to aid in the enforcement of the law, and the suppression of any attempt at disturbance.
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.
The South Sea Company, with a folly of which extreme greed only is capable, endeavoured to put down these rival schemes and obtained an order from the Lords Justices and writs of scire facias against several of these new bubbles. It was like raising a wind to blow away the bubbles, forgetting that their own was a bubble too, and would go with them. The moment that the people began to distrust one they distrusted all. The panic became as great as the mania had been. The South Sea stock dropped in less than a month from one thousand to below six hundred. There was a simultaneous rush to sell out, and the shares must have sunk instantly to nil but for the gigantic exertions of the Company to raise money and buy in. The relief, however, was but temporary. The bankers and pawnbrokers who had advanced money on scrip broke and fled; merchants, goldsmiths, and speculators rushed away after them. Walpole was summoned in haste from Haughton to devise some means of staying the panic. He endeavoured to get the Bank of England to circulate three millions of South Sea bonds for a year; but the Bank, seeing that the case was desperate, declined it. This was decisive. The rage and despair of the swarming dupes were indescribable. They heaped execrations not only on the South Sea Company, but on Ministers, the king, his mistresses, and the Royal Family, who had all been deep in the affair, and who had taken good care of themselves. George landed at Margate on the 9th of November, soon after which the South Sea stock fell to one hundred and thirty-five. On the 8th of December Parliament met, and promptly began to investigate the scandal.Bute made overtures to France through the neutral Court of Sardinia. Louis XV. and his Ministers caught at the very first whisper of such a thing with the eagerness of drowning men; a sufficient intimation to an able and cautious minister, that he might safely name his own terms. The ambassadors, however, soon found that the real business of the treaty was transacted between Bute, on the part of Britain, and the Duke de Choiseul, on that of France; and that not through ambassadors, but through Sardinian envoys.
But whilst Tchitchagoff attacked the French on the right bank, Wittgenstein attacked them on the left. The Russians then threw a bridge of pontoons over the river at Borissov, and, being in communication, attacked the French vehemently on both sides of the river at once. Buonaparte and the troops who were over the river forced their way across some marshes over wooden bridges, which the Russians had neglected to destroy, and reached Brelowa, a little above Borissov on the other side. But terrible now was the condition of the forces and the camp-followers who had not crossed. Wittgenstein, Victor, and Oudinot were engaged in mortal combat on the left bank at the approach of the bridge, the French generals endeavouring to beat off the Russians as the troops and people pressed in a confused crowd over the bridges. Every moment the Russians drove the French nearer to the bridges, and the scene of horror became indescribable. The throngs rushed to make their way over the bridge; the soldiers, forgetting their discipline, added to the confusion. The weak and helpless were trampled down; thousands were forced over the sides of the bridge, and perished in the freezing waters. In the midst of the struggle a fierce tempest arose, and deluges of rain fell; and to carry the horror to the highest pitch, the bridge over which the baggage was passing broke down, plunging numbers of sick, and women and children, into the flood, amid the most fearful cries and screams. But all night the distracted multitude continued to press over the sole remaining bridge under the fire of the Russian artillery, and amongst them passed the troops of Victor, who gave up the contest on the left bank, and left those who had not crossed to their fate. Thousands of poor wretches were seen, as morning dawned, huddled on the bank of the river, amid baggage-waggons and artillery, surrounded by the infuriated Russians, and in dumb despair awaiting their fate. To prevent the crossing of the Russians, the French set fire to the bridge, and left those behind to the mercy of the enemy.But Sir John Duckworth was to play a leading part in a still more abortive enterprise. There was a rumour that Buonaparte had promised the Grand Turk to aid him in recovering the provinces which Russia had reft from Turkey on the Danube, in the Crimea, and around the Black Sea, on condition that Egypt was given up to him. To prevent this, an expedition was fitted out to seize on this country. Between four and five thousand men were sent from our army in Sicily, under Major-General Mackenzie Frazer. They embarked on the 5th of May, and anchored off Alexandria on the 16th. The following morning General Frazer summoned the town to surrender, but the governor of the Viceroy Mehemet Ali replied that he would defend the place to the last man. On that day and the following a thousand soldiers and about sixty sailors were landed, and, moving forward, carried the advanced works with trifling loss. Some of the transports which had parted company on the voyage now arrived, the rest of the troops were landed; and, having secured the castle of Aboukir, Frazer marched on Alexandria, taking the forts of Caffarelli and Cretin on the way. On the 22nd Sir John Duckworth arrived with his squadron; the British army expected to hear that he had taken Constantinople, and his ill news created a just gloom amongst both officers and men. The people of Alexandria appeared friendly; but the place was, or seemed to be, destitute of provisions; and the transports had been so badly supplied that the men were nearly starved before they got there. The Alexandrians assured General Frazer that, in order to obtain provisions, he must take possession of Rosetta and Rahmanieh. Frazer, therefore, with the concurrence of Sir John Duckworth, dispatched Major-General Wauchope and Brigadier-General Mead to Rosetta, with one thousand two hundred men. The troops were entangled in the streets and shot down. A subsequent effort was made to besiege Rosetta in form. The troops reached Rosetta on the 9th of April, and posted themselves on the heights above it. They summoned the town formally to surrender, and received an answer of defiance. Instead of proceeding to bombard the town at once, Major-General Stewart waited for the arrival of a body of Mamelukes. The Mamelukes had been in deadly civil strife with Mehemet Ali, and had promised to co-operate with the British; and this was one of the causes which led the British Government to imagine that they could make themselves masters of Egypt with so minute a force. But the Mamelukes did not appear. Whilst waiting for them, Colonel Macleod was sent to occupy the village of El Hammed, to keep open the way for the expected succour; but Mehemet Ali had mustered a great force at Cairo, which kept back the Mamelukes; and, at the same time, he was reinforcing both Rosetta, and Rahmanieh. Instead of the Mamelukes, therefore, on the morning of the 22nd of April a fleet of vessels was seen descending the Nile, carrying a strong Egyptian force. Orders were sent to recall Colonel Macleod from El Hammed; but too late; his detachment was surrounded and completely cut off. The besieging force—scattered over a wide area, instead of being in a compact body—were attacked by overwhelming numbers; and, having no entrenched camp, were compelled to fight their way back to Alexandria as well as they could. When Stewart arrived there he had lost one half of his men. Mehemet Ali, in proportion as he saw the British force diminished, augmented his own. He collected and posted a vast army between Cairo and Alexandria, and then the Alexandrians threw off the mask and joined their countrymen in cutting off the supplies of the British, and murdering them on every possible occasion at their outposts. Frazer held out, in the vain hope of aid from the Mamelukes or from home, till the 22nd of August, when, surrounded by the swarming hosts of Mehemet Ali, and his supplies all exhausted, he sent out a flag of truce, offering to retire on condition that all the British prisoners taken at Rosetta, at El Hammed, and elsewhere, should be delivered up to him. This was accepted, and on the 23rd of September the ill-fated remains of this army were re-embarked and returned to Sicily.
Napoleon dispatched Murat with his cavalry, Junot, Ney, and Davoust, in pursuit of the Russians, whom they overtook at a place called Valoutina, where a desperate battle was fought, and many men were killed on both sides; but the Russians moved off again without the loss of guns, prisoners, or baggage. Buonaparte, on proceeding to the spot, blamed Junot, imputing to him want of activity in the action, and threatening to deprive him of his command. The whole road between Smolensk and Valoutina was strewn with the dead and wounded; and as he entered the city on his return, he met whole tumbrils of amputated limbs going to be thrown away at a distance. The scene is said to have overcome even his senses, so long hardened to human suffering. On the 24th of August he marched forward to Gjatsk, where his advanced guard had halted. There he learned, to his great satisfaction, from a Frenchman long resident in Russia, that the people and the new levies, impatient of continual retreat and the ravage of their country, had demanded that Barclay de Tolly, a German, whom they imagined not sufficiently careful of Russian property and interests, should be superseded by the old general, Kutusoff, and that they should stand and fight. This was precisely what Buonaparte wanted, and the prudent De Tolly knew to be little better than madness, as it must cause a fearful loss of life, and would not rid the country of the invader, who was better left to starvation and the elements. But Alexander, though of De Tolly's opinion, gave way, and the Russians entrenched themselves on the heights of Borodino, De Tolly most magnanimously continuing to serve under Kutusoff. There, after a march of two hundred and eighty versts in seventeen days, the French came up with them; and, after a halt of two days, they attacked the Russian lines.
The battle of Falkirk, which in itself appeared so brilliant an affair for Prince Charles, was really one of his most serious disasters. The Highlanders, according to their regular custom when loaded with plunder, went off in great numbers to their homes with their booty. His chief officers became furious against each other in discussing their respective merits in the battle. Lord George Murray, who had himself behaved most bravely in the field, complained that Lord John Drummond had not exerted himself, or pursuit might have been made and the royal army been utterly annihilated. This spirit of discontent was greatly aggravated by the siege of the castle of Stirling. Old General Blakeney, who commanded the garrison, declared he would hold out to the last man, in spite of the terrible threats of Lord George Murray if he did not surrender. The Highlanders grew disgusted with work so contrary to their habits; and, indeed, the French engineer, the so-called Marquis de Mirabelle, was so utterly ignorant of his profession, that the batteries which he constructed were commanded by the castle, and the men were so much exposed that they were in danger of being destroyed before they took the fortress. Accordingly, on the 24th of January they struck to a man, and refused to go any more into the trenches.
Told what no tongue could speak;Notwithstanding the hopes which might have been fairly entertained that the measure of Reform would have been rendered complete throughout the kingdom, a considerable time elapsed before its benefits were extended to the sister country; and a large amount of persevering exertion was required before a measure for the purpose was carried through Parliament, although its necessity was unquestionable. This arose from certain difficulties which it was not found easy to overcome, so as to meet the views, or, at least, to secure the acquiescence, of the various parties in the House. And hence it happened that it was not until 1840 that an Act was passed for the regulation of municipal corporations in Ireland, after repeated struggles which had to be renewed from year to year, and the question was at length only settled by a sort of compromise. On the 7th of February, 1837, Lord John Russell moved for leave to bring in the Irish Municipal Bill, which was passed by a majority of 55; but the consideration of it was adjourned in the Peers till it was seen what course Ministers were to adopt with regard to the Irish Tithe Bill. Early in 1838 the Bill was again introduced, when Sir Robert Peel, admitting the principle by not opposing the second reading, moved that the qualification should be ￡10. The motion was lost, but a similar one was made in the Upper House, and carried by a majority of 60. Other alterations were made, which induced Lord John Russell to relinquish his efforts for another year. In 1839 he resumed his task, and the second reading was carried by a majority of 26. Once more Sir Robert Peel proposed the ￡10 qualification for the franchise, which was rejected in the Commons, but adopted in the Lords by nearly the same majorities as before. Thus baffled again, the noble lord gave up the measure for the Session. In February, 1840, the Bill was introduced by Lord Morpeth with a qualification of ￡8. Sir Robert Peel now admitted that a settlement of the question was indispensable. With his support the Bill passed the Commons by a majority of 148. It also passed the Lords, and on the 18th of August received the Royal Assent.
Meanwhile the changes made in the Government offices betrayed the rising influence of Bolingbroke. The Duke of Shrewsbury was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; the Duke of Ormonde, a noted Jacobite, was appointed Warden of the Cinque Ports and Governor of Dover Castle, as if for the avowed purpose of facilitating the landing of the Pretender; Lord Lansdowne was made Treasurer of the Household; Lord Dartmouth, Privy Seal; Mr. Bromley, the Tory leader of the Commons, joint secretary with Bolingbroke; Benson, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was created Lord Bingley, and sent as ambassador to Spain; and Sir William Wyndham, till now a friend of Bolingbroke's, succeeded Benson as Chancellor. Thus Bolingbroke was surrounded by his friends in office, and became more daring in his rivalry with Oxford, and in his schemes to supplant the House of Hanover and introduce the Pretender to the British throne.An active warfare had been going on at the same time in North Carolina. Lord Cornwallis had, however, no longer to compete with the inefficient Gates, but with General Greene, a much more vigorous man. On the 17th of January, Colonel Tarleton, who had been dispatched with a thousand men, horse and foot, to attack a body of Americans under General Morgan, came up with them at a place called Cowpens. Tarleton's troops were worn out by their long march, but that impetuous officer gave them no time to rest themselves, but fell on the enemy with loud shouts. The militia fled at once, and the advance of the English endangered the flanks of the Continentals, and it became necessary to make a retrograde movement. This Tarleton mistook for a retreat, so accustomed was he to carry all before him, and his men were rushing on without regard to order, when the Americans suddenly faced about, poured a deadly fire into the British at thirty yards' distance, and then, briskly charging, broke their already disorderly line. Being closely pursued, they lost, in killed and wounded, upwards of five hundred men.详情
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