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Before Buonaparte quitted Erfurt he learned that his late allies, the Bavarians, with a body of Austrians under General Wrede, were marching to cut off his line of retreat to the Rhine, and that another body of Austrians and Prussians were marching from near Weimar, on the same point, with the same object. He left Erfurt on the 25th of October, amid the most tempestuous weather, and his rear incessantly harassed by the Cossacks. He met Wrede posted at Hanau, but with only forty-five thousand men, so that he was able to force his way, but with a loss of six thousand, inflicting a still greater loss on the Austro-Bavarians, of nearly ten thousand. On the 30th of October Napoleon reached Frankfort, and was at Mainz the next day, where he saw his army cross, and on the 7th of November he left for Paris, where he arrived on the 9th. His reception there was by no means encouraging. In addition to the enormous destruction of life in the Russian campaign, the French public now—instead of the reality of those victories which his lying bulletins had announced—saw him once more arrive alone.On the 6th of May Burke had brought forward a measure for the benefit of his long-oppressed country, to the effect that Ireland should enjoy the privilege of exporting its manufactures, woollen cloths and woollens excepted, and of importing from the coast of Africa and other foreign settlements all goods that it required, except indigo and tobacco. The Irish were to have the additional privilege of sending to England duty-free, cotton-yarns, sail-cloth, and cordage. Parliament, for once, looked on these demands with favour. They recollected that the Americans had endeavoured to excite disaffection amongst the Irish by reference to the unjust restrictions on their commerce by the selfishness of England, and they felt the loss of the American trade, and were willing to encourage commerce in some other direction. Lord Nugent co-operated with Burke in this endeavour. But the lynx-eyed avarice of the English merchants was instantly up in arms. During the Easter recess, a host of petitions was[254] got up against this just concession. The city of Bristol, which was represented by Burke, threatened to dismiss him at the next election, if he persisted in this attempt to extend commercial justice to Ireland; but Burke told them that he must leave that to them; for himself, he must advocate free trade, which, if they once tried it, they would find far more advantageous than monopoly. They kept their word, and threw him out for his independence. At the same time, the English merchants, as they had always done before by Ireland, triumphed to a great extent. They demanded to be heard in Committee by counsel, and the Bills were shorn down to the least possible degree of benefit.

[See larger version]The rapid growth of the commerce of the American colonies excited an intense jealousy[166] in our West Indian Islands, which claimed a monopoly of supply of sugar, rum, molasses, and other articles to all the British possessions. The Americans trading with the French, Dutch, Spaniards, etc., took these articles in return; but the West Indian proprietors prevailed upon the British Government, in 1733, to impose a duty on the import of any produce of foreign plantations into the American colonies, besides granting a drawback on the re-exportation of West Indian sugar from Great Britain. This was one of the first pieces of legislation of which the American colonies had a just right to complain. At this period our West Indies produced about 85,000 hogsheads of sugar, or 1,200,000 cwts. About three hundred sail were employed in the trade with these islands, and some 4,500 sailors; the value of British manufactures exported thither being nearly £240,000 annually, but our imports from Jamaica alone averaged at that time £539,492. Besides rum, sugar, and molasses, we received from the West Indies cotton, indigo, ginger, pimento, cocoa, coffee, etc.There was a radical difference in spirit between the Viceroy and the Premier. The former sympathised warmly with the Roman Catholics in their struggles for civil equality, feeling deeply the justice of their cause. The Duke, on the other hand, yielded only to necessity, and thought of concession not as a matter of principle, but of expediency; he yielded, not because it was right[291] to do so, but because it was preferable to having a civil war. The feeling of Mr. Peel was somewhat similar; it was with him, also, a choice of evils, and he chose the least.

Whilst our armies were barely holding their own in Spain, our fleets were the masters of all seas. In the north, though Sweden was nominally at war with us, in compliance with the arrogant demands of Buonaparte, Bernadotte, the elected Crown Prince, was too politic to carry out his embargo literally. The very existence of Sweden depended on its trade, and it was in the power of the British blockading fleet to prevent a single Swedish vessel from proceeding to sea. But in spite of the angry threats of Napoleon, who still thought that Bernadotte, though become the prince and monarch elect of an independent country, should remain a Frenchman, and, above all, the servile slave of his will, that able man soon let it be understood that he was inclined to amicable relations with Great Britain; and Sir James de Saumarez, admiral of our Baltic fleet, not only permitted the Swedish merchantmen to pass unmolested, but on various occasions gave them protection. Thus the embargo system was really at an end, both in Sweden and in Russia; for Alexander also refused to ruin Russia for the benefit of Buonaparte, and both of these princes, as we have seen, were in a secret league to support one another. Denmark, or, rather, its sovereign, though the nephew of the King of Great Britain, remained hostile to us, remembering not only the severe chastisements our fleets had given Copenhagen, but also the facility with which Napoleon could, from the north of Germany, overrun Denmark and add it to his now enormous empire. In March of this year the Danes endeavoured to recover the small island of Anholt, in the Cattegat, which we held; but they were beaten off with severe loss, leaving three or four hundred men prisoners of war.

There was one object, however, to be gained which was deeply interesting to every true Briton in India as well as to the public at home, without which no victories however glorious, and no infliction of punishment however terrible, upon the enemy, would have been considered satisfactory—namely, the deliverance of the captives that were still held as hostages by Akbar Khan. On this subject the two generals, Pollock and Nott, held a consultation. Nott declared that the Government had thrown the prisoners overboard, and protested against taking any measures for their recovery. But Pollock was determined that the effort should be made, and took upon himself the responsibility of telling Nott to ignore his orders. Ellenborough, half-persuaded, sanctioned Pollock's remaining at Jelalabad until October, but commanded Nott to retire either by Quetta or Cabul. Nott and Pollock, however, disregarded these absurd orders, and the advance was continued. The duty of rescuing the prisoners was undertaken by Sale, whose own heroic wife was among them. He started in pursuit, taking with him a brigade from the army at Jelalabad. The captives had been hurried on towards the inhospitable regions of the Indian Caucasus, not suffered to sleep at night, and were stared at as objects of curiosity by the inhabitants of the villages through which they passed. They reached their destination, Maimene, on the 3rd of September, and there, in a short time, before Sale's brigade arrived, they had providentially effected their own ransom. The commander of their escort was Saleh Mahomed, a soldier of fortune, who had been at one time a soubahdar in Captain Hopkins's regiment of infantry, and had deserted with his men to Dost Mahomed. Between this man and Captain Johnson an intimacy sprang up, which the latter turned to account by throwing out hints that Saleh Mahomed would be amply rewarded, if, instead of carrying off his prisoners, he would conduct them in safety to the British camp. Days passed away without anything being done, till after their arrival at Maimene, when, on the 11th of September, Saleh Mahomed sent for Johnson, Pottinger, and Lawrence, and in a private room which had been appropriated to Lady Sale, he produced a letter which he had just received from Akbar Khan, directing him to convey the prisoners to a more distant prison-house. This seemed to be a sentence of hopeless captivity, but the officers' minds were soon relieved by another piece of intelligence—namely, a message from General Pollock that if Saleh Mahomed released the prisoners he should receive a present of 20,000 rupees, and a life pension of 1,000 rupees a month. Saleh said to them, "I know nothing of General Pollock, but if you three gentlemen will swear by your Saviour to make good to me what Synd Moortega Shah states that he is authorised to offer, I will deliver you over to your own people." The offer was gladly accepted; and an agreement was drawn up, in pursuance of which Saleh Mahomed and his European allies proclaimed their revolt to the people of Maimene and the surrounding country. They deposed the governor of the place, and appointed a more friendly chief in his stead. They supplied themselves with funds by seizing upon the property of a party of merchants who were passing that way. Major Pottinger assumed the functions of government, and issued proclamations, and called upon the chiefs to come in and make their salaam. But they might come for a different purpose, and hence they began to fortify themselves, and prepare for a very vigorous defence. While thus employed, a horseman was seen rapidly approaching from the Cabul side of the valley, who proved to be the bearer of glad tidings. The Jugduluk Pass had been forced; Akbar Khan had been defeated by General Pollock at Tizeen, and had fled, no one knew whither. This was delightful news indeed. The power of the oppressor was now broken, and the captives were free. Early next morning they started for Cabul, sleeping the first night upon stony beds under the clear moonlight; they were awakened by the arrival of a friendly[503] chief, who brought a letter from Sir Richmond Shakespear, stating that he was on his way to Maimene with a party of horse. On the 17th of September Shakespear, with his cavalry, came up. Pushing on again, they were met by a large body of British cavalry and infantry, under the command of Sir Robert Sale. "In a little time the happy veteran had embraced his wife and daughter; and the men of the 13th had offered their delighted congratulations to the loved ones of their old commander. A royal salute was fired. The prisoners were safe in Sale's camp. The good Providence that had so long watched over the prisoners and the captives now crowned its mercies by delivering them into the hands of their friends. Dressed as they were in Afghan costume, their faces bronzed by much exposure, and rugged with beards and moustachios of many months' growth, it was not easy to recognise the liberated officers, who now came forward to receive the congratulations of their friends."Napoleon Buonaparte, who had appeared so anxious for peace with Britain, was, in truth, greatly rejoiced at the rejection of his proposals, for it furnished him with the pleas which he desired, for the still more extended schemes of military ambition that he entertained. He issued a proclamation complaining of the obstinate hostility of Britain, and called on the people to furnish men and arms to conquer peace by force. Having placed Moreau at the head of the army on the Rhine, Buonaparte prepared for his favourite project of reconquering Italy. He had judged right in sending Moreau to Germany, who took care to prevent the Austrians from sending reinforcements to Italy to increase Buonaparte's difficulties; and another circumstance, most auspicious to the Chief Consul, was the fact that Paul of Russia, offended at the Austrians for not better supporting his generals, Korsakoff and Suvaroff, had withdrawn his army from the campaign. The Austrians, under Mélas, in the north of Italy, amounted to one hundred and forty thousand men. They had spent the winter on the plains of Piedmont, and contemplated, in the spring, reducing Genoa, by assistance from the British fleet, and then, penetrating into Provence, to join the Royalists there, ready to take arms under Generals Willot and Pichegru. Massena, freed by the retreat of the Russians from his confinement at Zurich, lay, with an army of forty thousand, between Genoa and the Var; but his troops had suffered great distress from want of provisions, and whole regiments had abandoned their posts, and, with drums beating and colours flying, had marched back into France. Buonaparte first arrested their desertion by several stirring appeals to the soldiers, and then prepared to march with a strong army of reserve through the Alps, and to take Mélas unexpectedly in the rear. To effect this it was necessary to deceive the Austrians as to his intentions; and for this purpose he assembled a pretended army of reserve at Dijon, as if meaning to obstruct the march of the Austrians southward. To favour the delusion, Buonaparte went to Dijon, and reviewed the pretended army of reserve with much display, he then got quietly away to Lausanne, and pushed across the Great St. Bernard, amidst incredible difficulties.

Accordingly, on the morning of the 17th, he sent a flag of truce to Washington, proposing a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four hours, in order that commissioners might meet and settle the terms of surrender. They were soon arranged, and articles of surrender were signed by the respective generals on the morning of the 19th of October.

Another attempt of the French to draw the attention of Wellington from Massena was made by Mortier, who marched from Badajoz, of which Soult had given him the command, entered Portugal, and invested Campo Mayor, a place of little strength, and with a very weak garrison. Marshal Beresford hastened to its relief at the head of twenty thousand men, and the Portuguese commandant did his best to hold out till he arrived; but he found this was not possible, and he surrendered on condition of marching out with all the honours of war. Scarcely, however, was this done when Beresford appeared, and Mortier abruptly quitted the town, and made all haste back again to Badajoz, pursued by the British cavalry. Mortier managed to get across the Guadiana, and Beresford found himself stopped there by a sudden rising of the water and want of boats. He had to construct a temporary bridge before he could cross, so that the French escaped into Badajoz. Mortier then resigned his command to Latour Maubourg, and the British employed themselves in reducing Oliven?a, and some other strong places on the Valverde river, in the month of April. Lord Wellington made a hasty visit to the headquarters of Marshal Beresford, to direct the operations against Badajoz, but he was quickly recalled by the news that Massena had received reinforcements, and was in full march again to relieve the garrison in Almeida. Wellington, on the other hand, had reduced his army by sending reinforcements to Beresford, so that while Massena entered Portugal with forty thousand foot and five thousand cavalry, Wellington had, of British and Portuguese, only thirty-two thousand foot and about one thousand two hundred horse. This force, too, he had been obliged to extend over a line of seven miles in length, so as to guard the avenues of access to Almeida. The country, too, about Almeida was particularly well adapted for cavalry, in which the French had greatly the superiority. Notwithstanding, Wellington determined to dispute his passage. He had no choice of ground; he must fight on a flat plain, and with the Coa flowing in his rear. His centre was opposite to Almeida, his right on the village of Fuentes d'Onoro, and his left on fort Concepcion.This coalition was considered a matter of great importance, not as giving strength to the Administration of Lord Liverpool, to which it brought only a few votes in the House of Commons, but as indicating a radical change of policy towards Ireland. Lord Eldon was by no means satisfied with the changes. "This coalition," he writes, "I think, will have consequences very different from those expected by the members of administration who have brought it about. I hate coalitions." No doubt they ill suited his uncompromising spirit; and any connection with Liberal opinions must have been in the highest degree repugnant to the feelings of one who believed that the granting of Catholic Emancipation would involve the ruin of the Constitution.

[See larger version]With these superb demonstrations on the part of England terminated the war. Her enemies discovered that her hoped-for fall was yet far off, and were much more inclined to listen to overtures of peace, of which they were now all in great need. These negotiations had been begun by Fox immediately on the accession of the Rockingham Ministry to office. Unfortunately the division of work between two Secretaries of State entailed a double negotiation. To Fox as Secretary of Foreign Affairs fell the arrangements for peace with France and Spain and Holland, to Lord Shelburne as Colonial Secretary fell all arrangements connected with the colonies, that is, with the United States. It was most important that the two Ministers should be in close accord. Unfortunately their views differed widely. Fox was for the immediate recognition of the independence of America; Shelburne urged that to give independence at once was to throw away a trump card. Further, Mr. Oswald, Shelburne's agent, was duped by Franklin into accepting from him a paper, in which the surrender of Canada was laid down as a basis of peace. This paper Shelburne probably showed to the king, but, with great duplicity, refrained from mentioning its existence to his colleagues. On the 8th of May Mr. Thomas Grenville, Fox's agent, arrived at Paris, and negotiations were begun in real earnest. But the na?ve confession of Oswald that peace was absolutely necessary to England greatly hampered his efforts, and in a conversation with Lord Shelburne's envoy the existence of the Canada paper leaked out. Fox was naturally furious, but the majority of the Cabinet were opposed to him, and voted against his demand for the immediate recognition of American independence. He only refrained from resigning because he would not embitter Lord Rockingham's last moments in the world. Lord Shelburne became Premier in July.Thus this mighty armada—of which such high things were expected—was dispersed; Rodney, sending part of his fleet to Jamaica, proceeded to join Arbuthnot at New York, with eleven ships of the line and four frigates. The news of his approach reached the French and Americans there, at the same time as that of the return of De Guichen to Europe, and spread the greatest consternation. To consider what was best to do in the circumstances, a meeting was proposed at Hartford, in Connecticut, between Washington and Rochambeau, which took place on the 21st of September. At this moment a discovery took place which had a startling effect on the Americans, and was calculated to inspire the most gloomy views of their condition. General Arnold, who had fought his way up from the humble station of a horse-dealer to that which he now held, had, on all occasions, shown himself an officer of the most daring and enterprising character. Having been appointed military governor of Philadelphia, after its evacuation by General Clinton in 1778, as a post where he might recover from the severe wounds which he had received in the recent campaign, he began a style of living much too magnificent for his finances, for, with all his abilities, Arnold was a vain and extravagant man. He married a beautiful young lady of that city of Royalist origin. Rumours to his disadvantage were soon afloat, originating in this cause, for whatever he did was regarded by the staunch Whigs with an unfavourable eye. Congress was the more ready to listen to charges against him, because, involved himself in debts incurred by his extravagance, he pressed them for large claims upon them, which they had no means to satisfy. Commissioners were selected by them to examine his claims, and these men, appointed for their hard, mean natures, reduced his demands extremely. Arnold uttered his indignation at such treatment in no measured terms, and the consequence was that he was arrested, tried by a court-martial, on various charges of peculation in his different commands, and for extortion on the citizens of Philadelphia. Some of these were declared groundless, but others were pronounced to be proved, and Arnold was condemned to be reprimanded by the Commander-in-Chief. This put the climax to his wrath. Washington, who had, in Arnold's opinion, been as unjustly exalted and favoured for his defeats and delays, as he himself had been envied and repressed for his brilliant exploits, was of all men the one from whom he could not receive with patience a formal condemnation. This sentence was carried into effect in January, 1779, and Arnold, stung to the quick, was prepared to perpetrate some desperate design. The opportunity came when he was placed in command of West Point, on the Hudson, which was the key to all intercourse between the Northern and Southern States.


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The war in Germany grew more and more bloody. Russia and Austria came down upon Frederick this year with great forces. Daun entered Saxony; Laudohn and Soltikow, Silesia. Laudohn defeated Fouqué at Landshut, and took the fortress of Glatz, and compelled Frederick, though hard pressed by Daun, to march for Silesia. The month was July, the weather so hot that upwards of a hundred of his soldiers fell dead on the march. Daun followed him, watching his opportunity to fall upon him when engaged with other troops, but on the way Frederick heard of the defeat of Fouqué and the fall of Glatz, and suddenly turned back to reach Dresden before Daun, and take the city by storm; but as Daun was too expeditious for him, and Maguire, the governor, an Irishman, paid no heed to his demands for surrender, Frederick, who had lately been so beautifully philosophising on the inhumanities of men, commenced a most ferocious bombardment, not of the fortress but of the town. He burnt and laid waste the suburbs, fired red-hot balls into the city to burn it all down, demolished the finest churches and houses, and crushed the innocent inhabitants in their flaming and falling dwellings, till crowds rushed from the place in desperation, rather facing his ruthless soldiers than the horrors of his bombardment.But of all the parties which remembered their wrongs and indignities, the Roman Catholic clergy were the most uncomplying and formidable. They had seen the Pope seized in his own palace at Rome, and forced away out of Italy and brought to Fontainebleau. But there the resolute old man disdained to comply with what he deemed the sacrilegious demands of the tyrant. Numbers of bishoprics had fallen vacant, and the Pontiff refused, whilst he was held captive, to institute successors. None but the most abandoned priests would fill the vacant sees without the papal institution. At length Buonaparte declared that he would separate France altogether from the Holy See, and would set the Protestant up as a rival Church to the Papal one. "Sire," said the Count of Narbonne, who had now become one of Buonaparte's chamberlains, "I fear there is not religion enough in all France to stand a division." But in the month of June Buonaparte determined to carry into execution his scheme of instituting bishops by the sanction of an ecclesiastical council. He summoned together more than a hundred prelates and dignitaries at Paris, and they went in procession to Notre Dame, with the Archbishop Maury at their head. They took an oath of obedience to the Emperor, and then Buonaparte's Minister of Public Worship proposed to them, in a message from the Emperor, to pass an ordinance enabling the archbishop to institute prelates without reference to the Pope. A committee of bishops was found complying enough to recommend such an ordinance, but the council at large declared that it could not have the slightest value. Enraged at this defiance of his authority, Buonaparte immediately ordered the dismissal of the council and the arrest of the bishops of Tournay, Troyes, and Ghent, who had been extremely determined in their conduct. He shut them up in the Castle of Vincennes, and summoned a smaller assembly of bishops as a commission to determine the same question. But they were equally uncomplying, in defiance of the violent menaces of the man who had prostrated so many kings but could not bend a few bishops to his will. The old Pope encouraged the clergy, from his cell in Fontainebleau, to maintain the rights of the Church against his and its oppressor, and thus Buonaparte found himself completely foiled.

Lord John Russell, who introduced the measure, Lord Althorp, Mr. Smith of Norwich, and Mr. Ferguson pleaded the cause of the Dissenters with unanswerable arguments. They showed that the Church was not now in danger; that there was no existing party bent on subverting the Constitution; that in the cases where the tests were not exacted during the last half century there was no instance of a Dissenter holding office who had abused his trust; that though the Test Act had been practically in abeyance during all that time, the Church had suffered no harm. Why, then, preserve an offensive and discreditable Act upon the Statute Book? Why keep up invidious distinctions when there was no pretence of necessity for retaining them? Why, without the shadow of proof, presume disaffection against any class of the community? Even the members of the Established Church of Scotland might be, by those tests and[266] penalties, debarred from serving their Sovereign unless they renounced their religion. A whole nation was thus proscribed upon the idle pretext that it was necessary to defend the church of another nation. It was asked, Did the Church of England aspire, like the Mussulmans of Turkey, to be exclusively charged with the defence of the empire? If so, let the Presbyterians and Dissenters withdraw, and it would be seen what sort of defence it would have. Take from the field of Waterloo the Scottish regiments; take away, too, the sons of Ireland: what then would have been the chance of victory? If they sought the aid of Scottish and Irish soldiers in the hour of peril, why deny them equal rights and privileges in times of peace? Besides, the Church could derive no real strength from exclusion and coercion, which only generated ill-will and a rankling feeling of injustice. The Established Church of Scotland had been safe without any Test and Corporation Acts. They had been abolished in Ireland half a century ago without any evil accruing to the Church in that country. It was contrary to the spirit of the age to keep up irritating yet inefficient and impracticable restrictions, which were a disgrace to the Statute Book.



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