类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-12-01 16:00:51


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De Crillon, seeing that his bombardment from shore produced little effect, determined to make the attack also from the sea. Amongst the multiplicity of inventions which the offered rewards had produced, the Chevalier D'Arcon, a French engineer, had produced a scheme which excited the most confident expectations. The plan was to construct ten monster floating batteries of such capacity that they should carry the heaviest artillery, and so made and defended that they could be neither sunk nor burnt. Loud was the clangour of hammer and saw, and, as the secret could not be long preserved, equally busy was the garrison within, preparing furnaces, and laying ready huge piles of balls, to be discharged red-hot at these machines as soon as they arrived. To constitute the intended batteries, ten large ships of from six hundred to one thousand four hundred tons burden were cut down, and made bombproof on the top. They were to be prevented from sinking by the enormous thickness of the timber in their bottoms, and their sides, which were to be six or seven feet thick, bolted, and covered with raw hides. They were to be rendered more buoyant by thicknesses of cork, and the interstices were to be filled with wet sand to prevent combustion. There were to be plentiful supplies, by means of pumps, pipes, and cisterns, of water, everywhere, to put out fire, for they seem to have been aware of the burning balls that were being prepared for them.

It was resolved to bring the matter before Parliament. Wilberforce gave notice of motion on the subject, but falling ill at Bath, Clarkson applied to Pitt and Mr. Grenville, and was strongly supported by Granville Sharp and the London committee. Pitt had not considered the subject till it was forced on his attention by the evidence before the Privy Council; but he had come to the conclusion that the trade was not only inhuman, but really injurious to the interests of the nation. He consented to introduce the question, and, on the 9th of May, gave notice that early in the next Session Parliament would take into consideration the allegations against the slave trade, made in upwards of a hundred petitions presented to it. He recommended this short delay in order that the inquiries before the Privy Council might be fully matured. But both Fox and Burke—the latter of whom had been thinking for eight years of taking up the question—declared that the delay would be as cruel as it was useless; that it did not become the House to wait to receive instructions from the Privy Council, as if it were dependent upon it, but that it ought to originate such inquiries itself. Sir William Dolben supported this view of immediate action, contending that at least a Bill should be brought in to restrain the cruelties of the sea-passage, which would otherwise sacrifice ten thousand lives, as hundreds of thousands had been sacrificed before. This was acceded to. Pitt's resolution was carried by a considerable majority; and Sir William Dolben, on the 21st of May, moved to bring in a Bill to regulate the transport of slaves. Sir William stated that there was no law to restrain the avarice and cruelty of the dealers, and that the mortality from the crowding of the slaves on board was frightful.The magnitude of the interests at stake, the difficulty of estimating the real character and extent of the threatened evil, and the alarming consequences that must ensue if the worst fears should be realised, rendered immediate action necessary. A Cabinet Council was held on the 31st of October. From what passed on that occasion, says Sir Robert Peel, in the account which he has left of these events, "it was easy to foresee that there was little prospect of a common accord as to the measures to be adopted." On the 5th of November he apprised her Majesty of the probability of serious differences of opinion. At the adjourned meeting of the Cabinet, on the 6th of November, he submitted certain proposals for the consideration of his colleagues, which he has recorded in the following outline of these events:—

To insure a powerful diversion, the Sultan had engaged the military co-operation of Sweden. Sweden had been forcibly deprived of Finland by Peter the Great, and she longed to recover it. She had a brave army, but no money. The Grand Turk, to enable her to commence the enterprise, had sent her a present of about four hundred thousand pounds sterling. Sweden put her fleet in preparation in all haste, and had Pitt merely allowed the Russian fleet to quit the Baltic, there was nothing to prevent the execution of the Swedish design on Finland, nor, indeed, of marching directly on St. Petersburg in the absence of the army.But at length the Legislature adopted a measure which attempted to go to the root of one of the greatest evils that afflicted Ireland. This was a Bill for facilitating the transfer of encumbered estates, which was passed into law, and is generally known as the Encumbered Estates Act. It was introduced by the Solicitor-General, Sir Samuel Romilly, on the 26th of April. Nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the state of landed property in that country. Many of the estates had been in Chancery for a long series of years, under the management of receivers, and periodically let at rack-rents. Many others which were not in Chancery were so heavily mortgaged that the owners were merely nominal. Others again were so tied up by family settlements, or held by such defective titles, that they could not be transferred. Consequently, a great portion of the landed property of the country was in such a condition that capital could not be invested in it, or expended on it. The course of proceeding in Chancery was so slow, so expensive, so ruinous, and the court was so apparently incapable of reform, that nothing could be expected from that quarter. The Government, therefore, proposed to establish a commission, invested with all the powers of that court, and capable of exercising those powers in a summary manner, without delay and without expense, so that an encumbered estate could be at once sold, either wholly or in part, and a parliamentary title given, which should be good against all the world. This important measure met with general approval in both Houses. Indeed it was hailed with satisfaction by all classes of the community, with the exception of a portion of the Irish landed gentry. There were three commissioners appointed, lawyers of eminence and experience in connection with land. By a subsequent enactment in 1849, it was regulated as a permanent institution, under the title of the Landed Estates Court; the three commissioners were styled judges, ranking with the judges of the Law Courts. The number of petitions or applications for sale made to this court from the 17th of October, 1849, to the 1st of August, 1850, was 1,085, and of this number those by owners amounted to 177—nearly one-sixth of the whole. The rental of the estates thus sought to be sold by the nominal proprietors, anxious to be relieved of their burdens, was £195,000 per annum, and the encumbrances affecting them amounted to no less than £3,260,000. The rental of the estates included in 1,085 applications, made by others not owners, amounted to £655,470 per annum, and the debt upon these amounted to the enormous sum of £12,400,348. One of the estates brought before the court had been in Chancery for seventy years, the original bill having been filed by Lord Mansfield in 1781. The estates were broken up into parcels for the convenience of purchasers, many of whom were the occupying tenants, and the great majority were Irishmen. Generally the properties brought their full value, estimated by the poor-law valuation, not by the rack rents which were set down in the agents' books, but never recovered. The amount of capital that lay dormant in Ireland, waiting for investment in land, may be inferred from the fact that in nine years—from 1849 to 1858—the sum of twenty-two millions sterling was paid for 2,380 estates. But in the pacification of Ireland the Act accomplished far less than was hoped by Sir Robert Peel, who practically forced the measure upon the Ministry. Men of capital looked for a fair percentage for their investments: many of them were merchants and solicitors, without any of the attachments that subsisted between the old race of landlords and their tenants, and they naturally dealt with land as they did with other matters—in a commercial spirit—and evicted wholesale tenants who were unable to pay.

Food we had none;[138]

The other side of the city was only defended by the Seine, but the Allies, who had first to cross that river, feared that Buonaparte might come up and attack their rear while they were doing so. They determined, therefore, to attack the line of fortifications. The most lying proclamations were issued by the ex-King Joseph to assure the inhabitants that the bodies of the enemy who came in view were only stragglers who had managed to get past the army of the Emperor, who was dispersing the Allies most triumphantly. The forces in Paris—eight thousand troops of the line and thirty thousand of the National Guard—were reviewed in front of the Tuileries on a Sunday, to impress the people with a sense of security; but on the morning of the 29th the Empress and her child quitted the palace, attended by a regiment of seven hundred men, and fled to Blois, carrying with her the crown jewels and much public treasure, and followed by nearly all the members of Government. The population—unlike their fathers, who stopped Marie Antoinette in her attempt to escape—suffered this departure with murmurs, but without any attempt to prevent it. When she was gone they began heartily to curse Buonaparte for the trouble and disgrace he had brought upon them. That very morning Joseph issued a most flaming proclamation, assuring the Parisians that the Emperor was at hand[82], and would annihilate the last traces of the audacious enemy. But already the assault had commenced, and the next day, the 30th of March, it was general all along the line. The Parisians fought bravely, especially the boys from the Polytechnic schools; and as the Allies had to attack stone walls and batteries, their slaughter was great. Joseph rode along the line to encourage them in this useless, because utterly hopeless, waste of life. The Allied monarchs had, before commencing the assault, issued a proclamation, promising that all life and property should be strictly protected if the city quietly opened its gates; and, in the midst of the storming, they sent in again, by a French prisoner, the same offer, adding that, should the city be carried by assault, no power on earth could prevent it from being sacked by the enraged soldiers, and probably destroyed. Yet Joseph did not give the order for capitulation till the whole line was in the hands of the Allies, except Montmartre. The Cossacks were already in the Faubourg St. Antoine, and bombs flying into the Chaussée d'Antin. Then King Joseph, whose lying proclamation was still selling on the boulevards at a sou each, ordered Marmont to capitulate; and though he had vowed in his proclamation to stand by the Parisians to the last gasp, he then fled after the Empress to Blois. In this defence four thousand French were killed and wounded, and double that number of the Allies, as they had to face the towers and batteries crowded with soldiers and to fight their way up hill.

Within a few days of taking Philadelphia, Lord Howe raised three batteries on the side of the river. On the 3rd of October Washington issued from his camp on the Schuylkill, about fourteen miles from Germantown, having heard that two British detachments had been withdrawn thence to attack the forts on the Delaware. He had been reinforced by militia from Maryland and New Jersey, and determined to surprise the British camp at Germantown. Two columns of Continental troops, led by Greene and Sullivan, were to gain the front of the British, and attack it; whilst two other columns of militia were to attack the rear. This force marched all night, and entered Germantown about sunrise, and all seemed likely to favour their enterprise. A fog prevented the discovery of their approach. But, at the first surprise, Colonel Musgrove threw himself into a storehouse, and kept up such a fire from the windows as checked the assault of the Americans, and gave time for the rest of the British force to get under arms. The village of Germantown consisted of one long street. Across this street the British army had encamped, and stoutly resisted the advance of the Americans. Musgrove was summoned to surrender; but he continued his fire from the house without taking any notice, and, before artillery could be brought up to batter the house, General Greig and Brigadier Agnew came up to his assistance. The Continental troops in front, led on by Washington himself, made a brisk attack, but were repulsed at all points, and were badly co-operated with by the militia in the rear. Washington was compelled to fall back to his camp at Skippack Creek, leaving behind him about eight hundred killed and wounded, and four hundred prisoners. So far, however, was Sir William Howe from availing himself of this opportunity to follow up the attack on Washington, and disperse his army, that he, as usual, thought only of getting into snug winter quarters.



If there wanted anything to prove the truth of Lord Wellington's warnings to the Spanish authorities of the undisciplined condition of their armies, and the incompetency of their generals, it came quickly. Whilst they continued to treat him more like an enemy than a friend, and had issued orders throughout the province where he lay, forbidding the sale of provisions and forage for his army, their own armies were again annihilated. The army of Venegas, which had retreated, on the advance of Sebastiani towards Madrid, into the Sierra Morena, had been taken from him, and given to a young, inexperienced man, General Areizaga. Cuesta, also, had been set aside for one still more incapable, a General Eguia, of whom Lord Wellington had already pronounced that he was a fool. Areizaga, instead of maintaining his strong post in the hills, being joined by the greater part of the army of Estremadura, now commanded by Eguia, imagined that he could beat the united forces of Mortier and Sebastiani, and drive them out of Madrid. With fifty thousand men and sixty pieces of artillery he descended from his hills into the open plains of Oca?a, where he was beaten on the 20th of November, with the loss of all his artillery but five guns, his baggage, military chest, provisions, and everything. There was immense slaughter of his soldiers, and the rest fled into the mountains. The Duke del Parque, who was placed for the protection of the line of the Tagus with another large army, was marching to support this intended conquest of Madrid, when, in the month of October, being strongly posted on the heights of Tamames, he encountered General Marchand, and defeated him. Elated by this success, he no longer trusted to hills and strong positions, but, like Areizaga, advanced boldly into the plains, and on the 28th of November he encountered Kellermann at Alba de Tormes, and received a most thorough defeat. His men, both cavalry and infantry, scarcely stayed to cross swords or bayonets with the French, but, flinging down their arms, and leaving all their baggage and artillery behind them, they fled in every direction. Kellerman pursued and cut them down without mercy—according to his own account, killing three thousand men and making three hundred prisoners.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.

During the Republic of France, and in the worst times of Robespierre, the French had their Minister, M. Genet, in the United States, who excited the democrats to acts of hostility against Great Britain, and gave them French authority to seize and make prizes of British vessels at sea, though they were nominally at peace with England. And though Washington, then President, protested against these proceedings, the main body of the people were against him, and were supported in that spirit by Jefferson, who was Secretary of State. When Jefferson became President, in 1801, and Madison his Secretary of State, the hatred to Great Britain was carried to its extreme, and the friendship of Buonaparte was cultivated with the utmost zeal. When Jefferson was a second time President, in 1807, he violently resisted our right of search of neutral vessels, thus playing into the hands of Buonaparte and his Berlin Decree, in the hope of carrying on a large trade with the European Continent at our expense. Out of this arose the affair of the Leopard and the Chesapeake off the capes of Virginia, in which the Chesapeake, refusing to allow a search for British deserters, was attacked and taken. This put the whole of the democracy of America into a raging fury, though the boarding of the United States war-sloop, the Hornet, in the French port of L'Orient, for the same purpose, was passed over without a murmur. To prevent such collisions, Canning, on the part of the British Government, issued orders that search of war-ships should be discontinued. This, however, did not prevent Jefferson from making proclamations prohibiting British men-of-war from entering or remaining in American ports; and the utmost indignities were offered to all the officers and crews of our men-of-war who happened to be lying in American harbours. Moreover, Jefferson issued, in December, 1807, an embargo against all American vessels quitting their own ports, because if at sea they did not submit to be searched to ascertain whether they were carrying goods to French ports, they were treated as hostile by Great Britain, were attacked and seized. This was in retaliation of Buonaparte's Berlin Decree, and made necessary by it. On the other hand, Buonaparte seized any American or other vessel entering into any port of Europe under the power of France, which had submitted to search. To prevent this certain seizure of trading vessels, the embargo was issued, and all merchant vessels of all nations were prohibited from entering American ports. A more[34] suicidal act than this could not be conceived, and the people of the United States soon complained loudly of the consequences. In 1809, Madison succeeding Jefferson in the Presidency, and Buonaparte having now rendered matters worse by his Milan Decree, besides his Berlin one, Madison abolished the general embargo with all nations except France and Great Britain, and declared this, too, at an end, whenever either or both of these nations withdrew—the one its Decrees and the other its Orders in Council. But in 1810 Madison declared that France had withdrawn its Decrees so far as America was concerned; though this was notoriously untrue. Numbers of American vessels continued to be seized in French ports, though the United States Government dared not complain, nor did they ever recover any compensation from Napoleon; it was from Louis Philippe that they first obtained such compensation, and, curiously enough, through the friendly intervention of Great Britain.[See larger version]



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