With the military he had a far more violent contest. After the battle of Plassey, Meer Jaffier had conferred on the officers of the army what was called double batta, meaning an additional allowance of pay. Clive had always told the officers that it was not likely that the Company would continue this; and, now that the territories of Jaffier were become virtually their own, he announced that this must be discontinued. The Governor and Council issued the orders for this abolition of the double batta; he received in reply nothing but remonstrances. The officers, according to Burke's phrase, in his speech of December 1st, 1783, "could not behold, without a virtuous emulation, the moderate gains of the civil service." Clive was peremptory, and found his orders openly set at defiance by nearly two hundred officers, headed by no less a person than his second in command, Sir Robert Fletcher. These gentlemen had privately entered into a bond of five hundred pounds to resign on the enforcement of the order, and not to resume their commissions unless the double batta was restored. To support such as might be cashiered, a subscription was entered into, to which the angry civilians of Calcutta are said to have added sixteen thousand pounds. The conspirators flattered themselves that, in a country like India, held wholly by the sword, Clive could not dispense with their services for a single day. They were mistaken. On receiving the news of this military strike, Clive immediately set off for the camp at Monghyr. He was informed that two of the officers vowed that if he came to enforce the order, they would shoot or stab him. Undaunted by any such threats, although in failing health, and amid drenching rains, he pursued his journey, and, on arriving, summoned the officers of the army, and, treating the threats of assassination as those of murderers, and not of Englishmen, he reasoned with them on the unpatriotic nature of their conduct. His words produced the desired effect on many; the privates showed no disposition to support their officers in their demand, and the sepoys all shouted with enthusiasm for Sabut Jung, their ideal of a hero. The younger officers, who had been menaced with death if they did not support the conspiracy, now begged to recall their resignation, and Clive allowed it. He ordered Sir Robert Fletcher and all who stood out into arrest, and sent them down the Ganges to take their trial at Calcutta. Many are said to have departed with tears in their eyes. By this spirited conduct Clive crushed this formidable resistance, and averted the shame which he avowed not all the waters of the Ganges could wash out—that of a successful mutiny.The next day the battle paused, as by mutual consent; and as it was evident that the French must eventually retreat, this day should have been spent in preparing temporary bridges to cross the rivers; but, as at Moscow, the presence of mind of Buonaparte seemed to have deserted him. He dispatched General Mehrfeldt to the Allied monarchs, to propose an armistice, on condition that he would yield all demanded at the previous Conference—Poland, and Illyria, the independence of Holland, Spain, and Italy, with the evacuation of Germany entirely. Before he went Mehrfeldt informed him that the Bavarians had gone over in a body to the Allies. But in vain did Buonaparte wait for an answer—none was vouchsafed. The Allied monarchs had mutually sworn to hold no further intercourse with the invader till every Frenchman was beyond the Rhine.ATTACK ON THE CHINESE JUNKS. (See p. 474.)
Within a few days after the first passing of this Act, that is, in the first week of March, a body of weavers—said by the Government to amount to ten thousand men, but by a more competent authority, Samuel Bamford, the author of the "Life of a Radical," not to have exceeded four or five thousand—met in St. Peter's Field, at Manchester, and commenced a march southward. The intention was to proceed to London, to present to the Prince Regent, in person, a petition describing their distress. Bamford had been consulted, and had condemned the project as wild, and likely to bring down nothing but trouble on the petitioners. He believed that they were instigated by spies sent out by Government in order to find an opportunity of justifying their arbitrary measures. Suspicious persons had been trying him. But the poor, deluded people assembled, "many of them," says Bamford, "having blankets, rugs, or large coats rolled up, and tied knapsack-like on their backs. Some had papers, supposed to be petitions, rolled up, and some had stout walking-sticks." From their blankets, they afterwards acquired the name of Blanketeers. The magistrates appeared and read the Riot Act, and dispersed the multitude by soldiers and constables; but three or four hundred fled in the direction of their intended route, and continued their march, pursued by a body of yeomanry. By the time that they reached Macclesfield, at nine o'clock at night, they amounted to only one hundred and eighty; yet many of them persisted in proceeding, but they continually melted away, from hunger and from the misery of lying out in the fields on March nights. By the time that they reached Leek they were reduced to twenty, and six only were known to pass over the bridge at Ashbourne.GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI.
On the 21st of March Parliament was dissolved by proclamation, and the same day the Gazette announced several of the changes determined on in the Ministry. The Duke of Bedford retired from the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, and his place was taken by the Earl of Halifax. Legge, who was considered too much in the interest of Pitt, was dismissed, and Lord Barrington now took his place of Chancellor of the Exchequer. Charles Townshend took Barrington's former office, and Sir Francis Dashwood became Treasurer of the Chambers in room of Townshend. Both Townshend and Dashwood had gone over to the party of Bute. Lord Holderness was now made to do what Dodington had before suggested; he resigned his office of Secretary of State, and in due course Bute was gazetted as appointed to that post. No notice of this change had been communicated to Pitt, the other and Chief Secretary, till it took place.THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO: FRENCH CUIRASSIERS CHARGING A BRITISH SQUARE.
[See larger version]The strong towns and fortresses of Prussia were all surrendered with as much rapidity as the army had been dispersed. They were, for the most part, commanded by imbecile or cowardly old villains; nay, there is every reason to believe that, in many instances, they sold the places to the French, and were paid their traitor fees out of the military chests of the respective fortresses. Whilst these events were so rapidly progressing, Louis Buonaparte, the new King of Holland, with an army of French and Dutch, had overrun, with scarcely any opposition, Westphalia, Hanover, Emden, and East Friesland. The unfortunate King of Prussia, who had seen his kingdom vanish like a dream, had fled to K?nigsberg, where he was defended by the gallant Lestog, and awaited the hoped-for junction of the Russians marching to his aid. Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden, forgetting the slighted advice which he had offered to Prussia to unite with Austria, opened Stralsund and Riga to the fugitive Prussians.
Buonaparte determined to overwhelm both Spanish and British by numbers. He had poured above a hundred thousand men across the Pyrenees, and had supplied their places in France by two enormous conscriptions of eighty thousand men each. He now followed them with the rapidity of lightning. From Bayonne to Vittoria he made the journey on horseback in two days. He was already at Vittoria a week before the British army, under Sir John Moore, had commenced its march from Lisbon. It was his aim to destroy the Spanish armies before the British could come up—and he accomplished it. The Spanish generals had no concert between themselves, yet they had all been advancing northward to attack the French on different parts of the Ebro, or in the country beyond it. It was the first object of Napoleon to annihilate the army of Blake, which occupied the right of the French army in the provinces of Biscay and Guipuzcoa. Blake was attacked by General Lefebvre on the last of October, on ground very favourable to the Spaniards, being mountainous, and thus not allowing the French to use much artillery; but, after a short fight of three hours, he was compelled to fall back, and for nine days he continued his retreat through the rugged mountains of Biscay, with his army suffering incredibly from cold, hunger, drenching rains, and fatigue. There was said to be scarcely a shoe or a greatcoat in the whole force. Having reached Espinosa de los Monteros, he hoped to rest and recruit his troops, but Lefebvre was upon him, and he was again defeated. He next made for Reynosa, a strong position, where he hoped to recollect his scattered army; but there he received the news of the defeat of Belvedere, from whom he hoped for support. The French were again upon and surrounding him, and he was compelled to order his army to save themselves by dispersing amongst the mountains of Asturias, whilst himself and some of his officers escaped, and got on board a British vessel.
Britain was anxiously appealed to for aid; but Pitt, who had raised so powerful an armament to check the attacks of Russia on Turkey, was not disposed to denounce the attempts of Russia on Poland. He might be blamed for refraining from exerting the moral power of Britain in condemnation of the unprincipled aggression of Russia, but he could not be expected to take arms in defence of Poland, so far removed from the influence of a maritime nation. Colonel Gardiner, our Minister at Warsaw, was instructed by our Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord Grenville, to express a friendly interest towards Poland, but to take care to avoid raising hopes of assistance. The Poles, repelled by Prussia and Austria, and finding no warmth of sympathy in the agent of Britain, dispatched Count Bukaty in June to London to plead for aid. But Pitt was cold and immovable, though he saw with regret that the absorption of this large country, in the centre of Europe, would formidably increase that preponderance of Russia, which he had attempted to prevent when there was a question of the absorption of Turkey. He adopted an attitude of strict neutrality. No motion condemnatory of Russia's grasping schemes was made in Parliament; it seemed to Britain a matter of no moment that one of the chief nations of Europe should be torn in pieces by rapacious Powers, contrary to all moral and international law. The Whigs, those warm advocates of revolution and of popular freedom, were dumb. In fact, what could they say? Fox and his admirers had all along been lauding the Russian Empress as one of the greatest, ablest, and most innocent of monarchs, simply in opposition to Pitt and his endeavours to repress her schemes of aggrandisement. Fox had even sent Mr. Adair as his emissary to St. Petersburg, to congratulate her on her successes, and to assure her of the admiration of Englishmen. Such are the perversities into which men are driven by party spirit! At this very moment Fox and the Whigs were flattering and patting Catherine on the back, when her bandit armies had already their feet on the doomed soil of Poland, and they were still applauding the Revolutionists of France, when they were already beyond the Rhine, on that crusade of conquest which plunged Europe into more than twenty years of the most horrible bloodshed. They saw all this when too late. For the present, what was done for Poland was to call a meeting at the Mansion House and open a subscription for the suffering Poles.Here he heard his faithful servants, Duroc and Daru, whispering, as they thought he slept, of their critical situation, and caught the words "prisoner of State." On this, he started up, and demanded whether the reports of his Ministers were yet burnt, and being answered in the negative, he had both them and all documents which could give information of his affairs to the enemy put into the fire. Segur says that amongst these were materials for writing his life, for, like C?sar, he had determined to be his own historian. In tracing the map for a passage over the Beresina, his eye caught the word Pultowa, and he said, "Ah! Charles XII.—Pultowa!"
Lord Anglesey had expressed himself so strongly in his communications with the Government, that he was afraid of being regarded by them as a partisan. He deprecated giving the executive any additional powers, though not without apprehensions of a rebellion, which he believed he had sufficient force to quell, even in the improbable event of foreign aid, upon which some of the Irish people might, however rashly, rely for success. On the 20th of July he wrote: "It appears not improbable there may be an attempt to introduce arms, and finally insurrection. I am quite sure the disaffected are amply organised for the undertaking. They are partially, but ill, armed. Pikes, however, to any amount, and at very short notice, would be easily manufactured, if they are not already made and secreted. Still, I cannot bring myself to believe that the ruling characters are at all inclined to put their cause to the test of arms; and if they do, I cannot imagine how, without foreign aid—of which there appears no fear—they can calculate upon success." The priests had become all silent and reserved, even towards those with whom they had hitherto maintained confidential intercourse. No money would tempt them to make a single disclosure, and there was a general impression among them that some great event was at hand. The law officers of the Crown had been consulted as to the expediency of prosecuting some of the agitators for the most violent of their speeches; but their advice was, that it could not be done with any prospect of success, because their most exciting stimulants were accompanied by declarations that they wished only to guard the Government against insurrection, which only concession could prevent. Such being the condition of Ireland, the position of the Government was in the highest degree perplexing. The House of Commons was for Emancipation; the Lords were opposed to it; the king was opposed to it. The strength of political parties was nicely balanced in Parliament, and strong political excitement prevailed on both sides of the Irish Sea. Peel, in view of this state of affairs, says: "I maturely and anxiously considered every point which required consideration, and I formed a decision as to the obligation of public duty, of which I may say with truth that it was wholly at variance with that which the regard for my own personal interests or private feelings would have dictated." His intention was to relinquish office; but he resolved not to do so without placing on record his opinion that a complete change of policy was necessary, that the Catholic question should no longer be an open question, and that the whole condition of Ireland, political and social, should be taken into consideration by the Cabinet, precisely in the same manner in which every other question of grave importance was considered, and with the same power to offer advice upon it to the Sovereign. He also gave it as his decided opinion that there was less evil and less danger in conceding the Catholic claims than in persevering in the policy of resistance. He left London for Brighton soon after the close of the Session, having made a previous arrangement with the Duke of Wellington that he should send him a memorandum explanatory of his views on the state of Ireland and on the Catholic question, and that he should write to the Duke fully in reply. On the 9th of August the Duke wrote to him as follows:—"I now send you the memorandum which I sent to the king on the state of Ireland, a letter which I sent to him at the same time, his answer, a memorandum upon the Roman Catholic question which I have since drawn up, and a letter which I wrote yesterday to the Lord Chancellor."
Macklin was the author of "The Man of the World," a most successful comedy, as well as others of much merit. He remained on the stage till he was a hundred years old, and lived to a hundred and seven. George Colman had distinguished himself by the translation of Terence's plays and Horace's "Art of Poetry" before he commenced as a dramatist. His vein was comic, and his comedies and farces amount to nearly thirty, the best being "The Clandestine Marriage," already mentioned, "Polly Honeycomb," and "The Jealous Wife." Arthur Murphy was a native of Cork, and was brought up a merchant, but his bent was to the drama, and he quitted his business and went to London, where he wrote two successful farces, "The Apprentice" and "The Upholsterer." He next wrote "The Orphan of China," a tragedy. He then studied for the bar, but had not much practice, and returned to writing for the stage. "The Grecian Daughter," "All in the Wrong," "The Way to keep Him," and "The Citizen," were very successful, and raised him to wealth and distinction. Not satisfied with being a popular writer, he desired to act as well as write, like Garrick and Macklin, but failed. Besides his dramatic productions, he translated Tacitus and Sallust, and wrote the life of Garrick. Richard Cumberland, also an Irishman, was a very voluminous as well as miscellaneous writer. His comedy of "The West Indian" made him at once popular, and he wrote a great number of productions for the stage, amongst the best of which were "The Fashionable Lover," "The Jew," "The Wheel of Fortune," etc. He was employed by Government as an envoy to Lisbon and Madrid, and by it refused the payment of his expenses. This reduced him to sell his hereditary property, but he retired to Tunbridge Wells, and continued to write plays, novels, essays, criticisms, etc., till nearly eighty years of age.[See larger version]详情
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