THE MUTINY AT SPITHEAD: HAULING DOWN THE RED FLAG ON THE "ROYAL GEORGE." (See p. 456.)
Among the historians of the time there are three or four names that deserve to be specially mentioned. The first is that of Sir James Mackintosh, who, notwithstanding the pressure of Parliamentary duties and the attractions of London society, so far conquered his constitutional indolence, increased by his residence in India, as to produce some literary works so valuable that it has been a source of regret that he could not find time to give to the world something more than fragments. His dissertation on "The Progress of Ethical Philosophy" shows what he could have accomplished in that field; while his three volumes of "The History of England" caused a general feeling of disappointment that he was not spared to complete the work. He was engaged on a history of the Revolution of 1688 when he died, rather suddenly, in May, 1832.The Parliamentary Session of 1791 was opened, after the Christmas recess, by Sir Philip Francis denouncing the war against Tippoo Sahib in India, and eulogising that prince. He moved thirteen resolutions condemnatory of the war; but they were all rejected, and Dundas, as head of the Board of Control, moved three counter-resolutions declaring that Tippoo had voluntarily broken the treaty made with him in 1784, and that faith must be kept with the Rajah of Travancore, whom he had attacked, as well as with the Nizam and the Mahrattas, and these resolutions were carried without a division.
It is said that Sir Robert had, some time before, addressed a letter to the Pretender with the object of softening the asperity of his partisans in England, and that this had so raised the hopes of James, that Walpole was actually intending to come round, that he had ordered his followers to avoid anything which should shake his power. Whatever the cause, the fact was striking, and the Opposition having concluded its onslaught upon him, he rose to make his reply. It was an occasion which demanded the utmost exertion of his powers, and he put them forth. Walpole's speech on this day has justly been deemed his masterpiece. It was four o'clock in the morning when he concluded his masterly defence, and the motion was instantly rejected by two hundred and ninety votes against one hundred and six. The immediate effect of the attack appeared to be to strengthen the Minister, and that considerably; his levée the next morning was more crowded than had ever been known, and he seemed to sway the Cabinet with uncontrolled power. But thinking men predicted that the blow would tell in the end, when the momentary enthusiasm had gone off; and Walpole himself seemed to be of the same opinion. The attack, in truth, was but the first outbreak of the storm which, kept up by the implacable spirit of a powerful Opposition, was sure to bear him down at last.
On the return of Wellington to the north, Beresford strictly blockaded Badajoz, and made all the preparations that he could for taking it by storm. But he was almost wholly destitute of tools for throwing up entrenchments, and of men who understood the business of sapping and mining. He was equally short of artillery, and the breaching-guns which he had, had no proper balls. The howitzers were too small for his shells, and he had few, if any, well-skilled officers of artillery. Besides this, the ground was very rocky, and the enemy, owing to their slow progress in the works, were able to make repeated sorties, so that they had killed four or five hundred of our men. In this situation, on the 12th of May, Beresford received the intelligence that Soult was advancing against him with nearly thirty thousand infantry and four thousand horse. Soult had been set at liberty to leave Seville by the conclusion of Graham's and Lape?a's expedition, and he had received reinforcements both from Sebastiani and from Madrid. Beresford immediately raised the siege, but instead of retiring he advanced against Soult to give him battle. Beresford had about twenty-five thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, but unfortunately ten thousand of these were Spaniards, for Casta?os had joined him. Casta?os was one of the best and most intelligent generals of Spain, and had a mind so far free from the absurd pride of his countrymen that he was willing to serve under Beresford. Blake was also in his army with a body of Spanish troops; but Blake was not so compliant as Casta?os, and their troops were just as undisciplined as ever.
ARREST OF BRITISH SAILORS BY GREEK SOLDIERS. (See p. 606.)
And, in truth, Ney was in the most terrible of situations. When he left Smolensk he was at the head of eight thousand men, but followed by an army of stragglers, whom the cannon of Platoff caused to evacuate Smolensk instantly, leaving behind him five thousand sick and wounded. When they reached the battle-field of Krasnoi they saw the carcases of their late comrades lying in heaps on the ground, and, a little beyond, the Russians in full force occupying the banks of the Losmina, and crowding all the hills around. In spite of this, Ney endeavoured to cut his way through, but failed, after a dreadful slaughter, and only saved one thousand five hundred men of his whole force by retreating and taking another route to the river, where he lost all his baggage, and such sick as he brought with him, for the ice broke with their weight. Pursued by the Cossacks, he came up with Davoust's division on the 20th of November. "When Napoleon," says Segur, "heard that Ney had reappeared, he leaped and shouted for joy, saying, 'Then I have saved my eagles! I would have given three hundred millions sooner than have lost him.'" The losses which troubled Napoleon were those which endangered his own safety or reputation; he thought little of the hundreds of thousands who had perished through this mad expedition; but he rejoiced over the safety of Ney, because he deemed it a pledge that his own escape was also assured.
On the 10th of February, 1797, the French made a descent on the Welsh coast, which created much alarm at the time, and no less speculation as to its meaning. Four armed vessels, containing about fourteen hundred men, had appeared in the Bristol Channel, off Ilfracombe, in north Devon. They did not attempt to land there, but stood over to the Welsh coast, and landed in a bay near Fishguard. They were commanded by General Tate, and commenced marching inland, and the whole country was in alarm. Lord Cawdor marched against them with three thousand men, including a considerable body of militia, and they at once laid down their arms and surrendered without a shot. Many were the conjectures as to the object of this descent, and historians have much puzzled themselves about a matter which appears plain enough. The men looked ragged and wild, more like felons than soldiers, and were apparently not unwilling to be made prisoners. They were, no doubt, a part of the great Brest fleet meant for Ireland, which had been driven about by the tempests ever since they quitted that port on the 17th of December, and were only too glad to set foot on any land at all, and probably were by this time so famished and bewildered that they did not know whether they were in England or Ireland. Many of their comrades of the same unfortunate expedition never did see land again.
CAPTURE OF WOLFE TONE. (See p. 464.)Gustavus Adolphus IV. of Sweden—with all the military ardour of Charles XII., but without his military talent; with all the chivalry of an ancient knight, but at the head of a kingdom diminished and impoverished—had resisted Buonaparte as proudly as if he were monarch of a nation of the first magnitude. He refused to fawn on Napoleon; he did not hesitate to denounce him as the curse of all Europe. He was the only king in Europe, except that of Great Britain, who withstood the marauder. He was at peace with Great Britain, but Alexander of Russia, who had for his own purposes made an alliance with Napoleon, called on him to shut out the British vessels from the Baltic. Gustavus indignantly refused, though he was at the same time threatened with invasion by France, whose troops, under Bernadotte, already occupied Denmark. At once he found Finland invaded by sixty thousand Russians, without any previous declaration of war. Finland was lost, and Alexander saw his treachery rewarded with the possession of a country larger than Great Britain, and with the whole eastern coast of the Baltic, from Tornea to Memel; the ?land Isles were also conquered and appropriated at this time. The unfortunate Gustavus, whose high honour and integrity of principle stood in noble contrast to those of most of the crowned heads of Europe, was not only deposed for his misfortunes, but his line deprived of the crown for ever. This took place in March, 1809. The unfortunate monarch was long confined in the castle of Gripsholm, where he was said to have been visited by the apparition of King Eric XIV. He was then permitted to retire into Germany, where, disdainfully refusing a pension, he divorced his wife, the sister of the Empress of Russia, assumed the name of Colonel Gustavson, and went, in proud poverty, to live in Switzerland. These events led to the last of Sweden's great transactions on the field of Europe, and by far the most extraordinary of all.
On the return of the king and Carteret, Parliament was opened on the 1st of December. The first trial of the Opposition was on the Address, on which occasion its real strength was not called forth, and this was carried by two hundred and seventy-eight votes against one hundred and forty-nine. But the subject of Hanoverian troops and Hanoverian measures soon displayed its extent and virulence. There was a vehement feeling against everything relating to Hanover, and Pitt lost no time in denouncing Carteret and his measures in the most bitter terms. Pitt's thunder was echoed by others, and the scene in the Commons was described by a spectator as like nothing but a tumultuous Polish Diet. Such was the ferment amid which opened the year 1744, and it soon became evident that the existence of the country was at stake. Preparations had been making for the invasion of England for some time. Cardinal Tencin, the new French Minister, sent Murray of Broughton to James in Rome, to desire him to send his eldest son, Prince Charles, to France to be in readiness for the campaign in England, and in due course the Young Pretender arrived at Gravelines.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.详情
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