There was no man in the colonies, nevertheless, who contributed so much to bring the open Declaration of Independence to a crisis as Thomas Paine, the celebrated author of "The Rights of Man" and of "The Age of Reason." Paine was originally a Quaker and staymaker at Thetford, in Norfolk. He renounced his Quakerism and his staymaking, became an exciseman, and then an usher in a school, reverting again to the gauging of ale firkins. In 1772 he wrote a pamphlet on the mischiefs arising from the inadequate payment of the excise officers, laying them open to bribes, etc. This pamphlet having been sent to Franklin, induced him to recommend the poor author to emigrate to America. Paine adopted the advice, and settled at Philadelphia in 1774. He there devoted himself to political literature, wrote for the papers and journals, finally edited the Philadelphia Magazine, and, imbibing all the ardour of revolution, wrote, in January of the year 1776, a pamphlet called "Common Sense." This pamphlet was the spark that was needed to fire the train of independence. It at once seized on the imagination of the public, cast other writers into the shade, and flew, in thousands and tens of thousands of copies, throughout the colonies. It ridiculed the idea of a small island, three thousand miles off, ruling that immense continent, and threatening, by its insolent assumption, the expanding energies of three millions of men, more vigorous, virtuous, and free, than those who sought to enslave them.During his absence from the extreme south, General Graham, with about four thousand British and Portuguese, had quitted Cadiz by sea, and proceeded to Alge?iras, where he landed, intending to take Victor, who was blockading Cadiz, in the rear. His artillery, meanwhile, was landed at Tarifa; and on marching thither by land, over dreadful mountain roads, he was joined, on the 27th of February, by the Spanish General Lape?a, with seven thousand men. Graham consented to the Spaniard taking the chief command—an ominous concession; and the united force—soon after joined by a fresh body of about one thousand men, making the whole force about twelve thousand—then marched forward towards Medina Sidonia, through the most execrable roads. Victor was fully informed of the movements of this army, and advanced to support General Cassagne, who held Medina Sidonia. No sooner did he quit his lines before Cadiz than the Spanish General De Zogas crossed from the Isle de Leon, and menaced the left of the French army. On this Victor halted at Chiclana, and ordered Cassagne to join him there. He expected nothing less than that Lape?a would manage to join De Zogas, and that fresh forces, marching out of Cadiz and the Isle of Leon, would co-operate with them, and compel him to raise the siege altogether. But nothing so vigorous was to be expected from a Spanish general. Lape?a was so slow and cautious in his movements that Graham could not get him to make any determined advance; and on arriving at the heights of Barrosa, which a Spanish force had been sent forward to occupy, this body of men had quitted their post, and Victor was in possession of these important positions, which completely stopped the way to Cadiz and at the same time rendered retreat almost equally impossible. Lape?a was skirmishing, at about three miles' distance, with an inconsiderable force, and the cavalry was also occupied in another direction. Seeing, therefore, no prospect of receiving aid from the Spaniards, General Graham determined to attack Marshal Victor, and drive him from the heights, though the latter's force was twice as strong as the former's. This Graham did after a most desperate struggle. Had Lape?a shown any vigour or activity, Victor's retreating army might have been prevented from regaining its old lines; but it was in vain that Graham urged him to the pursuit. Lord Wellington eulogised the brilliant action of the heights of Barrosa, in a letter to Graham, in the warmest terms, declaring that, had the Spanish general done his duty, there would have been an end of the blockade of Cadiz. As it was, Victor returned to his lines and steadily resumed the siege. In the meantime, Admiral Keats, with a body of British sailors and marines, had attacked and destroyed all the French batteries and redoubts on the bay of Cadiz, except that of Catina, which was too strong for his few hundred men to take.
ASSASSINATION OF COUNT LAMBERG. (See p. 579.)
There was another point, besides the seizure of unsuspecting British travellers, on which Buonaparte could deeply wound the honour of the British monarch, and at the same time furnish himself with considerable materials of war—the seizure of Hanover. George III. held this hereditary territory distinct from his Crown of Britain, as a State of the German federation. It was impossible to defend this against France with the forces kept there, and Napoleon ordered General Mortier to cross the Dutch frontier, and march into the Electorate with twenty thousand men. The Duke of Cambridge, who was Viceroy there, and General Walmoden, at first, put themselves in an attitude of resistance; they called on the chief Powers of Germany to protest against this invasion of the German Empire, and to come to their aid, if this remonstrance was disregarded. The Duke of Cambridge, seeing himself totally deserted by Germany, thought it best to surrender Hanover to France, by agreement that the troops should retire behind the Elbe, and not serve again till exchanged. This was done at the end of May; the different towns made their submission on the 3rd of June, and on the 5th Mortier entered Hanover; the Duke of Cambridge had quitted the country; and the British Cabinet refusing to ratify the Convention previously made with him, he called on the Hanoverian army to surrender as prisoners of war. Walmoden would have resisted with anything like equal forces, but as that was impossible, he made the best terms he could, which were that his army should give up their arms and disband themselves.The queen closed the session on the 9th of July, assuring the Parliament that her chief concern was for the preservation of our holy religion and the liberty of the subject—this liberty having been most grievously invaded by her through the Schism Bill. But the dissolution of her Ministry was also fast approaching. The hostility of Oxford and Bolingbroke was becoming intolerable, and paralysed all the proceedings of Government. As for Oxford, he felt himself going, and had not the boldness and resolution to do what would ruin his rival. He coquetted with the Whigs—Cowper, Halifax, and others; he wrote to Marlborough, and did all but throw himself into the arms of the Opposition. Had he had the spirit to do that he might have been saved; but it was not in his nature. He might then have uncovered to the day the whole monstrous treason of Bolingbroke; but he had himself so far and so often, though never heartily or boldly, tampered with treason, that he dreaded Bolingbroke's retaliation. Bothmar, the Hanoverian envoy, saw clearly that Oxford was lost. He wrote home that there were numbers who would have assisted him to bring down his rival, but that he could not be assisted, because, according to the English maxim, he did not choose to assist himself. Swift endeavoured, but in vain, to reconcile his two jarring friends; and Oxford finally utterly lost himself by offending the great favourite, Lady Masham. He had been imprudent enough to oppose her wishes, and refuse her some matter of interest. He now was treated by her with such marked indignity, that Dr. Arbuthnot declared that he would no more have suffered what he had done than he would have sold himself to the galleys. Still, with his singular insensibility to insult, he used to dine at the same table with her frequently, and also in company with Bolingbroke, too.
Towards the end of William IV.'s reign the style of ladies' dress suddenly changed. The unshapely short-waisted robe was succeeded by one of ampler dimensions, longer and fuller, with a moderate amount of crinoline—enough to give dignity and grace to the figure, but not expanding to the same absurd extent as afterwards—and long pointed stomachers. The bonnets were considerably reduced in size. The ball dresses at the beginning of the Victorian reign became more like those of a later day, except that they were then made of heavy, rich materials—silk, satin, brocade, etc. The style of the sleeve varied, but one of the fashions at this time was a puffing at the shoulder, and sloping gradually down, commonly called the "leg-of-mutton sleeve." The cloaks were large and full, enveloping the whole figure, and reaching almost to the ground.The business of the Regency was so important that Parliament—without adjourning, as usual, for the Christmas holidays—opened the year 1811, on the very first of January, by proceeding with it. An alteration in the fifth resolution, somewhat reducing the expense of the royal household, and also limiting more strictly the authority of the Queen, was proposed, and carried against Ministers, by two hundred and twenty-six votes against two hundred and thirteen. Perceval in the Commons, and Lord Liverpool in the Lords, moved amendments on this change but without effect. Another alteration was proposed by Lord Grenville, that the Regent should be allowed to elevate lawyers and other civilians to the peerage, as well as military men; and this was readily agreed to. The remaining restrictions were to terminate in February, 1812, if the House had been sitting then six weeks, or otherwise, after the sitting of the House for six weeks after its next assembling. Deputations were appointed by both Houses to announce these resolutions to the Regent and the Queen. The Regent complained of the restrictions, but the Queen expressed herself quite satisfied. The Great Seal was then affixed to a commission for opening Parliament under the Regent, after some opposition by Lord Grey. The House then adjourned till the 15th of January.There was no difficulty in these negotiations as to the full and entire recognition of the independence of the States. The difficult points were but two—one regarding the fishery, and the other regarding the interests of the Royalists or Tories. The British Commissioners stood out strongly for the free permission of all who had been engaged in the war on the English side to return to their homes, and for the restitution of all property confiscated in consequence of such partisanship. The American Commissioners endeavoured to meet this demand by saying the recommendations of Congress would have all the effect that the English proposed. This the Commissioners regarded as so many words, and they insisted so determinedly on this head, that it appeared likely the negotiation would be broken off altogether. At last Franklin said they would consent to allow for all losses suffered by the Royalists, on condition that a debtor and a creditor account was opened, and recompense made for the damages done by the Royalists on the other side; commissioners to be appointed for the purpose of settling all those claims. The English envoys saw at once that this was a deception, that there would be no meeting, or no use in meeting, and they therefore abandoned the point; and the question of the fishing being in part conceded, the provisional articles were signed on the 30th of November, by the four American Commissioners on the one side, and by Mr. Oswald on the other. In the preamble it was stated that these articles were to be inserted in, and to constitute, a treaty of peace, but that the treaty was not to be concluded until the terms of peace had also been settled with France and Spain.
The world looked on in astonishment—diplomatists in dread of more secret and momentous compacts, and that not without cause. In the heat of this hastily-formed alliance, it was proposed to marry the young Archduchess, the heiress of the Austrian States, to one of the Infants of Spain—a contract, if carried out, which would probably have overthrown all that had been done at such cost of life and wealth for the establishment of the balance of power. This dangerous project was frustrated by other events, but serious engagements were entered into for compelling England to surrender Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain, and for placing the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain.
By the marvellous aids of canals and steam-engines manufacturing power became most immensely augmented in all directions, but especially in the spinning and weaving of cotton goods. The machines invented by Wyatt and Paul in 1733, and improved by Arkwright in 1767, if not invented anew, without knowledge of Wyatt and Paul's plan of spinning by rollers—a moot point; the spinning-jenny with seven spindles, invented by James Hargreaves, a weaver near Blackburn, in 1767; and the mule-jenny, combining the working of the machines of Arkwright and Hargreaves, by Samuel Crompton, in 1779, completely superseded spinning cotton yarn by hand. These machines were first worked by water power, but steam power was used after the steam-engine had been invented; and the growth of cotton-spinning became rapid beyond conception, spreading over all Lancashire and the midland counties in a marvellous manner. The cotton-mills of Robert Peel, in Lancashire and Staffordshire; of the Strutts, at Belper, in Derbyshire; of Dale, at New Lanark; of Robinson, at Papplewick; and Arkwright, at Cromford, which raised these gentlemen to vast wealth, being only the leviathans amongst swarming concerns of less dimensions.The audacity of Buonaparte still further excited the indignation of the British Government. Under the name of consuls, he sent over to England and Ireland a number of military officers, whose real business was to act as privileged spies, to prepare plans of all the chief ports, with soundings, and an exact account of the winds with which vessels could go out or come in with most ease, and also at what draught of water the harbours might be entered by large vessels. These agents had been instructed to maintain the utmost secrecy as to their real objects, but they became known, and Ministers announced that any person coming in such a character to this country should be ordered instantly to quit it. Neither was the temper of the nation at all improved by the irritating proceedings of the French authorities on the coasts of France. A law had been passed by the Jacobins, in the most rabid time of the Revolution, condemning any vessel under a hundred tons burden found within four leagues of the French shores, having on board British merchandise. It was taken for granted that this decree was virtually annulled by the Peace of Amiens; but repeated seizures were now made of British merchant vessels driven by stress of weather on the French coasts, and the mere fact of having plates, knives, and forks for the crew, of British make, was used as a plea for confiscation of ships. It was in vain that remonstrances were made to the First Consul: they passed without notice. Such a peace it was evident could not last long. Napoleon was in a mood to brook no control from any quarter; he at this time showed how completely he would crush any creature who offended him when he had the power.
[See larger version]Paine, in his "Rights of Man," was far from restricting himself to the courtesies of life in attacking Burke. He had been most hospitably received by Burke on many occasions at his house, and had corresponded with him, and must therefore have seen sufficient of him to know that, though he might become extremely enthusiastic in his championship of certain views, he could never become mean or dishonest. Yet Paine did not hesitate to attribute to him the basest and most sordid motives. He branded him as the vilest and most venal of apostates. Paine had, in fact, become a monomaniac in Republicanism. He had been engaged to the last in the American Revolution, and was now living in Paris, and constantly attending the Jacobin club. He was hand-in-hand with the most rabid of the Republicans, and was fast imbibing their anti-Christian tenets. Paine fully believed that the French were inaugurating something much finer than any millennium; that they were going to establish the most delightful liberty, equality, and fraternity, not simply throughout France but throughout the world. Before the doctrines of the French clubbists and journalists, all superstition, all despotism, all unkindness were to vanish from amongst mankind, and a paradisiacal age of love and felicity was to commence. To those who pointed to the blood and fury already too prominently conspicuous in this business, he replied that these were but the dregs of corrupt humanity, which were working off in the great fermentation, and all would become clear and harmonious.
But the Nabob of Oude held out new temptations of gain to Hastings. The Rohillas, a tribe of Afghans, had, earlier in the century, descended from their mountains and conquered the territory lying between the Ganges and the mountains to the west of Oude. They had given it the name of Rohilcund. These brave warriors would gladly have been allies of the British, and applied to Sujah Dowlah to bring about such an alliance. Dowlah made fair promises, but he had other views. He hoped, by the assistance of the British, to conquer Rohilcund and add it to Oude. He had no hope that his rabble of the plains could stand against this brave mountain race, and he now artfully stated to Hastings that the Mahrattas were at war with the Rohillas. If they conquered them, they would next attack Oude, and, succeeding there, would descend the Ganges and spread over all Bahar and Bengal. He therefore proposed that the British should assist him to conquer Rohilcund for himself, and add it to Oude. For this service he would pay all the expenses of the campaign, the British army would obtain a rich booty, and at the end he would pay the British Government besides the sum of forty lacs of rupees. Hastings had no cause of quarrel with the Rohillas, but for the proffered reward he at once acceded to the proposal. In April, 1774, an English brigade, under Colonel Champion, invaded Rohilcund, and in a hard-fought field defeated the Rohillas. In the whole of this campaign nothing could be more disgraceful in every way than the conduct of the troops of Oude. They took care to keep behind during the fighting, but to rush forward to the plunder. The Nabob and his troops committed such horrors in plundering and massacreing not only the Rohillas, but the native and peaceful Hindoos, that the British officers and soldiers denounced the proceedings with horror. It was now, however, in vain that Hastings called on the Nabob to restrain his soldiers, for, if he did not plunder, how was he to pay the stipulated forty lacs of rupees? and if he ruined and burnt out the natives, how were they, Hastings asked, to pay any taxes to him as his new subjects? All this was disgraceful enough, but this was not all. Shah Allum now appeared upon the scene, and produced a contract between himself and the Nabob, which had been made unknown to Hastings, by which the Nabob of Oude stipulated that, on condition of the Mogul advancing against the Rohillas from the south of Delhi, he should receive a large share of the conquered territory and the plunder. The Nabob now refused to fulfil the agreement, on the plea that the Mogul ought to have come and fought, and Hastings sanctioned that view of the case, and returned to Calcutta with his ill-gotten booty.Such was the condition into which an army and navy, once illustrious through the victories of Marlborough and Blake, were reduced by the aristocratic imbecility of the Newcastles, Bedfords, and Cumberlands. This last princely general had, in fact, put the climax to his career. He had placed himself at the head of fifty thousand confederate troops, in which there were no English, except the officers of his own staff, to defend his father's Electorate of Hanover. But this ruthless general, who never won a battle except the solitary one of Culloden, against a handful of famished men, was found totally incompetent to cope with the French general, d'Estrées. He allowed the French to cross the deep and rapid Weser, and continued to fall back before them as they entered the Electorate, until he was driven to the village of Hastenbeck, near Hameln, where the enemy overtook and defeated him. He then continued his retreat across the desolate Lüneburg Heath, to cover Stade, near the mouth of the Elbe, where the archives and other valuable effects of Hanover had been deposited for safety. At this time Richelieu succeeded to the command of d'Estrées in this quarter, and he continued to drive Cumberland before him, taking Hameln, G?ttingen, and Hanover itself, and soon after Bremen and Verden. Thus were Hanover and Verden, which had cost England such millions to defend, seized by France; nor did the disgrace end here. Cumberland was cooped up in Stade, and compelled, on the 8th of December, to sign a convention at Closter-Seven, by which he engaged to send home the Hesse and Brunswick troops, and to disperse the Hanoverians into different quarters, not to serve again during the war.The Parliament of England met on the 13th of October. Pitt, not without cause, assumed much merit from the successes of the year; and, in truth, so far as military matters went, rarely had this country reaped such fame. We had triumphed in every quarter of the world. In January came the news of the capture of Goree; in June, of Guadeloupe; in August, that of the victory of Minden; in September, of the victory off Lagos; in October, of the conquest of Quebec; in November, of Hawke's victory off Quiberon. Horace Walpole said, "victories came so thick, that every morning we were obliged to ask what victory there was, for fear of missing one." At the same time, the condition of our trade warranted the inscription afterwards placed on Chatham's monument in the Guildhall, that he caused commerce to flourish with war.
During the summer a French squadron stretched away across the Atlantic with six sail of the line, and finding our Newfoundland coasts almost wholly unprotected, destroyed and plundered the fishermen's huts and fishing stages, as well as their vessels, and then, returning, picked up a considerable number of our merchantmen at sea, and was lucky enough to make a retreat, by favour of a fog, through our watching squadrons, into Brest. After this clever exploit, they joined the great Brest fleet, which sailed for Ireland on the 15th of December. This consisted of no fewer than forty-three sail, seventeen of them of the line, four frigates, six corvettes and brigs, with six transports. On board the transports were twenty-five thousand men, who had been well tried in the war of La Vendée, and abundance of arms and ammunition, as well as extra arms to put into the hands of the disaffected Irish, for to Ireland the armament was bound. General Hoche, who had terminated the Vendéan war, was appointed to terminate all the woes of Ireland, and convert that sacred island into another French paradise. Besides Hoche, Generals Grouchy, Hombert, and Bruix were attached to the expedition. The fleet sailed out and anchored in Camaret Bay, but no British fleet was visible to intercept them. But no sooner did the armament put out to sea again the next day, than it was assailed by a tempest and the ships were driven different ways. One of them was forced immediately on the Grand Stenet rock, and wrecked—out of one thousand four hundred souls on board only sixty were rescued. Seven ships of the line, and ten of the vessels commanded by Rear-Admiral Bouvet, managed to reach Bantry Bay on the 24th of December, but there the storms continued to batter them. There being no sign of an insurrection, and no other part of the fleet appearing, they sailed back and reached Brest on the 1st of January, 1797. When they were gone, another portion of the fleet arrived in Bantry Bay, but only to be tossed and driven about without rest, to lose several of the ships, and to put back again. As for Hoche, he never saw Ireland; the greater part of the fleet being driven about and swamped in the Channel. Of the forty-three sail, only thirty-one returned, and thousands of the soldiers were drowned in the foundering transports. Sir Edward Pellew, in the Indefatigable, of forty-four guns, and Captain Reynolds, in the Amazon, of thirty-six guns, fell in with the Droits de l'Homme, of seventy-four guns, and after a severe fight close in Audierne Bay, south of Ushant, left her a wreck aground, where, of the one thousand eight hundred men aboard, scarcely more than three hundred were saved, notwithstanding the greatest exertions of the British seamen to rescue them.One Samuel Downie was next arraigned on the same charges, on the 5th of September, as an accomplice of Watt. But it appeared that he had been rather the dupe of Watt and the spy-employing Government than anything else; and though the jury pronounced him guilty, they recommended him to mercy. He was respited and eventually pardoned; but Watt underwent his sentence, so far as being hanged and beheaded,—a warning to spies how they trusted a Government equally faithless to the people and to the tools by which they sought to betray them.
On the 19th of June Paris was excited by the announcements of Buonaparte's bulletin that terrible defeats had been inflicted on the Prussians at Ligny, and on the British at Quatre Bras. A hundred cannon and thousands of prisoners were declared to be taken. The Imperialists were in ecstasies; the Royalists, in spite of the notorious falsehood of Buonaparte on such occasions, were dejected. On the 21st whispers were busily circulating that not only had a most dreadful pitched battle been fought, but that the fine French army which had so lately left France was utterly annihilated or dispersed. It was soon added that, instead of being at the head of victorious forces, as he had represented, Buonaparte had again fled from his army, and was in the Palace of the Elysée-Bourbon. And this last news was true. Napoleon had never stopped in his own flight till he reached Philippevillè. There he proposed to proceed to Grouchy, and put himself at the head of his division; but he heard that that too was defeated, and he hurried on to Paris, fearful of the steps that the two legislative Chambers might take.With the beginning of this year, 1769, there commenced, under the signature of "Junius," the most remarkable series of political letters which ever appeared in our political literature. Time has not yet disclosed who this public censor was, though the most weighty reasons attach the belief to its having been Sir Philip Francis. Whoever he was, his terrible dissections of the conduct and characters of public men—the Duke of Grafton, the Duke of Bedford, Lord Mansfield, and others, not excepting the king himself—caused the most awful consternation amongst the ranks of the Ministry, and raised the highest enthusiasm in the public by the keen and caustic edge of his satire and his censure, by the clear tone of his reasonings, his obvious knowledge of secret Government movements, and the brilliant lustre of his style.详情
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