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Another admiral was still less fortunate. This was Linois, who had been beaten off in his attack on a British fleet of India merchantmen, in the Straits of Malacca, some time before, and who had been cruising far and wide in pursuit of British prizes, whilst a number of English commanders were eagerly hunting after him. He was now returning home, when, in sight of the port of Brest, with only two of his ships remaining, Sir John Warren stood in his way, and compelled him to surrender both of them.The General Election of 1784 secured for Pitt a prolonged tenure of power. The king, in opening the Session, could not repress the air of triumph, and congratulated the Houses on the declared sense of his people, not forgetting to designate Fox's India Bill as a most unconstitutional measure. In fact, no one was so delighted as the king. He had contemplated the victory of Fox and his friends over Pitt with actual horror. He had never liked Fox, and the violent and overbearing manner in which he had endeavoured to compel the king to dismiss his Ministers had increased his aversion into dread and repugnance. In his letters to Pitt he had said, "If these desperate and factious men succeed, my line is a clear one, to which I have fortitude to submit." Again: "Should not the Lords stand boldly forth, this Constitution must soon be changed; for if the two remaining privileges of the Crown are infringed, that of negativing the Bills which have passed both Houses of Parliament, and that of naming the Ministers to be employed, I cannot but feel, as far as regards my person, that I can be no longer of utility to this country, nor can with honour, remain in the island." In fact, George was menacing, a second time, a retreat to Hanover; a step, however, which he was not very likely to adopt. The sentiment which the words really express is his horror of the heavy yoke of the great Whig Houses. The Addresses from both Houses of Parliament expressed equal satisfaction in the change, Pitt's triumphant majority having now rejected the amendments of the Opposition.In the midst of these deeply-planned man?uvres Buonaparte proceeded to make his last move in his great game. He had intimidated the Royalists by the seizure and fusilading of the Duke d'Enghien; he had deprived the Republicans of their leader in Moreau, who was exiled; the nation was passive; all its branching lines of authority were in his hands; and there remained only to erect a throne and seat himself upon it. It must not be a regal throne, because that would too much remind the world of the claims of the Bourbons: it should, therefore, be an imperial one, and mark a totally new era in France. It was one which was especially calculated to flatter the French vanity. Accordingly, on the 30th of April, Curée—a man of no particular note, and perhaps selected on that account for the occasion, as his proposal might be the more easily disavowed, if it were resisted—rose in the tribunate, and proposed that Napoleon Buonaparte should be invested with the title of Emperor.
On the 23rd, the day fixed for the rising, the insurgents turned out in many places, notwithstanding the arrest of their leaders. They did not succeed at Carlow, Naas, and Kilcullen. But, on the 25th, fourteen thousand of them, under one Father Murphy, attacked Wexford, defeated the garrison which came out to meet them, took a considerable number of prisoners, whom they put to death, and frightened the town into a surrender on the 30th. They treated such Protestants as remained in the place with the utmost barbarity. They took Enniscorthy and, seizing some cannon, encamped on Vinegar Hill. On the 31st they were attacked by General Lake, who drove them from their camp, made a great slaughter of them, and then retook Wexford and Enniscorthy. General Johnson attacked another party which was plundering the town of New Ross, killing and wounding two thousand six hundred of them. On this news reaching Scullabogue, the insurgents there massacred about one hundred Protestant prisoners in cold blood. These massacres of the Protestants, and the Presbyterians in the north having been too cautious to rise, after the betrayal of the plot, caused the whole to assume the old character of a Popish rebellion. Against this the leading Catholics protested, and promptly offered their aid to Government to suppress it. Of the leaders, MacCann, Byrne, two brothers named Sheares, the sons of a banker at Cork, were executed. The success of the soldiers was marked by worse cruelty than that of the rebels; for instance, at Carlow about 200 persons were hanged or shot. Arthur O'Connor, Emmet, MacNevin, Sampson, and a number of others, were banished. Lord Cornwallis was appointed Lord-Lieutenant in place of Lord Camden, and pardons were assured to those who made their submission. All now seemed over, when in August there appeared at Killala three French frigates, which landed nine hundred men, who were commanded by General Humbert. Why the French should send such a mere handful of men into Ireland, who must inevitably be sacrificed or made prisoners, can perhaps only be accounted for by the assurances of the disaffected Irish, that the whole mass of the people, at least of the Catholics, were ready to rise and join them. But if that were true—if, as Wolfe Tone assured them, there were three hundred thousand men already disciplined, and only in need of arms, it would have been sufficient to have sent them over arms. But then Tone, who had grown as utterly reckless as any sansculotte Frenchman, described the riches of Ireland, which were to repay the invaders, as something prodigious. In his memorial to the Directory he declared that the French were to go shares with the nation whom they went to liberate, in all the church, college, and chapter lands, in the property of the absentee landlords, which he estimated at one million pounds per annum, in that of all Englishmen, and in the income of Government, which he calculated at two millions of pounds per annum. General Humbert, who had been in the late expedition, and nearly lost his life in the Droits de l'Homme, no doubt expected to see all the Catholic population flocking around him, eager to put down their oppressors; but, so far from this, all classes avoided him, except a few of the most wretched Catholic peasants. At Castlebar he was met by General Lake, with a force much superior in numbers, but chiefly yeomanry and militia. Humbert readily dispersed these—the speed of their flight gaining for the battle the name of the Castlebar Races—and marched on through Connaught, calling on the people to rise, but calling in vain. He had made this fruitless advance for about seventeen days when he was met by Lord Cornwallis with a body of regular troops, and defeated. Finding his retreat cut off, he surrendered on the 8th of September, and he and his followers became prisoners of war. But the madness or delusion of the French Government had not yet reached its height; a month after this surrender Sir John Warren fell in with a French line-of-battle ship and eight frigates, bearing troops and ammunition to Ireland. He captured the ship of the line and three of the frigates, and on board of the man-of-war was discovered the notorious Wolfe Tone, the chief instigator of these insane incursions, and who, before sailing, had recorded in his diary, as a matter of boast, that every day his heart was growing harder, that he would take a most dreadful vengeance on the Irish aristocracy. He was condemned to be hanged, but he managed to cut his throat in prison (November 19, 1798). And thus terminated these worse than foolish attempts of France on Ireland, for they were productive of great miseries, both at sea and on land, and never were conducted on a scale or with a force capable of producing any permanent result.On the passage, the squadron of Sir John Warren came in sight of the French fleet of Villaret-Joyeuse, of nine ships of the line, but it bore away, and left them to pursue their course. They entered the Bay of Quiberon on the 25th of June and, after much wrangling as to the best situation for landing, they put the troops ashore at the village of Carnac. There they were immediately joined by Georges Cadoudal, d'Allègre, Dubois-Berthollet, and other Chouan chiefs, with about four thousand or five thousand of their wild and bandit-looking soldiers. Along with the Chouans came troops of peasants, crying "Vive le Roi!" and bringing in abundance of fresh eggs, poultry, and other provisions. Puisaye was delighted, and felt confident that all Brittany was ready to rise. But this delusion was soon dissipated. The Emigrants, accustomed to regular armies, looked with contempt on this wild and ragged band, and they, on their part, were not restrained, on the landing of the arms and uniforms, from seizing and carrying them off, without much exertion on the part of Puisaye. There was danger of bloodshed. At length, in about a couple of days, ten thousand of them were put into red coats, and furnished with muskets. But fatal dissensions prevented all operations. Puisaye proposed to march up the country, seize different towns, such as Vannes and Rennes, and take up their position behind the Mayenne; but d'Hervilly refused to march till the troops were formed into regular regiments, and the Emigrants joined him in despising the Chouans, and in complaining that they had not been taken to La Vendée to join Charette. Puisaye and d'Hervilly also disputed the supreme command, and Puisaye had to dispatch letters to London, to Count d'Artois, on the subject. At length, after five days had been wasted in this contention, Puisaye proposed that they should endeavour to carry Fort Penthièvre, which stood on a small peninsula on Quiberon Bay, and was united to the main land by a sandy isthmus. To this d'Hervilly consented, and Sir John Warren agreed to support him in the attempt. On the 1st of July Warren began to bombard the fort, and on the 3rd, the place being warmly assailed by both the British and the Chouans, the Republicans surrendered. Meanwhile, Puisaye had sent off emissaries all over Brittany, to rouse Scépeaux, Charette, Stofflet, and the rest of the insurgent chiefs. The news of the landing had flown all over Brittany in a few days, and the Royalists were full of joy.
Fortunately, the princess was safely delivered at St. James's (June 4), though the house was unprepared for such an emergency—the rooms and beds being unaired, and there being no adequate suite of servants. The moment that the king heard of this extraordinary conduct of the prince, he despatched Walpole and Lord Harrington to attend the birth, but they were too late. After that the king repulsed all the prince's advances towards a reconciliation. Frederick betook himself to Norfolk House, St. James's Square, and there all the opponents of his father's Government collected around him. The prince was now the head and centre of the Opposition himself.
So close were they upon King Joseph, that a party of the British, under Captain Wyndham, came upon him in his carriage, and fired through the window. Joseph had the good fortune to escape to horse, and gallop off, but his carriage fell into the hands of the British, and it was found crammed with the most precious spoil of the churches and palaces of Spain. Amongst his baggage, which also was taken, were found some of the finest paintings of the Spanish masters, rich plate, including a splendid dinner-service, a gorgeous wardrobe, and a number of his women, for he was a perfect Sybarite in luxury and voluptuousness. No such scene was witnessed, except on the defeat of some Eastern army. The officers had gorged themselves with the spoils of Spain, and here they were left, amid crowds of wives and mistresses, monkeys, poodles, parrots, silks, satins, and jewellery. The officers and soldiers had run for it, with nothing but their arms and their clothes on their backs, and all along the roads leading from the city was one vast crowding, jostling mass of waggons, loaded with all sorts of rich spoils, splendid dresses, and wines, and money, and fine ladies in the most terrible hurry and fright. Sheep, cattle, lambs, like a great fair, were left behind, and became the booty of the pursuers. There was a vigorous bursting open of packages, and rich wardrobes of both officers and ladies were soon fluttering in the winds—gorgeous uniforms on the backs of common soldiers and Portuguese camp-followers—fine silks and satins, and laces and gold chains, on the persons and necks of common women. The military chest was seized, and the soldiers freely helped themselves to its contents. Lord Wellington says that the troops got about a million of money. Planks were placed from waggon to waggon, and a great auction was going on everywhere, the lucky captors converting everything possible—even the heavy Spanish dollars—into gold, as more convenient for carriage. The inhabitants of the city made rich bargains, besides managing to help themselves plentifully in the scramble.
But Buonaparte did not content himself with stabs at the reputation of his enemies—he resorted to his old practices of assassination. The booksellers of Germany, ignoring the dominance of Buonaparte in their country, though he had completely silenced the press in France, dared to publish pamphlets and articles against the French invasion and French rule in Germany. Buonaparte ordered Berthier to seize a number of these publishers, and try them by court-martial, on the plea that they excited the inhabitants to rise and massacre his soldiers. Amongst the booksellers thus arrested was John Philip Palm, of Nuremberg. The charge against him was that he had published a pamphlet entitled, "L'Allemagne dans son profond abaissement." This production was attributed to M. Gentz, a writer who was most damaging to the influence of Buonaparte, and Palm was offered his pardon if he would give up the author. He refused. Nuremberg, though occupied by French soldiers, was under the protection of Prussia, which was, just now, no protection at all. Palm was carried off to Braunau, in Austria. This place was still occupied by Buonaparte, in direct violation of the Treaty of Pressburg; so that Buonaparte, in the seizure and trial of Palm, was guilty of the breach of almost every international and civil law; for, had Palm been the citizen of a French city, his offence being a mere libel did not make him responsible to a military tribunal. The French colonels condemned him to be shot, and the sentence was immediately executed on the 26th of August. The indignation and odium which this atrocious act excited, not only throughout Germany, but throughout the civilised world, caused Buonaparte, with his usual disregard of truth, to say that the officers had done all this without any orders from him, but out of their own too officious zeal.
Sir John Moore was left in a most critical situation. All those fine armies, which were to have enfranchised Spain without his assistance, were scattered as so much mist; but this he only knew partly. He knew enough, however, to induce him to determine on a retreat into Portugal, and there to endeavour to make a stand against the French. He wrote to Sir David Baird and Sir John Hope—both of them still at a great distance—to retreat too: Sir David, with his division, to fall back on Corunna, and then sail to Lisbon to meet him; Sir John to await him at Ciudad Rodrigo. Had Moore carried out this plan whilst Buonaparte and his troops were engaged with the army of Casta?os, and with Madrid, his fate might have been very different. But here again he was the victim of false information. Mr. Frere, who seems to have really known nothing of what was going on, and to have believed anything, wrote to him from Aranjuez, on the 30th of November, protesting against his retreat, and assuring him that he had nothing to do but to advance to Madrid, and save Spain. He expressed his most unbounded faith in the valour and success of the Spaniards. He talked to Moore of repulsing the French before they collected their reinforcements. On reflecting on the statements of Mr. Frere, Sir John concluded that Madrid was still holding out, and thought it his duty to proceed to its rescue. He was joined, on the 6th of December, by Hope and the artillery, and he wrote again to Sir David Baird to countermand his retreat, and order him to come up with dispatch. Thus precious time was lost, and it was not till the 9th that he was undeceived. He had sent Colonel Graham to Madrid with a reply to Morla, and to procure intelligence of the real state of affairs. Graham now came back with the alarming and astonishing truth that the French were in Madrid; that it had held out only one day. It is strange that Sir John did not instantly commence his retreat; but he was still misled by false accounts of the strength of the French, and actually resolved to proceed to Madrid. On the 11th he sent forward his cavalry, under General Stewart, when they came upon the advanced post of the enemy occupying the village of Rueda. It was but about eighty men, infantry and cavalry. They were quickly surrounded by the British dragoons, and the whole killed or taken prisoners. On the 14th, an intercepted letter of Berthier to Soult fell into Moore's hands, by which he learned that various French divisions were moving down upon him, and that Soult was in advance. He thought that he might meet and beat Soult before the other divisions arrived, and he therefore, after sending a dispatch to General Baird to warn him of Soult's approach, crossed the Tordesillas, and continued his march as far as Mayorga, where he was joined by Sir David Baird and Sir John Hope, so that his army now amounted to twenty-three thousand five hundred and eighty on the spot. He had other regiments in Portugal and on the road, making up his total to thirty-five thousand.
AFFRAY AT BOSTON BETWEEN THE SOLDIERS AND ROPE-MAKERS. (See p. 201.)
By this dispersion of the Spaniards the British battalions were wholly exposed, and the whole might of Soult's force was thrown upon them. A tremendous fire from the hills, where the Spaniards ought to have stood, was opened on the British ranks, and several regiments were almost annihilated in a little time. But the 31st regiment, belonging to Colborne's brigade, supported by Horton's brigade, stood their ground under a murderous fire of artillery, and the fiery charge of both horse and foot. They must soon have fallen to a man, but Beresford quickly sent up a Portuguese brigade, under General Harvey, to round the hill on the right, and other troops, under Abercrombie, to compass it on the left; while, at the suggestion of Colonel (afterwards Lord) Hardinge, he pushed forward General Cole with his brigade of fusiliers up the face of the hill. These three divisions appeared on the summit simultaneously. The advance of these troops through the tempest of death has always been described as something actually sublime. Moving onward, unshaken, undisturbed, though opposed by the furious onslaught of Soult's densest centre, they cleared the hill-top with the most deadly and unerring fire; they swept away a troop of Polish lancers that were murderously riding about goring our wounded men, as they lay on the ground, with their long lances.[See larger version]
The other charges having been voted, on the 25th of April Burke brought up the articles of impeachment. There was a long debate, in which Wilkes, who had completely changed his politics, and had cultivated a friendship with Warren Hastings and his wife, made a very effective speech in his defence. He tried to shift the blame from Hastings to the Company. Pitt again pointed out the fact that honourable members had not been showing the innocence of Hastings, but raising all manner of set-offs for his crimes—a course which he had before said he had hoped would have been abandoned; that for his part, without going to the length of all the charges brought forward, he saw sufficient grounds for an impeachment. He could conceive a State compelled by sudden invasion and an unprovided army, to lay violent hands on the property of its subjects, but then such a State must be infamous if it did not, on the first opportunity, make ample satisfaction. But was this the principle on which Mr. Hastings had acted? No; he neither avowed the necessity nor the exaction. He made criminal charges, and, under colour of them, levied immoderate penalties, which, if he had a right to take them at all, he would be highly criminal in taking in such a shape; but which, having no right to take, the mode of taking rendered much more heinous and culpable.详情
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