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.
But our military achievements in the East Indies were on a scale to throw even these successes far into the shade. Lord Wellesley, the Governor-General, was entreated by the Peishwa of Poonah to assist him against the other Mahratta chiefs, Scindiah and Holkar. The Peishwa had been driven out of his territory by these chiefs, aided principally by the military talents of M. Perron, a Frenchman, who had for many years entered, with several other French officers, on the fall of the Mysore power, into the service of Scindiah. He had been extremely successful, and had been rewarded with a wide territory on the Jumna; and when, in 1793, Shah Allum, the Mogul, had been made prisoner, he had been consigned to the custody of M. Perron. The Frenchman had now given his aid to expel the Peishwa, and Lord Wellesley, in sending General Lake to restore the Peishwa, authorised him to attempt to win over M. Perron to the British interest by very brilliant offers of property and distinction, for Perron was deemed avaricious. The temptation, however, failed, both with Perron and his French officers. He took the field in support of Scindiah, with seventeen thousand infantry, from fifteen to twenty thousand Mahratta horse, and a numerous train of artillery.
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."Meanwhile, the attention of the Western Powers was called to the constitutional monarchy of Spain. For, whatever were its merits in comparison with the systems that preceded it, it had not the merit of securing good government, protecting life and property, and maintaining public tranquillity. During the summer of 1836 that country, always more or less disturbed, was the scene of fresh tumults and insurrections, breaking out at different points, at Malaga, Cadiz, Seville, and Cordova. The Constitution of 1812 was proclaimed, and provincial juntas were established in defiance of the queen's authority. Madrid was also the scene of insurrection, which was repressed, and the city was put in a state of siege. Soon afterwards a more determined demand was made for the Constitution of 1812, when a regiment of militia forced themselves into the apartments of the queen regent, in spite of the remonstrances of the French and British Ambassadors, and extorted from her a promise to accept that Constitution. This daring act was the signal for a general rising in the capital. The Prime Minister, Isturitz, fled to Lisbon, and there took ship for England. He was fortunate in escaping with his life, for had he fallen into the hands of the enraged populace he would probably have shared the fate of General Quesada, the military governor of Madrid, who was caught about three miles from the capital and killed. Order was at length restored by the queen regent proclaiming the Constitution, subject to the revision of the Cortes and by the appointment of a decidedly Liberal Administration, which commenced by calling for a conscription of 50,000 men to carry on the war against the Carlists, who were still in active rebellion. The Constitution so imperatively demanded by the people was first proclaimed at Cadiz in 1812, and again by Riego in 1820. It now was brought forward once more, and on the 24th of February, 1837, adopted by the general Cortes assembled for the purpose, having been previously revised by a committee.
In this situation the English General determined to attempt—what he should have attempted at first—to force the American lines. Accordingly, on the 7th of October, he drew out one thousand five hundred picked men, and formed them less than a mile from the American camp. No sooner were they descried, than they were attacked furiously by Poor's New Hampshire brigade. The attack extended rapidly to the right, where Morgan and his rifle corps stole round through some woods, and opened fire on the flank of the column. Other troops rushed out of the American entrenchments, and endeavoured to force their way between the British and their camp; but Major Ackland and his riflemen withstood them bravely; yet Burgoyne and his one thousand five hundred men were forced to fall back, leaving their cannon behind them. Morgan and his riflemen were now arriving, under cover of the woods, near the flank of the right wing; and Fraser, perceiving them, advanced to dislodge them. In this he succeeded, but was picked off by the American marksmen, as usual safe behind their trees, and fell mortally wounded. Meanwhile Colonel Brooks, at the head of Jackson's regiment of Massachusetts, was more successful. He turned the entrenchments of the German brigade, maintained his ground within the lines, and, to the wonderful relief of the Americans, seized the baggage of the Germans, and an ample supply of ammunition.(After the Portrait by Dance, in Greenwich Hospital.)
On hearing this, Burgoyne dispatched Colonel Baum with two pieces of artillery and eight hundred men—dismounted German dragoons and British marksmen. They were to surprise Bennington, a place about twenty miles to the east of the Hudson, where the Americans had collected their stores from New England, and, having secured these, to return and carry them to St. Leger. Baum, however, found himself surrounded by Generals Starke and Warner at St. Corick's Mill, on Walloon Creek, six miles from Bennington, before help came up. For two hours a fierce attack was kept up on Baum's entrenchments on all sides by the Americans with muskets and rifles. Baum made a most gallant defence, and three times drove them from some high ground which they occupied above his camp. At last he was picked off by a rifleman and fell mortally wounded. His German troops retreated into the woods, in the direction of Fort Edward, and were there met by Breyman, who was slowly advancing with reinforcements. He reorganised the fugitives, and commenced his retreat, hotly pursued by Starke and Warner; he made his way back to Burgoyne, but not until he had fired nearly his last cartridge.[See larger version]
These debates were immediately followed by the opening of the Budget on the 23rd of February—an opening which was enough to have made any men but such as were then at the head of British affairs pause in their ruinous career. There was a call for one hundred thousand seamen, for one hundred and sixty thousand regulars, and fifty-six thousand militia—total, two hundred and sixteen thousand soldiers, besides volunteers, fencibles, and foreign troops in British pay, amounting, by land and sea, to at least four hundred thousand men! For their support there were demanded sixteen million and twenty-seven thousand pounds, in addition to other taxes to make up deficiencies and interest on the Debt; the whole revenue demanded was twenty-seven million five hundred thousand pounds. Besides this there was an annual subsidy to the King of Sardinia of two hundred thousand pounds, although there was no prospect whatever of saving him. To raise all this, new duties had to be laid on tea, coffee, raisins, foreign groceries and fruits, foreign timber, insurances, writs, affidavits, hair-powder, licences, etc., and the revenue from the Post Office, while the privilege of franking had to be abridged. The only tax that the compliant aristocracy protested against was that on the powdered pates of their menials; but the country cried lustily and in vain against the increase of taxation, which, gross as it was, was but the beginning of their burdens and of the burden of posterity.The king left Scotland on the 29th, taking a route different from that by which he entered. On his way to the place of embarkation he visited the Earl of Hopetoun, at whose house he conferred the honour of knighthood on Mr. Raeburn, the celebrated portrait-painter. At Queensferry the country people assembled to testify their loyalty with a last look and a parting cheer. The roar of cannon from all the surrounding hills, and the shouts of the multitude, greeted him on his embarkation at Port Edgar. The royal squadron arrived safely on the 1st of September at Greenwich, where he was cordially welcomed home.
Ministers were in haste to close and dissolve Parliament in order to call a new one before the very probable demise of the king—for though they had provided that in case of the decease of the queen the Parliament should not reassemble, this did not apply to the decease of the king; and should this take place before the day fixed for the assembling of the new Parliament, the old Parliament—even though formally dissolved—would reassemble: therefore, on the 10th of June—the very day after the passing of the supplementary Alien Bill—the Prince Regent came down to the House of Lords, prorogued Parliament, and then immediately the Lord Chancellor pronounced it dissolved. The members of the Commons were taken by surprise. No such sudden dismissal had taken place since 1625, when Charles I. dismissed his Oxford Parliament after a single week's session. On the return to their own House the Speaker was proceeding, as usual, to read the Royal Speech, but he was reminded by Mr. Tierney that there was no Parliament in existence, and by Lord Castlereagh that, by so doing, he might render himself liable to a Pr?munire, and he therefore desisted and the members withdrew.The triumph of the mob had consummated the triumph of Jacobinism. The Republic was at length established, but not to the benefit of the Girondists. The ruin of royalty, for which they had so zealously laboured, was in reality their own ruin. The Jacobins, and at their head the sanguinary Robespierre, were left without a rival, except in that mob by which they worked, and which was destined to destroy them too. Danton appeared before the Assembly on the morning of the 10th, at the head of a deputation of the Commune, to state what had been done, and said plainly, "The people who send us to you have charged us to declare that they think you worthy of their confidence, but that they recognise no other judge of the extraordinary measures to which necessity has forced them to recur than the French nation—our sovereign and yours—convoked in primary Assemblies." This was announcing without disguise that the Clubs were the supreme authorities. The Assembly felt its weakness and professed to approve of everything. Next, the new Ministers were chosen; Roland, as Minister of the Interior; Servan, as War Minister; and Clavière as Minister of Finance. But to these were added Danton as Minister of Justice, Mongé as Minister of the Marine, and Le Brun as Minister of Foreign Affairs. They were to receive instructions, not from Louis, but from the Assembly. And now came into full light the mortal antagonism of the Assembly and the Clubs, and the real ascendency of the latter. The Assembly voted for the education of the Dauphin; the Clubs called for the utter removal of royalty. The Assembly recommended an active campaign against Foreign Powers, but mercy to the vanquished; the Clubs called for instant and universal vengeance on all supporters of royalty, who, they said, had intended to massacre the people and bring in the Prussians. They declared that there was no need of electoral bodies to form a new Assembly, but that every man, and some said every woman, was entitled to vote; and they insisted that the people ought to come in arms to manifest their wishes to the legislative body. This was plainly-avowed mob rule. Marat argued loudly for this and for purging France, as he called it, by cutting off every man, woman, and child that was not for mob rule; and Robespierre demanded the removal of the Assembly as effete and the summoning of a Convention. His advice was adopted, and the National Democratic Convention was convoked for the 21st of September. In the interval the Royalists were murdered in the prisons, and the Revolutionary Commune established at Paris. News of the most alarming character arrived from the frontier, Lafayette had gone over to the enemy, and the Prussians had taken Longwy.This was not the only bitter pill that poor Lord Eldon was compelled to swallow. Without one word of intimation from the king or the Prime Minister, he learnt for the first time from the Courier that Mr. Huskisson had been introduced into the Cabinet. Mr. Huskisson was made President of the Board of Trade, and in his stead Mr. Arbuthnot became First Commissioner of the Land Revenues. Mr. Vansittart, who had proved a very inefficient Chancellor of the Exchequer, was raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Bexley, and got the quiet office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was succeeded in the more important office by a much abler financier, Mr. Robinson.
The Budget was brought forward on the 13th of February. It proposed to continue the income tax, which experience had shown to afford a means of supplying the place of taxes repealed, until such time as the revenue should recover itself. The Minister then unfolded his scheme, which formed no unworthy complement to his great Budget of 1842. It proposed a reduction in the sugar duties, which could not be calculated at less than ￡1,300,000, and was expected to lower the price to the consumer by about 1-1/4d. a pound. The Minister then proceeded to refer to a list of articles, 430 in number, which yielded but trifling amounts of revenue, and many of which were raw materials used in the various manufactures of the country, including silk, hemp, flax, and yarn or thread (except worsted yarn), all woods used in cabinet-making, animal and vegetable oils, iron and zinc in the first stages, ores and minerals (except copper ore, to which the last Act was still to apply), dye stuffs of all kinds, and all drugs, with very few exceptions; on the whole of these articles he proposed to repeal the duties altogether, not even leaving a nominal rate for registration, but retaining the power of examination. The timber duties generally he proposed to continue as they were, with the one exception of staves, which, as the raw material of the extensive manufacture of casks, he proposed to include with the 430 articles, and to take off the duty altogether. On these articles the loss amounted to ￡320,000. The next and most important relief in the whole proposition was the article of cotton wool, on which the Minister proposed also to reduce the duty altogether, and on which he estimated the loss at ￡680,000; and these constituted the whole of the proposed reductions of the import duties—that is, sugar, cotton wool, and the numerous small articles in the tariff. The next items of reduction proposed were the few remaining duties on our exports, such as china-stone, and other trifling things, but including the most important article of coals, on which the duty had been placed by the Government, and at the result of which Sir Robert Peel candidly avowed his disappointment. The duties he estimated at ￡118,000. He then passed on to the excise duties, among which he had selected two items of great importance for entire repeal—the auction duty and the glass duties. By a repeal of the auction duty he estimated a loss of ￡300,000; but as he proposed, at the same time, to increase the auctioneer's licence uniformly from ￡5 to ￡15 (making one licence answer for all purposes, whereas, at that time, several licences were often necessary to the same party) he expected from 4,000 auctioneers an increased income, so as to reduce this loss to ￡250,000. On the important article of glass he gave up ￡642,000. These constituted the whole of his proposals; and the surplus of ￡2,409,000 was thus proposed to be disposed of:—Estimated loss on sugar, ￡1,300,000; duty on cotton repealed, ￡680,000; ditto on 430 articles in tariff, ￡320,000; export duty on coal, ￡118,000; auction duty, ￡250,000; glass, ￡642,000. Total, ￡3,310,000.DEATH OF WOLFE. (After the Painting by Benjamin West, P.R.A.)This Bill made it obvious that a great light had broken on the British Government from the American Revolution; it was discovered that the best way to govern and retain our colonies was to allow them to govern themselves. This knowledge was worth all the loss and annoyance of the American Revolution. Fox expressed his approbation of the principle, and all appeared favourable to the passing of the measure. It was allowed to proceed without opposition through its first and second reading, and through the committee; but when it was reported, then came a scene of violent contention, arising not so much from the Bill itself as from the state of parties, and the making a peg of this question on which to hang the conflicting opinions of different members on a very different question—that of the French Revolution. Not only had Fox and Burke and Sheridan broken up their old friendship on this question, Sheridan being as enthusiastic about the Revolution as Fox, but it had split up the whole Whig party. Burke had published his eloquent "Reflections on the French Revolution," and subsequently, in February of this year, a "Letter to a Member of the National Assembly," in which he had repeated and extended his opinions upon it. The Duke of Portland and Mr. Windham took Burke's view of the nature of the French principles. However, it was not merely in Parliament, but also throughout the country that opinions were divided on the subject. Societies were formed to recommend the introduction of French Revolutionary principles into Great Britain, and many eminent men, especially among the Dissenters, took the lead in them, as we shall presently see. The tendency to despotic government in Britain, and a spreading conviction that Parliament was not truly elected by the people, rendered large numbers favourable to these views. In Parliament, however, the great shock of battle took place between the so long united friends and fellow-labourers in reform, Fox and Burke, and because the Canada Bill affected a French people, it was thought a proper occasion by these statesmen to indulge in a lengthy and violent discussion of their clashing views, in which the proper question before Parliament, the Quebec Bill, was soon lost sight of.
But that there should be a majority at all on such a question brought the Opposition to try an experiment which they had been for some time planning. This was the absurd scheme of seceding in a body from the House of Commons, on the plea that a paid and standing majority rendered all reason and argument nugatory. In the course of his farewell speech, Wyndham made use of such violent language, that Mr. Pelham jumped up to move the commitment of the honourable member to the Tower; but Walpole was too well aware that such a proceeding would only have served the ends of the Opposition, rendering them martyrs to their country's cause, and raising a vivid interest in their behalf. He therefore stopped him, and said that the measures which that gentleman and his friends might pursue gave him no uneasiness; on the contrary, the House was much obliged to them for pulling off the mask. Relieved of their presence, he now carried his measures in unopposed quiet.Before the conclusion of the reign of George II. a new school of fiction had appeared. De Foe had, besides his "Robinson Crusoe," opened up the inexhaustible field of incident and character existing in actual life in his "Colonel Jack," "Moll Flanders," "Roxana," and other novels, and Fielding and Richardson extended it. Fielding, too, died six years before the beginning of this reign, and Richardson in the first year of it. But their works were in full circulation, and extended their influence far into this period. They have, therefore, been left to be noticed here in connection with the class of writers to whom they gave origin, and to whom they properly belong. Richardson (b. 1689; d. 1761) seems to have originated the true novel of real life in his "Pamela," which was the history of a servant, written with that verisimilitude that belongs to biography. This was commenced in 1740, and brought to a conclusion in 1741. The extra-ordinary sensation which it created was sufficient proof that the author had struck into the very heart of nature, and not only knew where the seat of human passion lay, but had the highest command over it. It was not, in fact, from books and education, but from native insight and acute observation, that he drew his power. He was born in Derbyshire, and received his education at a common day-school. He was then apprenticed as a printer in London, and established himself as a master in that business, which he continued to pursue with great success. His "Pamela" ran through five editions in the first year. In 1748 appeared his "Clarissa Harlowe," and wonderfully extended his reputation, which reached its full blaze in his "Sir Charles Grandison," in 1754. In all these works he showed himself a perfect analyst of the human heart, and detector of the greatest niceties of character. Though he could have known little or nothing of aristocratic life, yet, trusting to the sure guidance of nature, he drew ladies and gentlemen, and made them act and converse as the first ladies and gentlemen of the age would have been proud to act and speak. A more finished gentleman than Sir Charles Grandison, or correcter lady than Miss Byron, was never delineated. The only thing was, that, not being deeply versed in the debaucheries and vulgarisms of the so-called high life of the time, he drew it as much purer and better than it was. It is in the pages of Fielding and Smollett that we must seek for the darker and more real character of the age. The fault of Richardson was his prolixity. He develops his plot, and draws all his characters, and works out his narrative with the minutest strokes. It is this which prevents him from being read now. Who could wade through a novel of nine volumes? Yet these were devoured by the readers of that time with an avidity that not even the novels of Sir Walter Scott were waited for in the height of his popularity.The third topic discussed at these conferences was the nature of the relations then subsisting between France and Spain, and the projects of the former power in reference to the latter. These were explained by the Minister without any reserve, and with no symptoms of apprehension that they would be disagreeable to Britain, or of anxiety as to the result, whether they were so or not. He frankly avowed that, under cover of the sanitary cordon, 100,000 French troops were assembled; that it was proposed to throw them in two columns into Spain; that one column, of 40,000 men, was to pass into Catalonia, while the other, of 60,000, was to march by the great road through Irun upon Madrid. He stated that the sole object of this invasion was to insure the personal safety of the king, to afford him the opportunity to collect a native force strong enough to enable him to protect himself against the schemes of the Revolutionists—that is, to put down the Constitution. Of course, France said she entertained no views of conquest or aggrandisement, or even of prolonged occupation. She would withdraw her troops whenever the King of Spain said he could do without them, and yield up every inch of territory. In reference to this matter the Duke of Wellington wrote home for instructions, and in reply Canning said:—"If there be a determined project to interfere by force or by menace in the present struggle in Spain, so convinced are his Majesty's Government of the uselessness and danger of any such interference—so objectionable does it appear to them in principle, as well as utterly impracticable in execution—that when the necessity arises—or, I would rather say, when the opportunity offers—I am to instruct your grace at once frankly and peremptorily to declare that to any such interference, come what may, his Majesty will not be a party." To say that England peremptorily declined "to be a party" to the invasion of an independent state, in order to force upon the people a government contrary to their will, was not saying very much, nor putting the objection very strongly. We are assured, however, that the Duke steadily set his face against the project, pointing out that the step would be not only unjust, but impolitic; that it would precipitate the catastrophe which the French Government feared; that the Revolutionists would probably remove Ferdinand from Madrid as soon as they heard of the passing of the frontier by the French troops, and that, even if these troops should reach the capital, the Spaniards would not therefore submit, nor would the king be set at liberty. He argued that a war between France and Spain for such a purpose would be pronounced a war to put down free institutions, and that if France sought the support of her allies, the only one amongst them that had free institutions would feel it her duty to meet such a request with a refusal. Europe would be ranged into two hostile camps, that of absolutism on the one side and of revolution on the other; amid which not thrones only, but settled governments in every form, might be overthrown. In reply to these arguments, both the king and his Minister stated that whatever France might do in the matter she would do single-handed, and that she would not only not apply for assistance from without, but that, if such assistance were offered, she would refuse it. The Duke could not, however, prevail upon the French Government to refrain from bringing the question between France and Spain before the Congress. The king and his Minister both contended that vast moral good would accrue from a joint remonstrance on the part of the Allies against the treatment to which the King of Spain was subjected, and a joint threat that if any violence were offered to his person or family all would unite to avenge the outrage.详情
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