CHAPTER XIV. THE REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).As usual, a great cry was raised at the retreat of Wellington. The Spaniards would have had him stand and do battle for them, as foolishly as their own generals did, who, never calculating the fitting time and circumstances, were always being beaten. Amongst the first and loudest to abuse him was Ballasteros, the man who, by his spiteful disregard of orders, had been the chief cause of the necessity to retreat. But it was not the Spaniards only, but many people in England, especially of the Opposition, who raised this ungenerous cry. Wellington alluded to these censures with his wonted calmness in his dispatches. "I am much afraid," he said, "from what I see in the newspapers, that the public will be much disappointed at the result of the campaign, notwithstanding that it is, in fact, the most successful campaign in all its circumstances, and has produced for the common cause more important results than any campaign in which the British army has been engaged for the last century. We have taken by siege Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and Salamanca, and the Retiro has surrendered. In the meantime the allies have taken Astorga, Consuegra, and Guadalaxara, besides other places. In the ten months elapsed since January, this army has sent to England little short of twenty thousand prisoners; and they have taken and destroyed, or have themselves retained the use of, the enemy's arsenals in Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Valladolid, Madrid, Astorga, Seville, the lines before Cadiz, etc.; and, upon the whole, we have taken and destroyed, or we now possess, little short of three thousand pieces of cannon. The siege of Cadiz has been raised, and all the country south of the Tagus has been cleared of the enemy. We should have retained greater advantages, I think, and should have remained in possession of Castile and Madrid during the winter, if I could have taken Burgos, as I ought, early in October, or if Ballasteros had moved upon Alcaraz, as he was ordered, instead of intriguing for his own aggrandisement."
Mar had left London on the 2nd of August to raise the Highlands. In order to blind the agents of Government he ordered a royal levée on the 1st, and on the following night got on board a collier bound for Newcastle, attended by Major-General Hamilton and Colonel Hay. From Newcastle they got to the coast of Fife in another vessel. On the 6th of September he raised the standard of the Chevalier at Kirkmichael, a village of Braemar. He was then attended by only sixty men, and the Highland chiefs, extremely alive to omens, were startled by the gilt ball falling from the summit of the pole as it was planted in the ground. The standard was consecrated by prayers, and he was in a few days joined by about five hundred of his own vassals. The gentlemen who came on horseback, only about twenty at first, soon became several hundreds, and were named the Royal Squadron. The white cockade was assumed as the badge of the insurgent army, and clan after clan came in; first the Mackintoshes, five hundred in number, who seized on Inverness. James was proclaimed by Panmure at Brechin, by the Earl Marshal at Aberdeen, by Lord Huntly at Gordon, and by Graham, the brother of Claverhouse, at Dundee. Colonel Hay, brother of the Earl of Kinnaird, seized Perth, and in a very short time the country north of the Tay was in the hands of the insurgents.CHARTISTS AT CHURCH. (See p. 456.)
France and England being already agreed, independently of the consent of the rest of the Allies, the conference began on a basis which was sure to lead to immediate confusion and contention. The Dutch plenipotentiaries were astonished to see the different tone displayed by the French ambassadors. They were no longer the humble personages that they had been at Gertruydenberg. The Abbé Polignac, who was the chief speaker, assumed a high and confident manner. The French envoys, therefore, when the Dutch deputies demanded that the treaty should be carried out on the basis of the terms offered at Gertruydenberg, told them plainly that matters were now quite altered, and that the conditions offered at Gertruydenberg could not be entertained by France at all, but those to which the Queen of England had agreed in London; that unless the Dutch were willing to treat on these conditions, they would find their allies concluding peace without them, and that on the spot. The chief article to which the Allies objected was the concession of Spain to Philip; and they were the more resolute because it had become imminently necessary from changes that had now taken place in France. The Dauphin had died of the smallpox during the last year. The title had been conferred on his son, the Duke of Burgundy; but the Duke of Burgundy had just expired, too, in the sixth year of his age; and of the Dauphin's children there only now remained the Duke of Anjou, a sickly child of two years old. This child was the only remaining obstacle to Philip, the King of Spain, mounting the throne of France. The danger was so obvious of the union of France and Spain in a very few years—to prevent which had been the object of the war—that the English Government was compelled to demand from Philip a distinct renunciation of all claims on the French Crown, and from France as distinct a one in the treaty that any such claim should be resisted. St. John entered into a correspondence with De Torcy, the French minister, on this point; and the answers of De Torcy must have shown the English Government how useless it was to attempt to bind Frenchmen on such matters. He replied that any renunciation on the part of Philip or any French prince would be utterly null and void according to the laws; that on the king's death the next heir male of the royal blood succeeded, independently of any disposition or restriction of the late king, or any will of the people, or of himself, even; that he was, by the laws of France, sovereign by right of succession, and must be so, in spite of any circumstances to the contrary; that neither himself, the throne, nor the people had anything to do with it, but to obey the constitution. Therefore, even if Philip did bind himself to renounce the Crown of France, should the present Dauphin die, he would be king, independently of any circumstances whatever. Another expedient, however, was proposed by the English ministry, who must have seen clearly enough the folly of their treating on such hollow ground. That was, if Philip did not like to renounce the Crown of France, he should at once quit the throne of Spain, and agree that the Duke of Savoy should take it and the Indies, surrendering his own territories to Philip, to which should be added Naples, Sicily, Montserrat, and Mantua, all of which, whenever Philip succeeded to the French Crown, should be annexed to France, with the exception of Sicily, which should be made over to Austria. Louis XIV. professed to be delighted with this arrangement, but Philip would not listen to it, showing plainly that he meant, notwithstanding any renunciation, to retain his claim to both France and Spain.In the presence of this great exciting cause the remaining business of the Session of the British Parliament appeared tame. Mr. R. Smith introduced a petition for Parliamentary reform from Nottingham, and this was followed by a number of similar petitions from other places: but whilst French emissaries and English demagogues were preaching up revolution, nobody would listen to reform, and a motion of Mr. Grey, to refer these petitions to a committee, was rejected by two hundred and eighty-two votes to forty-one. On the 25th of February Dundas introduced an optimistic statement of the affairs of India, declaring that dependency as very flourishing, in spite of the continuance of the war with Tippoo; and this was preparatory to a renewal of the charter of the East India Company, which was carried on the 24th of May. Francis, Fox, and others, opposed the Bill, and made very different statements in vain. The real condition of India was not destined to force itself on the nation till it came in the shape of a bloody insurrection, and seventy million pounds of debt, more than sixty years afterwards.
DEATH OF THE EARL OF CHATHAM. (From the Painting by J. S. Copley, R.A., in the National Gallery, London.)Dr. Curtis, the Roman Catholic Primate, was an old friend of the Duke of Wellington, whom he had known during the war in the Peninsula, and with whom he had kept up a confidential correspondence on the subject of the Catholic claims, on the state of the country, on the disposition of the Roman Catholics in the army, and other matters of the kind. On the 11th of December the Duke, in answer to a letter urging the prompt settlement of the Catholic question, wrote to Dr. Curtis as follows: "I have received your letter of the 4th instant, and I assure you that you do me justice in believing that I am sincerely anxious to witness the settlement of the Roman Catholic question, which, by benefiting the State, would confer a benefit on every individual belonging to it. But I confess that I see no prospect of such a settlement. Party has been mixed up with the consideration of the question to such a degree, and such violence pervades every discussion of it, that it is impossible to expect to prevail upon men to consider it dispassionately. If we could bury it in oblivion for a short time, and employ that time diligently in the consideration of its difficulties on all sides (for they are very great), I should not despair of seeing a satisfactory remedy."
Buonaparte, in his bulletin of June 21st, found a reason for this utter defeat in a panic fear that suddenly seized the army, through some evil-disposed person raising the cry of "Sauve qui peut!" But Ney denied, in his letter to the Duke of Otranto, that any such cry was raised. Another statement made very confidently in Paris was, that the Old Guard, being summoned to surrender, replied, "The Guard dies, but never surrenders!"—a circumstance which never took place, though the Guards fought with the utmost bravery.
Parliament met on the 17th of January, 1727. The Royal Speech breathed a decidedly warlike tone. The king informed Parliament that he had received information, on which he could rely, that a secret article of the treaty between Spain and the Emperor bound those parties to place the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain, and that the surrender of Gibraltar and Port Mahon was the price to be paid for this service. He asked whether the public would not regard with indignation the imposition of a Popish Pretender on the nation at such a cost. He added that the King of Spain had ordered his Ambassador to quit the kingdom, leaving behind him a formal demand for the surrender of the above-named places. There was a great ferment in the House. Palm, the Emperor's envoy, wrote to his Imperial master, advising him to disavow any such secret agreement in the treaty at Vienna, and thus allay the excitement in England. But Charles, who owed his throne to the victories of Marlborough, and whose claims on Spain had been prosecuted by Britain at serious cost of men and money, performed this disavowal with as much arrogance as stupidity. He was not contented to say that the King of England was mistaken, but he declared that his speech was false. This gross insult to the head of the nation roused the indignation of all parties, even of the Opposition; and Wyndham, Pulteney, and Shippen denounced it as loudly as any, and supported a motion of Walpole, declaring it an insolent affront. Palm was ordered to quit the kingdom immediately.These words, indiscreet as they were, and calculated to embarrass the Ministers, were regarded as in the highest degree precious by the bishops and clergy, and the whole Tory party. With the utmost despatch they were circulated far and wide, with the design of bringing public feeling to bear against Mr. Ward's motion. In the meantime, great efforts were made by the Government to be able to evade the motion. Its position at this time appeared far from enviable, and there was a general impression that it could not long survive. The new appointments did not give satisfaction. The Cabinet was said to be only patched up in order to wear through the Session. It was in these discouraging circumstances that Lord Althorp had to meet Mr. Ward's motion on Monday, the 2nd of June. In order to avoid a dissolution and a general election, the results of which might turn upon the existence of the Irish Church, it was necessary that Mr. Ward's motion should be defeated. He refused to withdraw it, because he apprehended the speedy dissolution of the Ministry, and he wished the decision of the House of Commons on the Irish Church question to be recorded, that it might stand in the way of a less liberal Administration. The anticipated contest in the Commons that evening excited extraordinary interest. The House was surrounded by a crowd anxious to obtain admittance or to hear the result, while within it was so thronged with members that the Ministers found it difficult to get to their seats. Rarely has there been so full a House, the number of members being 516. When Mr. Ward had spoken in favour of his motion, Lord Althorp rose to reply. He announced that a special commission of inquiry had been already issued, composed of laymen, who were to visit every parish in Ireland, and were to report on the means of religious instruction for the people; and that, pending this inquiry, he saw no necessity for the House being called upon to affirm the principles of Mr. Ward's motion. He would, therefore, content himself by moving the previous question. This was carried by an overwhelming majority, the numbers being 396 to 120.Leipsic is nearly surrounded by rivers and marshy lands, and only, therefore, accessible by a number of bridges. The Pleisse and the Elster on the west, in various divisions, stretch under its walls; on the east winds far round the Parthe; on the south only rise some higher lands. On the 16th of October, at break of day, the Austrians attacked the southern or more accessible side with great fury, headed by Generals Kleist and Mehrfeldt, and were opposed by Poniatowski and Victor. Buonaparte was soon obliged to send up Souham to support these generals. Lauriston also was attacked by Klenau at the village of Liebertvolkwitz. After much hard fighting, Buonaparte ordered up Macdonald, who broke through the Austrian line at the village of Gossa, followed by Murat; Latour-Maubourg and Kellermann galloped through with all their cavalry. Napoleon considered this as decisive, and sent word to the King of Saxony that the battle was won, and that poor dupe and unpatriotic king set the church bells ringing for joy. But a desperate charge of Cossacks reversed all this, and drove back the French to the very walls of the town. In the meantime, Blucher had attacked and driven in Marmont, taking the village of Machern with twenty pieces of cannon and two thousand prisoners. On the side of the Pleisse Schwarzenberg pushed across a body of horse, under General Mehrfeldt, who fell into the hands of the French; but another division, under General Giulay, secured the left bank of the Pleisse and its bridges, and had he blown them up, would have cut off the only avenue of retreat for the French towards the Rhine. Night fell on the fierce contest, in which two hundred and thirty thousand Allies were hemming in one hundred and thirty-six thousand French; for the Allies this time had adopted Buonaparte's great rule of conquering by united numbers.
The Tory party sustained serious damage in consequence of an inquiry on the subject of Orange lodges in the army, which was granted in May, on the motion of Mr. Finn, an Irish member. Very startling disclosures were made by this committee during Sir Robert Peel's brief Administration. Various addresses had been presented from Orange societies, which led to pertinacious questioning of the Ministers. It was asked whether the addresses in question purported to come from Orange societies; whether the king ought to receive addresses from illegal associations; and whether it was true, as the newspapers said, that such addresses had been graciously received by his Majesty. There was a peculiar significance given to these inquiries by an impression that began to prevail that there had been on foot for some years a conspiracy to prevent the Princess Victoria from ascending the throne, and to secure the sovereignty for the eldest brother of the king, the Duke of Cumberland, the avowed head of the Tory party, and also the head of the Orange Society, through whose instrumentality the revolution was to be effected, in furtherance of which Orange lodges had been extensively organised in the army. The report of the committee was presented in September, and from this report it appeared that Orange lodges were first held in England under Irish warrants; but that in 1808 a lodge was founded in Manchester, and warrants were issued for the holding of lodges under English authority. On the death of the Grand Master in that town, in 1821, the lodge was removed to London, where the meetings were held in the house of Lord Kenyon, Deputy Grand Master. The Duke of York had been prevented from assuming the office of Grand Master, because the law officers of the Crown were of opinion that the society was illegal. The Act against political associations in Ireland having expired in 1828, the Orange lodges started forth in vigorous and active existence, under the direction of the Duke of Cumberland as Grand Master. The passing of the Emancipation Act seems to have had the effect of driving the leaders of the society into a conspiracy to counteract its operation, or to bring about a counter-revolution by means of this treasonable organisation; though, perhaps, they did not consider it treasonable, as their object was to place upon the throne the brother of the king, whom they thought to be alone capable of preserving the Constitution, and of excluding from it a very young princess, who would be during her minority in the hands of Whigs and Radicals, whom they believed to be leagued together to destroy it. Considering the frenzy of party spirit at this time, and the conditional loyalty openly professed by the men who annually celebrated the battle of the Boyne and the glorious Revolution of 1688, there is nothing very surprising in the course adopted by the Orange societies, though the English public were astounded when they learnt for the first time, in 1835, that there were 140,000 members of this secret society in England, of whom 40,000 were in London; and that the army was to a large extent tainted.LONDON BRIDGE IN 1760.He next marched to St. Jean d'Acre, and summoned it to surrender. The pacha, named, from his fierce cruelties, Djezzaar, or the Butcher, instead of returning an answer, cut off the head of the messenger. Buonaparte vowed an awful revenge. But the pacha had warned Sir Sidney Smith, who was off the coast ready to convey the Turkish army to Egypt, of the appearance of the French before Acre; and Sir Sidney, so famous already for his exploits at Toulon, where he and Buonaparte had met, sailed into the port with two ships of the line, the Tigre and the Theseus. Scarcely had Sir Sidney arrived, when he heard of the approach of a French frigate flotilla bringing to Buonaparte artillery, ammunition, and machines for the siege. He captured seven vessels out of the nine, and turned the artillery on the walls against the French themselves. A French royalist officer, General Phillippeaux, took charge of these cannon. The siege began on the 17th of March, and ended on the 21st of May—a period of sixty-five days, during which eight desperate assaults had been made, and eleven as desperate sallies. At one time Buonaparte had to march to Mount Tabor to disperse an army of Moslems; at another, he succeeded in making himself master of a tower which commanded the rest of the fortifications; but Sir Sidney Smith, himself leading on a body of his seamen armed with pikes, drove the French, in a hand-to-hand fight, from the tower. Buonaparte, one day walking on the hill still called C?ur de Lion's Mount, pointing to Acre, said to Murat, "The fate of the East depends upon yonder petty tower." Buonaparte had now, however, lost several of his best generals, and retreat was inevitable; but he endeavoured to cover the disgrace of it by asserting that it was the plague raging at Acre that drove him from it. On the march he proposed to Desgenettes, the surgeon, to end the lives of some of the wounded who encumbered him, by poisoning them with opium. Desgenettes replied indignantly that his art was employed to save, and not to kill. But the proposal soon grew into a rumour that it had been carried into execution, and that not on a few dozens, but on several hundreds—a rumour which continued to be believed for many years, not only by the other European nations, but by Buonaparte's own army. He continued his march back to Cairo, burning the crops and villages by the way, in revenge for the hostility of the natives. He reached Cairo on the 14th of June, his reputation much diminished by his repulse.
On the 19th of August the new Parliament assembled. The Session was opened by commission; the Royal Speech, which was read by the Lord Chancellor, contained a paragraph referring to the duties affecting the productions of foreign countries, and suggesting for consideration the question whether the principle of protection was not carried to an extent injurious alike to the income of the State and the interests of the people; whether the Corn Laws did not aggravate the natural fluctuations of supply; and whether they did not embarrass trade, derange the currency, and by their operation diminish the comfort and increase the privations of the great body of the community. Here was a distinct enunciation of the principles of Free Trade in the Speech from the Throne, for which, of course, the Ministers were responsible. The Address in the House of Lords was moved by Earl Spencer, a decided Free Trader, and seconded by the Marquis of Clanricarde. The debate was relieved from nullity by the Duke of Wellington's testimony to the conduct of Lord Melbourne towards the Queen. The Duke said—"He was willing to admit that the noble viscount had rendered the greatest possible service to her Majesty, in making her acquainted with the mode and policy of the government of this country, initiating her into the laws and spirit of the Constitution, independently of the performance of his duty as the servant of her Majesty's Crown; teaching her, in short, to preside over the destiny of this great country." The House divided, when it was found that there was a majority of 72 against the Government.
It is a curious fact, that whilst Cowper was haunted by the most agonising terrors of a nervous temperament, even to despair, his poetry breathes the most consolatory tone. Whilst his mind was often wandering in insanity, there is no composition so sane and so sound in intellectual substance as his. Though seldom indulging in high flights of imagination, yet his verse frequently rises into a richness and nobility of voice nearly equal to the prophetic. The "Lines on his Mother's Picture" exhibit the deep feeling of Cowper, and the ballad of "John Gilpin" the genuine mirth which often bubbled up in a heart so racked and tried with melancholy.详情
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