The marvellous increase of national wealth in Great Britain since the reign of George III. is to be mainly ascribed to two mechanical agencies—the spinning-jenny and the steam-engine; both of which, however, would have failed to produce the results that have been attained if there had not been a boundless supply of cotton from the Southern States of America to feed our manufactories with the raw material. The production was estimated in bales, which in 1832 amounted to more than 1,000,000; and in 1839 was upwards of 2,000,000 bales. It appears from Mr. Woodbury's tables, that in 1834 sixty-eight per cent. of all the cotton produced in the world was shipped for England. In this case the demand, enormous as it was, produced an adequate supply. But this demand could not possibly have existed without the inventions of Hargreaves, Arkwright, Crompton, and Cartwright, in the improvement of spinning machinery.Fox, on this occasion, also introduced the subject of the Prince of Wales's allowance, who, he contended, had far less than had been granted to a Prince of Wales since the accession of the House of Hanover, that allowance being one hundred thousand pounds a-year; and the present parsimony towards the prince being grossly aggravated by the royal Civil List having been raised, in this reign, from six hundred thousand pounds to nine hundred thousand pounds, and the Privy Purse from six thousand pounds to sixty thousand pounds. Fox's remarks were rendered all the more telling because, when the House went into committee on the finances, Pitt had made a most flourishing statement of the condition of the Exchequer. He took off the taxes which pressed most on the poorer portion of the population—namely, on servants, the late augmentations on malt, on waggons, on inhabited houses, etc.,—to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds and appropriated four hundred thousand pounds towards the reduction of the National Debt. Still blind to the storm rising across the strait of Dover, he declared that these were mere trifles compared with what he should be able to do shortly, for never was there a time when a more durable peace might be expected!
(From the Painting by Sir M. A. Shee, P.R.A.)The next novelist who appeared was of a very different school. Richardson was an elaborate anatomist of character; Fielding and Smollett were master painters of life and manners, and threw in strong dashes of wit and humour; but they had little sentiment. In Laurence Sterne (b. 1713; d. 1768) came forth a sentimentalist, who, whilst he melted his readers by touches of pathos, could scarcely conceal from them that he was laughing at them in his sleeve. The mixture of feeling, wit, double entendre, and humour of the most subtle and refined kind, and that in a clergyman, produced the oddest, and yet the most vivid, impressions on the reader. The effect was surprise, pleasure, wonder, and no little misgiving; but the novelty and charm of this original style were so great that they carried all before them, but not without the most violent censures from the press on his indecencies, especially considering his position as a clergyman. Sterne was the grandson of that Richard Sterne, a native of Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, who was chaplain to Archbishop Laud, and attended him on the scaffold. Laurence Sterne was the son of a lieutenant in the army, and was born at Clonmel, in Ireland, his grandfather having then become Archbishop of York. Sterne, therefore, on taking orders, was on the way of preferment, and received the rectory of Stillington and the perpetual curacy of Coxwold, both in Yorkshire. There he wrote not only sermons, but satire, particularly his "History of a Watchcoat." But it was his novel of "Tristram Shandy" which brought him into sudden popularity. After this, his "Sentimental Journey" completed his reputation; and his Maria and her lamb, his uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Yorick, Doctor Slop, the widow Wadman, and his lesser characters, usurped for a long period the tears and laughter of the nation.
At Vereiva, where Buonaparte halted on the 27th of October, Mortier arrived from Moscow, having blown up the Kremlin with gunpowder, and with it a crowd of Russians who had rushed in at the moment of his evacuation. Mortier on his march had also surprised and captured General Winzengerode. From this place Buonaparte issued a bulletin, announcing that not only Moscow but the Kremlin was destroyed; that the two hundred thousand inhabitants of Moscow were wandering in the woods existing on roots; and that the French army was advancing towards St. Petersburg with every means of success. Such was the audacity of lying by which he hoped to conceal the truth from Paris. At this moment he was exasperated almost to frenzy by his prospects, and since the defeat of Maloi-Jaroslavitz he had been gloomy and unapproachable from the violence of his temper. On the march the army passed with horror the field of Borodino. "The ground," says Segur, "was covered with fragments of helmets and cuirasses, broken drums, gun-stocks, tatters of uniforms, and standards steeped in blood. On this desolate spot lay thirty thousand half devoured corpses. A number of skeletons, left on the summit of one of the hills, overlooked the whole. It seemed as if here death had fixed his empire. The cry, 'It is the field of the great battle!' found a long and doleful murmur. Napoleon passed quickly; no one stopped; cold, hunger, and the enemy urged us on. We merely turned our faces as we proceeded to take a last melancholy look at our late companions in arms."Buonaparte determined to overwhelm both Spanish and British by numbers. He had poured above a hundred thousand men across the Pyrenees, and had supplied their places in France by two enormous conscriptions of eighty thousand men each. He now followed them with the rapidity of lightning. From Bayonne to Vittoria he made the journey on horseback in two days. He was already at Vittoria a week before the British army, under Sir John Moore, had commenced its march from Lisbon. It was his aim to destroy the Spanish armies before the British could come up—and he accomplished it. The Spanish generals had no concert between themselves, yet they had all been advancing northward to attack the French on different parts of the Ebro, or in the country beyond it. It was the first object of Napoleon to annihilate the army of Blake, which occupied the right of the French army in the provinces of Biscay and Guipuzcoa. Blake was attacked by General Lefebvre on the last of October, on ground very favourable to the Spaniards, being mountainous, and thus not allowing the French to use much artillery; but, after a short fight of three hours, he was compelled to fall back, and for nine days he continued his retreat through the rugged mountains of Biscay, with his army suffering incredibly from cold, hunger, drenching rains, and fatigue. There was said to be scarcely a shoe or a greatcoat in the whole force. Having reached Espinosa de los Monteros, he hoped to rest and recruit his troops, but Lefebvre was upon him, and he was again defeated. He next made for Reynosa, a strong position, where he hoped to recollect his scattered army; but there he received the news of the defeat of Belvedere, from whom he hoped for support. The French were again upon and surrounding him, and he was compelled to order his army to save themselves by dispersing amongst the mountains of Asturias, whilst himself and some of his officers escaped, and got on board a British vessel.
From the moment that Russia was called in, under the pretext of maintaining order, she became, or aimed to become, the dominant power there. She pressed on the whole line of the Polish frontier with her armies, inundated the kingdom with her troops, and levied contributions for their support as if she had been in a conquered country. From that hour, too, the kings were elected rather by foreign armies than by the Poles themselves. Stanislaus Poniatowski, the present king, was the nominee of Catherine of Russia, whose lover he had been till superseded by Orloff. She had placed him on the throne by force of arms, and he was incapable of doing anything except through her power.
With the reign of George III. commenced a series of improvements in the manufacture of iron, which have led not only to a tenfold production of that most useful of metals, but to changes in its quality which before were inconceivable. Towards the end of the reign of George II. the destruction of the forests in smelting iron-ore was so great as to threaten their extinction, and with it the manufacture of iron in Britain. Many manufacturers had already transferred their businesses to Russia, where wood was abundant and cheap. It was then found that coke made from coal was a tolerable substitute for charcoal, and, in 1760, the very first year of the reign of George III., the proprietors of the Carron Works in Scotland began the use of pit-coal. Through the scientific aid of Smeaton and Watt, they applied water-, and afterwards steam-power, to increase the blast of their furnaces to make it steady and continuous, instead of intermitting as from bellows; and they increased the height of their chimneys. By these means, Dr. John Roebuck, the founder of these works, became the first to produce pig iron by the use of coal. This gave great fame to the Carron Works, and they received large orders from Government for cannon and cannon-balls. It was some time, however, before enough iron could be produced to meet the increasing demand for railroads, iron bridges, etc.; and so late as 1781 fifty thousand tons were imported annually from Russia and Sweden.
Napoleon had so far executed his plans with wonderful success. He had rescued Bavaria, reduced the enemy's army and prestige at once by the capture of Ulm and Vienna, and had driven the Austrians simultaneously from Upper Italy and the Tyrol. But still his situation, for any general but himself, was very critical. The defeated army of the Emperor Francis had united itself to that of the young Emperor of Russia, in Moravia; the two archdukes were mustering great bodies of troops on the confines of Hungary, ready to rush forward and swell the Austro-Russian army; and the King of Prussia was watching the movements of the two parties, ready to strike, if France met with a reverse. Napoleon saw that his only security lay in a bold and decisive blow. He therefore crossed the Danube on the 23rd of November, and began a brisk march into the heart of Moravia, to attack the main body of the Allies under their two Emperors. He was soon before Brünn, its little capital, and the Allies retreated, at his approach, as far as Olmütz. This movement was, however, made to form a junction with the twenty-four thousand men under Benningsen. This being effected, they amounted to about eighty thousand men, but of these, many of the Austrians were troops already discouraged by defeat, and many more were raw recruits. The French were in number about equal, but consisting of veteran soldiers flushed with victory. On the 2nd of December Napoleon brought on the battle of Austerlitz, and before the close of the day the forces of the Coalition were completely beaten, losing upon the field some 27,000 killed and wounded, 20,000 prisoners, and 133 pieces of cannon.
"Father clammed thrice a week,KENNINGTON COMMON, LONDON, ABOUT 1840.
Mr. Grey seized the professed desire of peace by Government, so soon as Parliament met after the Christmas recess, to bind them to it by a resolution. He complained that, so far from any intentions of peace, Ministers were making fresh preparations for the prosecution of the war. Pitt denied this, and asserted that the Government was really anxious for peace, but could not consent to it unless France agreed to yield up its conquests of Belgium, Holland, Savoy, and Nice. On the 10th of March Mr. Grey moved for an inquiry into the state of the kingdom. He showed that this contest, so unsuccessful, had already, in three years, added seventy-seven millions to the national debt; more than the whole expense of the American war, which had cost sixty-three millions. He commented severely on the wasteful manner in which this money had been thrown away on monarchs who had badly served the cause, or had perfidiously betrayed it; and on the plunder of the country by jobbers, contractors, commissaries, and other vampires, who had left the poor soldiers to neglect, starvation, and death, amid the horrors of winter, and inhospitable, pretended friends, for whom they had been sent to fight. Grey and Fox followed this up by fresh resolutions and motions condemning Ministers for their misconduct of the war, and enormous waste of the public money; but all these were triumphantly got rid of by overwhelming majorities; and in the face of this ineffectual assault, Pitt introduced his Budget, calling for fresh loans, amounting to no less than twenty-five million five hundred thousand pounds, and for supplies to the amount of upwards of forty-five millions. Some of the items of this sum were—navy, seven million five hundred and twenty-two thousand five hundred and fifty-two pounds; army, eleven million nine hundred and eleven thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine pounds; ordnance, one million nine hundred and fifty-four thousand six hundred and sixty-five pounds; miscellaneous and extraordinary, thirteen million eight hundred and twenty-one thousand, four hundred and thirty pounds. The last item alone amounted to more than the whole national expenditure before the commencement of this war, yet the whole of these startling sums were readily voted away by the Ministerial majority; and with these funds in hand for renewed prosecution of the war, the Session ended, on the 19th of May.
When Buonaparte, early in the morning of the 18th, mounted his horse to reconnoitre Wellington's position, he was rejoiced to observe so few troops; for many were hidden behind the height on which Wellington took his stand. One of his staff suggested that Wellington would be joined by Blucher; but so wholly ignorant was Napoleon of the settled plan of the two generals that he scouted the idea. "Blucher," he said, "is defeated. He cannot rally for three days. I have seventy-five thousand men: the English only fifty thousand. The town of Brussels awaits me with open arms. The English opposition waits but for my success to raise their heads. Then adieu subsidies and farewell coalition!" And, looking again at the small body of troops visible, he exclaimed, in exultation, "I have them there at last, these English!" General Foy, who had had ample experience of "these English" in Spain, said, "Wellington never shows his troops; but, if he be yonder, I must warn your majesty that the English infantry, in close fighting, is the very devil!" And Soult, who had felt the strength of that infantry too often, confirmed Foy's assertion.Our next great move was against the French in the Carnatic. After various actions between the French and English in India during the Seven Years' War, General Count de Lally, an officer of Irish extraction, arrived at Pondicherry in April, 1758, with a force of one thousand two hundred men. Lally attacked and took Fort St. David, considered the strongest fort belonging to the East India Company, and then, mustering all his forces, made his appearance, in December of that year, before Madras. He had with him two thousand seven hundred French and four thousand natives, whilst the English had in the town four thousand troops only, of which more than half were sepoys. But Captain Caillaud had marched with a small force from Trichinopoly, which harassed the rear of the French. After making himself master of the Black Town, and threatening to burn it down, he found it impossible to compel Fort St. George to surrender, and, after a severe siege of two months, on the appearance of Admiral Pococke's squadron, which had sailed to Bombay for more troops, he decamped in the night of the 16th of February, 1759, for Arcot, leaving behind him all his ammunition and artillery, fifty-two pieces. Fresh combats took place between Pococke and D'Aché at sea, and the forces on land. Colonel Brereton attempted to take Wandewash, but failed; and it remained for Colonel Eyre Coote to defeat Lally. Coote arrived at Madras on the 27th of October, and, under his direction, Brereton succeeded in taking Wandewash on the last of November. To recover this place, Lally marched with all his force, supported by Bussy, but sustained a signal defeat on the 22nd of January, 1760. Arcot, Trincomalee, and other places fell rapidly into the hands of Colonel Coote. The French called in to their aid the Nabob of Mysore, Hyder Ali, but to little purpose. Pondicherry was invested on the 8th of December, and, on the 16th of January, 1761, it surrendered, Lally and his troops, amounting to two thousand, remaining prisoners. This was the termination of the real power of France in India; for though Pondicherry was restored by the treaty of 1763, the French never again recovered their ground there, and their East India Company soon after was broken up. The unfortunate Lally on his return to France was thrown into the Bastille, condemned for high treason, and beheaded in the Place de Grève on the 9th of May, 1766.It is said that when Johnson called on Goldsmith to see what could be done to raise money to pay the latter's landlady, who threatened him with imprisonment, Goldsmith handed the doctor the MS. of a new novel that might be worth something! This was the "Vicar of Wakefield." Johnson recognised its merits instantly, and at once sold it to a bookseller for ￡60, with which Goldsmith's rent was paid.详情
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